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Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers - John Means, Paul Goldschmidt, Bo Bichette, and more

Paul Goldschmidt - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, MLB Injury News, DFS Picks

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 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 Twitter/X (@RotoSurgeon). Without further ado, here are your Risers and Fallers for Week 7 of the fantasy baseball season!

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

 

Fantasy Baseball Risers

Jonny DeLuca, Tampa Bay Rays

10% Rostered on Yahoo

Former Dodgers prospect Jonny DeLuca has found a home in Tampa Bay. Over the past week, he is slashing .389/.450/.722 with a home run and two stolen bases. There is a lot to like about DeLuca's game for fantasy as he hit for power in the minors and stole a dozen bags occasionally.

DeLuca's plate discipline is sound. Since rookie ball in 2019, his strikeout rate has not crossed 20% while he walks roughly 10% of the time. Expected stats via Statcast have his elite .499 wOBA much closer to an above-average .350, but with his speed, he can perform above expectation.

Verdict: DeLuca is worth a grab on 12+ team rosters as he is playing every day on an improving, healthier Rays offense.

Luis Garcia Jr., Washington Nationals

29% Rostered on Yahoo

Luis Garcia Jr. is far removed from his top prospect status from a half-decade ago but the profile and tools are finally starting to come together. He has exchanged some strikeouts for more power as his slugging percentage is .500 at the moment despite never crossing .411 across a full season prior. The expected numbers track and his average over .300 could stay as such.

Invigorated bats within the confines of an improving Nationals lineup like Jesse Winker and CJ Abrams allow for higher run and RBI totals. Garcia Jr.'s fantasy output thus far is bolstered by his jump alongside a team playing at a much higher level than in recent seasons.

Verdict: Garcia Jr. is a must-have fantasy asset for any team in need of a 2B or with a weak MI spot.

John Means, Baltimore Orioles

59% Rostered on Yahoo

John Means returned to the major leagues this season with a vengeance. He posted eight strikeouts in seven innings against the Reds without giving up a run or surrendering a walk. While the Reds offense is mediocre vs. LHP, pitching in Great American Ball Park is no small task. Means' outing is nothing short of impressive.

However, for anyone looking to jump on the ship, many red flags still exist. Means has never posted a FIP, xFIP, or SIERA below 3.90 in his career as a full-time starter. He has pitched just 79 innings combined since 2022 and right after recovering from Tommy John surgery, he suffered "elbow soreness" before the playoffs last season and then a "forearm injury" (typically, elbow-related) in spring training.

Verdict: At 31, it is unlikely Means is having a true breakout. He would have a hard time sustaining that anyway given his recent injury issues. Utilize as a streamer if available but do not expect his initial start to be anything more than a blip.

 

Fantasy Baseball Fallers

Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals

95% Rostered on Yahoo

The season from hell for Paul Goldschmidt continues. Not only is his strikeout rate at a career-high 30% but his slugging percentage is a meager .273 while the expected number is still a career-low .371. The Cardinals offense is struggling to produce runs and Goldschmidt is a large reason for it. Not to mention, they just lost Willson Contreras for the next two months.

Only one silver lining for Goldschmidt and his fantasy managers exists and it is his 2018 season. From the start of that year to May 18, Goldschmidt slashed .203/.326/.354 with a 31.6% strikeout rate. From May 19 on, Goldschmidt hit 29 HRs, slashed .322/.412/.598, and cut his strikeout rate to 22.7%. The obvious disparity between Goldschmidt then and Goldschmidt now is his age. At 36 years old, it is unlikely he will bounce back in the same fashion. However, he was just hitting the ball at a similar expected wOBA last season as his stellar 2022. A return to fantasy relevance is not impossible, but buyers must beware.

Verdict: Hold until the end of May but do not buy.

Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays

96% Rostered on Yahoo

It is hard to sweep all of the Blue Jays' struggles under the rug of facing the toughest pitchers to date but that is a necessary bit of information when evaluating their slow start. Bo Bichette is striking out less and walking slightly more but failing to make his typical quality contact. Bichette's earned just two barrels on balls this season and has the lowest average exit velocity of his career. His expected statistics are slightly better than the surface numbers, but not by much, making his season thus far an even bigger concern.

To make matters worse, the Blue Jays offense as a whole is mediocre as they sit below a league average wRC+ and 20th in OPS. Fellow Toronto stars Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and George Springer are also struggling and making for a much more difficult environment on offense. Bichette's career to date is one of the most consistent of any young hitter. He has hit at least 20 HRs in each of the past three seasons while hitting no lower than .290 throughout his career.

Verdict: Hold Bichette for the long run and buy if possible. This start is likely an aberration like Trea Turner in 2023.

Spencer Torkelson, Detroit Tigers

68% Rostered on Yahoo

Spencer Torkelson is waiver wire fodder moving forward. With awful surface numbers and bottom-five expected statistics, nothing is pointing to a bounce-back for Detroit's former first overall pick. The process that led to drafting Torkelson was not bad, considering his uptick in barrel rate and elite hard-hit percentage in 2023, but he's a complete bust who belongs on the waiver wire.

The Detroit Tigers offense is a quagmire as they struggle to produce beyond the top three. They have not seen any production from top prospect Colt Keith and are forced to start Javier Baez given his sunk-cost contract. These struggles on top of Torkelson's compound on a team 24th in wRC+ and 25th in OPS.

Verdict: Drop. Better options at 1B like Alec Burleson or Ryan O'Hearn should be rostered instead.



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