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Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers - Jo Adell, Hector Neris, Anthony Rizzo, Randy Arozarena, more

Jo Adell - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Injury News

There is nothing quite like the ebbs and flows of fantasy baseball. Every at-bat of every game is the final straw based on that moment whereas in reality, players will have hundreds more across the next dozen weeks to neutralize whatever outcome came about.

Across the past month, plenty of recently unknown players have thrived in fantasy baseball while many perennial All-Stars have disappointed. Below, I discuss which of the known commodities should work their way back to fantasy stardom and which flavor of the month may stick.

For all complaints, contact Kev Mahserejian on X (@RotoSurgeon). Without further ado, here are your Risers and Fallers for Week 6 of the fantasy baseball season!

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Fantasy Baseball Risers

Jo Adell, Los Angeles Angels

16% Rostered on Yahoo

Jo Adell is entering Year 5 in MLB on a rampage. The 25-year-old former top prospect may finally be coming along as a real major league hitter. With a strikeout rate nearly halved (23.7%) from his career 35.4% entering 2023, Adell is seeing the ball much better and mashing it upon contact with a .344 expected batting average and .607 expected slugging average. This is not surprising to anyone who followed Adell in his early minor league career as he demolished Double-A at 19 (115 wRC+) and 20 (173 wRC+), but that is an entire lifetime ago.

Whether these changes to his profile stick or not remains to be seen, but when you have his pedigree, are top 10 in every expected stat through a month, top 125 in Yahoo's player rater, and steal bags (five steals on nine attempts), there is a place for Adell on any fantasy baseball roster.

Verdict: Pick. Him. Up. If he reverts to mediocrity, so be it, but make sure you find out if this performance is real.

Anthony Rizzo, New York Yankees

54% Rostered on Yahoo

Anthony Rizzo's fall from fantasy grace early this season was not shocking to anyone who rostered him in 2023. The 34-year-old 1B posted just 12 HRs in 99 games with a pedestrian .244 AVG. The main excuse for drafting him in 2024 was his lingering concussion issues, which impacted his performance through last season. After this past week, that may be valid.

After crushing the A's and Brewers last week, Rizzo was awarded MLB's Player of the Week honors. His four HRs, eight runs, and seven RBI kicked his fantasy value into the top 100 for 2024. He is currently outperforming his expected average and slugging significantly, but with a hitter-friendly home park, particularly for lefties like Rizzo, he can continue to outperform those numbers all season (shoutout to the short porch).

Verdict: If you need a corner IF, Rizzo is solid, but he likely doesn't provide league-altering value like his prime years.

Hector Neris, Chicago Cubs

52% Rostered on Yahoo


Hector Neris has become the go-to closer for new Cubs manager Craig Counsell. With four saves on the season, all accumulated since April 20, Neris has stolen the job from a struggling Adbert Alzolay. However, there is a dark side to his saves and 3.60 ERA. Neris has more walks than saves on the season, which is reflected in his 5.78 FIP and 5.33 xFIP.

Neris is also inducing a 60% ground-ball rate, which nearly doubles his career rate of 38.4%. Jumps in GB or fly-ball rate are not uncommon but do not typically spike to this degree within the span of one season. We can assume this new rate is fluky given how early it is in the season and use that to make the most of rostering Hector Neris.

Verdict: Trade Neris if possible, but roster otherwise as his role is extremely valuable until regression hits.

 

Fantasy Baseball Fallers

Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay Rays

96% Rostered on Yahoo

Good News: Randy Arozarena has three HRs and four SBs to start this season!

Bad News: Everything else.

Through 119 plate appearances, Arozarena is slashing .148/.227/.250 with an egregious 44 wRC+. His expected stats are somewhat better with a .219 average and .359 slugging but even that is dull relative to his career norms. Oddly enough, Arozarena is historically capable of outperforming his expected stats. From his call-up with the Cardinals in 2019 through last season, Arozarena has either significantly outperformed or met his expected numbers likely due to his speed and tendency to pull HRs.

According to Statcast, it appears that Arozarena has increased his launch angle progressively and it is affecting his ability to make hard contact (his current 37% lowest hard-hit percentage of his career thus far). It is still very early and in fantasy, his steals and HRs are palatable enough to continue holding with the hope for his average to cross the Mendoza Line soon. He has slumped before, but the offense was never as poor as it is performing this season. Even a top prospect like Junior Caminero possibly cannot come up and save it.

Verdict: Hold if you have him but do not buy. This could be the regression season that was due from long ago.

Aaron Civale, Tampa Bay Rays

74% Rostered on Yahoo

Aaron Civale's first three starts:

2.12 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 3.35 xFIP, 0.94 WHIP

27.3% K%, 6.1% BB%, 21.2% K-BB

Aaron Civale's last three starts:

8.40 ERA, 4.65 FIP, 3.65 xFIP, 1.73 WHIP

22.2% K%, 6.9% BB%, 15.3% K-BB

Civale's had the old "tale of two seasons" through six starts. While the ERA jump is extreme, there is some solace to take in Civale's xFIP remaining low in the most recent starts. Both his xERA and SIERA throughout the season are under 3.60, which does not hurt, either.

Verdict: Pick up off waivers if dropped. Civale is far from a 5.00+ ERA SP and worth starting in most matchups.

Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins

47% Rostered on Yahoo

Byron Buxton is healthy and having one of his worst offensive stretches since 2018. His strikeout rate of 33.3% is his highest since 2016 while his 2.1% walk rate is the lowest since 2020! This skid would not be alarming if there was word Buxton was playing through an injury like his knee issue last season, but from what we know, he is at full strength following offseason knee surgery.

Buxton is playing a high level of defense, which keeps him on the field and sustaining a decent .244 batting average. Unfortunately, the AVG is propped by a career-high .362 BABIP, which is likely to fall. Also, Buxton's expected stats are remarkable as they sit far lower than his mediocre actual performance. The offense as a whole is not helping as the Twins struggle to produce runs, but potentially the return of Carlos Correa can help?

Verdict: Droppable in most shallower formats.



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