The injuries continue to pile up in baseball, particularly to pitchers. New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton attributed this to the shortened summer camp as it did not allow players to get into playing shape. I don’t disagree, but this could have been avoided if the players’ union and owners didn’t fight over money for two months.

The website Last Word on Baseball did a great job breaking down the large number of injuries we’re seeing this season compared to previous years. This impacts fantasy baseball in a big way, as we have to be extremely active on the waiver wire. The injuries along with the continuous shutdown of teams due to COVID-19 has made this a very difficult fantasy baseball season — and half the season hasn’t been played yet.

We just need to continue to grind and try to be ahead of our competition so we can finish with a championship.

Three Up:

1. Chicago White Sox First Baseman Jose Abreu — It was an incredible week for the first baseman, as Abreu slugged six home runs in a three-game span and finished with seven home runs for the week. Abreu also finished with a .533 batting average and 15 RBIs. There’s no doubt that fantasy owners who have Abreu on their roster jumped up in the standings. For the season, Abreu is now batting .322 with 11 home runs and 28 RBIs. It’s a shame Abreu doesn’t get more recognition, as he has been one of the top consistent fantasy players for years.

2. Chicago White Sox Shortstop Tim Anderson — The White Sox are second in batting average and home runs in all of baseball so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they have multiple players making huge fantasy impacts. Anderson, like Abreu, had a monster week, as he slugged four home runs to go along with nine runs scored, seven RBIs and two stolen bases. For the season, Anderson is batting .350 with six home runs and 23 runs scored. This is now the second season in a row that Anderson is hitting for a high average, so I don’t think it’s a fluke for the 27-year-old.

3. Chicago Cubs Starting Pitcher Yu Darvish — The city of Chicago sweeps the Three Up department this week as Darvish gets the nod after another strong couple of starts. The veteran struck out 17 in two starts while allowing only two earned runs and picking up two wins. Darvish hasn’t allowed more than one earned run in any of his last five starts and hasn’t allowed more than three in any start this season. The righty is pitching to a 1.70 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP and has struck out 44 hitters. It will be difficult to pitch to this elite level for the rest of the season, but fantasy owners will continue to get a boost every time Darvish is on the mound.

Three Down:

1. Chicago Cubs Shortstop Javier Baez — We stay in the city of Chicago, as the shortstop for the Cubs is not having the same success as the shortstop for the White Sox. Baez is super talented and has been of the top fantasy shortstops in recent seasons. However, it’s been a struggle in 2020, as Baez is only hitting .200 with three home runs and 10 RBIs. This past week, Baez struck out 12 times and only collected five hits. Baez needs to get going quick as he’s hurting fantasy rosters in a big way.

2. Cleveland Indians Third Baseman Jose Ramirez — This is now the second consecutive season that Ramirez has started off slow. In 2019, the third baseman had the benefit of a full season to turn things around. That won’t be the case this year so the 27-year-old needs to get hot with the bat soon. Over the last seven days, Ramirez collected only three hits while striking out 10 times. He did steal three bases which is a plus. For the season, Ramirez is only hitting .241 with five home runs and 18 RBIs. Fantasy owners are hoping Ramirez snaps out of this quickly.

3. Milwaukee Brewers Outfielder Christian Yelich — The former National League Most Valuable Player cannot get his season going, as he continues to struggle with the batting average. Yelich only collected four hits this past week and is batting .194 this season. There were many drafts that saw Yelich get drafted No. 1 overall prior to the restart, and he was firmly selected in the top three. There’s no doubt he has been one of the biggest busts thus far this season. We know he can carry fantasy owners for weeks at a time, but it needs to happen soon.

Phil Backert

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