Different than our Waiver Wire or Sleepers articles, the Risers/Fallers fantasy piece takes a look at players on the rise in fantasy baseball, as well as notable names in baseball that are in decline (if just for the moment).
Check back every week for the top guys who are making a name for themselves, along with some of the house-hold names that are letting people down routinely in fantasy baseball leagues.
Read on for the top risers and fallers in MLB’s second week of action:
Martin Prado, ATL, 1B/2B/3B, (Owned in 77% of Yahoo leagues)
Mentioned last week in this very same category, Prado has done nothing but increased his level of play over the past seven days. He has hit safely in every one of his nine games this season, six of which he recorded multiple hits.
Prado has a .459 batting average and 1.172 OPS and shows no signs of slowing down in the short-term.
Jon Rauch, MIN, RP, (84%)
Since being named closer after Joe Nathan went down with season-ending surgery, Rauch has been every bit worthy of leading the league in saves. Thus far, he is 5-for-five in save opportunities with a 1.80 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.
Casey McGehee, MIL, 2B/3B, (61%)
Last year, McGehee had a breakout year to prove he belonged in the majors. This year, batting .333 with three home runs, eight RBI’s, and five walks, he has looked like he belongs on the all-star team thus far.
Chris Young, ARI, OF, (71%)
Young has started this season on an absolute tear. Batting .351, he also has a 1.051 OPS, three home runs, and 14 RBI’s. Claim this guy off waivers if you still can.
Francisco Liriano, MIN, SP/RP, (64%)
Just a couple years ago, Liriano was seen as the great new phenom, drawing comparisons to Johan Santana. Now, many people have jumped off of his bandwagon after a miserable 2009.
So far in 2010, Liriano looks as if he is back to his old self with a dominating slider that has helped him to put up eleven strikeouts over his first two starts. He also has a 2.08 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP and a .178 batting average against.
Magglio Ordonez, DET, OF, (80%)
Just last week, Ordonez was owned in only 60% of Yahoo leagues. It took just seven days to jump up 20 percentage points, thanks to his three home runs, eight RBI’s, and .368 batting average he has maintained so far this season.
Jeff Francoeur, NYM, OF, (57%)
Francoeur has a hit in each of his games this season. Out of his 14 hits thus far, seven of them are extra base hits. Usually known as a threat to strikeout, Francoeur appears to have significantly increased his plate discipline having been walked six times already (and only has three strikeouts).
He is batting .438 with a 1.388 average, and now that Reyes is back in the lineup, expect him to drive in many runs from here on out.
Jorge Cantu, FLA, 1B/3B, (87%)
Cantu holds the record for most consecutive games to start a season while recording at least one hit and one RBI in each game. The record is currently at ten games, but is still in progress. Cantu leads all third basemen with 15 RBI’s thus far.
Also Noteworthy: Ben Sheets, OAK, SP, (74%)
Carlos Zambrano, CHC, SP, (83%)
After showing up in camp in the best shape he had been in since his rookie season, only one of Zambrano’s first three starts in the regular season has been a quality one, (and even in that one he gave up three earned runs).
He has already given up 20 hits, 14 earned runs, and four home runs. With his ERA up at 9.45, perhaps he is no longer the ace he was a couple of years ago.
Javier Vazquez, NYY, SP, (94%)
One would expect that a veteran such as Vazquez would pitch even just well enough to win on this stacked Yankees squad. So far however, he is 0-2 and has already given up twelve earned runs (in only two starts). It may be time to begin to consider a more consistent alternative.
Carlos Lee, HOU, OF, (91%)
After three straight seasons batting at least .300 with over 100 RBI’s, there haven’t been too many bigger disappointments than Lee has been in 2010. So far, he has only three hits and is batting a lowly .086. Perhaps more scary for fantasy owners is that he has yet to record his first RBI of the year.
Hunter Pence, HOU, OF, (81%)
The second of the largely disappointing outfielders in Houston this season is Hunter Pence. He has a 0-7 walk-to-strikeout ratio thus far and is batting a mere .121. He’s still young so hopefully he will be able to turn it around quickly and get back to the kind of ball he has played in his previous few years in the majors.
A Note about Mark Teixeira, NYY, 1B, (98%)
Although off to a slow start batting just .091 (3/33) with zero home runs, this is no new “feat” for “Tex.” His career average in April is only .243, while it is .295 in May.
Obviously Teixeira isn’t exactly a “faller” as of yet, but there isn’t a reason to be too alarmed at his performance this month. On a team like the Yankees, a player as talented as he is will surmount well over 100 RBI’s by the end of the year.
Also Noteworthy: Scott Kazmir, LAA, SP, (64%); Ricky Nolasco, FLA, SP, (94%); Jair Jurrjens, ATL, SP, (89%)