It’s eye-opening to see some Major League Baseball teams with 10 games played and others with only three. Everyone understood there would need to be flexibility this season, but it’s still frustrating to see Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper with only three games played and have to wonder if he will help your fantasy team.

We’re all navigating this together and I think everything will end up even by the end of the season, but knowing you’re falling in the standings because your players aren’t playing can be tough to handle.

Three Up:

1. New York Yankees Outfielder Aaron Judge — The slugger would have easily missed the first three months of the season due to injury if everything didn’t get shut down. Instead, due to the season starting in July, Judge was healthy again and is now on his way to becoming the Most Valuable Player in the American League if he keeps up this pace. The outfielder has hit six home runs with 14 RBIs and has lifted the Yankees to the best winning percentage in baseball.

2. Seattle Mariners Outfielder Kyle Lewis — When you’re leading baseball in hits, you need to be mentioned. That is exactly what the Mariners outfielder is doing as he has collected 17 hits already to give him a .425 batting average. The 25-year-old is taking full advantage of playing every day and hitting in the middle of the Mariners’ lineup. It should be pointed out that Lewis has struck out 17 times this season already. The hit pace will be difficult to maintain due to this, but Lewis is giving fantasy owners a big boost through the first couple of weeks of the season.

3. Cleveland Indians Starting Pitcher Shane Bieber — The right-hander has been dominant through his first two starts, as he has yet to allow a run. Even more impressive has been his ability to rack up strikeouts, as he has had at least 13 in both starts and leads all of baseball with 27. Bieber’s ability to strike out as many hitters as he has is going to help fantasy owners in a big way this season.

Three Down:

1. Los Angeles Angels Pitcher/Designated Hitter Shohei Ohtani — There was hope Ohtani could show in 2020 that he can be productive as a pitcher and a hitter. However, it’s been a struggle on both sides. He has failed to throw two innings in either of his first two starts and has walked at least three in both of those starts. As a hitter, Ohtani has struggled as well; he is only hitting .148 with two home runs. Ohtani is now dealing with an arm injury again so there’s a chance he lands on the injured list. The Angels may be close in deciding if Ohtani can still compete as a pitcher and a hitter.

2. New York Mets First Baseman Pete Alonso — After an impressive rookie season that saw the first baseman slug 53 home runs, the 25-year-old is off to a sluggish start in 2020. Alonso has only one home run and three RBIs with a batting average of .175. It looked like Alonso could be breaking out of his slump with a four-hit performance on July 29, but he followed that up with one hit during the next four games. Alonso has to get it going because fantasy owners drafted him for his power and he’s not showing that at all.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers Outfielder Cody Bellinger — The outfielder is struggling in a big way with a .150 batting average, one home run and only four RBIs. I thought Bellinger could compete for an MVP award in the National League this season, but the slow start could be tough to overcome. If there’s any hope it’s that Bellinger did hit his first home run Aug. 2, so maybe he will start to get it going. This is a critical week for a lot of these hitters who have struggled and Bellinger is no exception.

Phil Backert

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