Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman was finally promoted on May 21. Orioles fans and the fantasy baseball community can finally exhale. It was long overdue, but the No. 1 prospect is here and should immediately become a fantasy contributor.

Young hitters will struggle, but since the catcher position is littered with bad hitters, Rutschman should make enough of an impact to help fantasy owners the rest of the season. He should remain in the lineup even when he isn’t catching, which doesn’t happen often at the position.

Three Up:

1. Boston Red Sox Second Baseman Trevor Story — The big offseason signee has attempted to make up for a terrible season in one week. Entering last week, Story was batting .196 with one home run and was one of the biggest disappointments this season. However, this past week, Story hit .360 with six home runs, 14 RBIs, 10 runs scored and two stolen bases. That raised Story’s batting average from .196 to .226. Maybe it just took Story a little longer to get into the flow of the season since he signed late.

2. San Diego Padres Third Baseman Manny Machado — There are a couple other hitters that could be spotlighted, but Machado will get the nod. The 29-year-old is a legit MVP candidate in the National League and finished this past week hitting .444 with one home run, four RBIs, six runs scored and a stolen base. Machado is hitting .374 this season, which ranks first in all of baseball. Machado also has the most hits in baseball, highest on-base percentage and ranks second in OPS. Not only is Machado playing well, but he is always in the lineup. That is just as valuable for fantasy owners.

3. Miami Marlins Starting Pitcher Sandy Alcantara — The Marlins have two pitchers ranked in the top 10 of ERA in Pablo Lopez and Alcantara. It was another strong week for Alcantara, as he allowed only one earned run in 17.2 innings pitched while striking out 12. For the season, the 26-year-old has a 2.11 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. Alcantara has been overlooked mainly due to pitching on a bad Marlins team, but he’s been a very consistent pitcher throughout his career. Now he has taken his game to the next level, which is great news for fantasy owners.

Three Down:

1. Seattle Mariners Outfielder Jesse Winker — Moving from a hitter’s ballpark in Cincinnati to a more neutral ballpark in Seattle was going to be a negative for Winker and was one of the reasons why I labeled the outfielder as an overvalued candidate in the preseason. However, I didn’t think it would be this much of a struggle. Winker is batting .217 with only two home runs and 16 RBIs this season.

After back-to-back seasons with a slugging percent north of .500, Winker has a .303 slugging this year. Winker has struggled against left-handers throughout his career, but surprisingly, both of his home runs have been against southpaws and he currently has an .887 OPS against lefties. To put that in perspective, Winker has a career OPS of .643 against lefties. This at least gives me hope that we could see a Trevor Story-like week from Winker in the near future.

2. Baltimore Orioles Center Fielder Cedric Mullins — The 27-year-old started slowly this season, but was able to raise his batting average to .269 by May 13. However, it was a rough week for Mullins as he collected only five hits and is currently hitting .249. There was no way Mullins was going to repeat last year’s 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases, but the streakiness that he’s having in 2022 is a little surprising.

3. Toronto Blue Jays First Baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. — After hitting six home runs in April and looking to once again be an MVP candidate, Guerrero has only hit one in the month of May. The 23-year-old has a slugging percentage of .434 which is down from .601 in 2021. Guerrero is still hitting the ball hard, but he’s hitting more ground balls compared to last year, which is why the home runs have not been there. I’m not concerned and expect the youngster to make an adjustment and the long balls to start coming.

Phil Backert

See all posts by Phil Backert. Follow Phil Backert on Twitter at @PhilBackert