As mentioned many times, the dynamics of this Major League Baseball season can change in a second. Heading into the Aug. 7-9 weekend, it appeared all 30 teams would finally play. However, more positive tests for the St. Louis Cardinals forced the postponement of their weekend series against the Chicago Cubs and another series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Cardinals have only played five games this season and will most likely be scheduled for a lot of doubleheaders to try to fit in as many games as possible. This is a very tough situation for all parties involved, and fantasy owners need to continue to follow the latest news.

Three Up:

1. San Diego Padres Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. — The 21-year-old is going to win many awards throughout his career. The talented shortstop is an absolute stud. Tatis could be in line to win a Most Valuable Player award in 2020 if he keeps up the pace he is currently on. The shortstop has hit eight home runs through the early part of the season while batting .333 with 18 RBIs, 15 runs scored and four stolen bases. This is as big of an impact as we are going to see from a hitter, as Tatis is filling up all five categories. There’s no doubt the youngster is going to end up in the top-three draft pick conversation in 2021 and he’s going to help many fantasy owners win a championship in 2020.

2. Colorado Rockies Outfielder Charlie Blackmon — The veteran outfielder has always been a stud, so it’s no shock the 34-year-old is playing well again. Blackmon is off to a great start — he is batting .458 with 18 RBIs and three home runs. Hitting away from Coors Field tends not to be quite the same as hitting in the home ballpark for Rockies batters, but Blackmon is raking on the road with a .438 batting average this year. This is great news for fantasy owners, and Blackmon should continue to help fantasy owners.

3. Atlanta Braves Outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. — Fantasy owners have been waiting for Acuna to get going and it appears the talented outfielder has. The 22-year-old hit three home runs with five RBIs during a weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies, raising his average from .217 to .266. The fluctuation in average just shows how early we still are in the season, but in this shortened year, it also demonstrates the need for our players to get off to strong starts. Acuna was being drafted No. 1 overall for a reason and hopefully the early-season struggles are a thing of the past.

Three Down:

1. New York Yankees Catcher Gary Sanchez — The catcher was one of the best young hitters in all of baseball only a few years ago, but it has been a struggle in recent seasons for the 27-year-old. The 2020 season has been no different, as Sanchez is batting .103 with only one home run and three RBIs. Despite the average dropping in recent years, the power has still been there. That’s not the case this year and it’s extremely frustrating.

2. Arizona Diamondbacks Starting Pitcher Robbie Ray — The lefty has always been a frustrating fantasy player, as he will rack up strikeouts but allow a lot of baserunners. It’s finally catching up to him this season, as Ray has struggled mightily in his three starts by allowing at least five earned runs in two and failing to pitch six innings in all three. Ray continues to walk hitters, as evidenced by two starts with at least three free passes. Ray needs a strong start in his next appearance or fantasy owners may have to cut bait.

3. Arizona Diamondbacks Starting Pitcher Madison Bumgarner — The Diamondbacks’ rotation hasn’t been great, which is why their season hasn’t been great, either. I’m sure they thought they would get more from Bumgarner. One of the better pitchers in the last decade is off to a miserable start. Through four starts, the veteran has a 9.35 ERA, hasn’t completed six innings and has allowed at least six earned runs in back-to-back starts. Bumgarner is now dealing with back pain so it remains to be seen if he’s sidelined, but it’s hard for fantasy owners to even trust the left-hander at this point.

Phil Backert

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