The fantasy baseball season’s first month is complete and I always preach about taking a step back at the beginning of every month to look at your rosters.

If you’re trailing in any particular category, it may be a good time to see what trades can be made or to look harder on the waiver wire. This should be done consistently, but the start of a new month is always a good benchmark to use when trying to assess your team.

Three Up:

1. Chicago Cubs Third Baseman Kris Bryant — The infielder hit four home runs this past week along with collecting 10 hits and 10 RBIs. For the season, Bryant is batting .323 with nine home runs and 22 RBIs. This makes me happy, as I touted Bryant as a bounce-back candidate after his disappointing 2020 season. I expect more of the same from Bryant throughout the season. He will be making fantasy owners extremely happy.

2. New York Yankees Outfielder Aaron Judge — The power has returned for Judge, as he slugged three home runs this past week. His current slugging percentage of .562 would be the second-highest mark of his career. The week could have been better, but Judge sat out two games due to “general soreness.” We could see this more often with Judge as the Yankees are hoping to keep him healthy for the entire season. The outfielder missed significant time due to injuries each of the past three seasons, so if it means playing 140 games to keep him healthy for six months, fantasy owners would be happy with that.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers Starting Pitcher Julio Urias — I touted the talented left-hander in March as a breakout candidate, and he’s coming through in a big way. Urias has already won four games and has two starts with 10 or more strikeouts. For the season, Urias has a 2.87 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. The 24-year-old wasn’t a high draft pick, either, so he’s helping fantasy owners out in a big way. I believe it will continue.

Three Down:

1. Atlanta Braves Starting Pitcher Charlie Morton — Bryant and Urias are coming through for fantasy owners after being recommended in March, but Morton is failing big time. The veteran right-hander allowed nine earned runs in his two starts this past week and is pitching to a 5.08 ERA. After struggling in the regular season in 2020, Morton showed flashes in the postseason, which gave me confidence he would return to form. However, it appears that may not be the case. I’m not willing to give up yet, but there will be options to replace Morton if the struggles continue.

2. Houston Astros Second Baseman Jose Altuve — The second baseman missed time due to COVID-19, but returned April 26 and immediately collected three hits. However, he has only collected two hits since then. The average has dipped from .347 on April 26 to .260 with the recent struggles. Altuve will snap out of it, but he battled COVID-19 so we don’t know the lingering effects. This is something to monitor.

3. Chicago Cubs First Baseman Anthony Rizzo — Teammate Kris Bryant may be sizzling at the plate, but Rizzo is not. The first baseman collected only five hits this past week and is hitting .222 this season with only nine RBIs. Rizzo also struggled in 2020, so a pattern is starting to occur. I still believe the veteran will snap out of the early-season funk, but we would like to see it sooner rather than later.

Phil Backert

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