As the weather heats up, the hope is always that offense will as well in Major League Baseball. After seeing record lows in offense early in the year, it appears hitters are starting to settle in.

This past weekend, there were six teams that scored double-digit runs in a game — and a few others nearly reached that total. We’ll see if this is a trend that will continue, but it’s nice to finally see teams score more runs.

Three Up:

1. San Diego Padres Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. — Tatis continues to show why he is one of the most talented players in baseball. However, he has had a few setbacks already this season. He has dealt with a shoulder injury and most recently, a bout with COVID-19. However, when he is on the field, he is a major threat. The shortstop returned from COVID-19 and didn’t miss a beat, collecting 11 hits, 12 RBIs, seven runs scored, three stolen bases and four home runs during the past four games. This was in only 14 at bats. That’s hard to believe, but that is the type of talent Tatis possesses. The hope is he can remain on the field for an extended amount of time and continue to help fantasy owners.

2. Cincinnati Reds Outfielder Jesse Winker — There are a lot of offensive players who can be spotlighted, but Winker gets the nod after finishing the week with six home runs. Winker ranks in the top 10 in home runs (13) and is second in batting average (.355). The biggest issue with Winker is his lack of plate appearances against lefties. The outfielder has only 32 at-bats all season, so he’s thriving against right-handers, but if there is a string of lefties on the schedule, Winker will find himself on the bench a lot.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers Starting Pitcher Walker Buehler — The offenses may be heating up, but Buehler continues to dominate. The right-hander won both of his starts this past week, allowing just one earned run while striking out 12. Buehler has a 2.78 ERA this season. The talent has never been questioned, but how many innings the righty will actually throw has been. Buehler threw six innings twice in 2020. However, this season, he has done that in every start, including three straight starts of seven innings. Buehler has been a big hit as an early-round starting pitcher, which is huge for fantasy owners.

Three Down:

1. Atlanta Braves Outfielder Marcell Ozuna — The struggles continues for the outfielder, as he finished this past week with only five hits and one home run. For the season, Ozuna is hitting .209 with 46 strikeouts in 47 games played. Fantasy owners were hoping for the Ozuna who hit 18 home runs in 60 games in 2020, but that has not been the case in 2021.

2. Los Angeles Angels Third Baseman Anthony Rendon — The third baseman has dealt with injuries this season, which has slowed his usual production. This past week, the veteran collected only five hits and one RBI. For the season, Rendon is batting .234 with three home runs and 12 RBIs. That’s not what fantasy owners were expecting back in March. The hope is Rendon will get comfortable again and start producing with more at-bats, but it needs to happen soon.

3. Cincinnati Reds Starting Pitcher Luis Castillo — One of the bigger disappointments this season has to be Castillo. The 28-year-old has finished the last two seasons with an ERA of 3.40 or lower, but this year has been a disaster. The right-hander has allowed at least four earned runs in six of his 10 starts and has a 7.61 ERA this year. There’s no way fantasy owners can trust a pitcher they drafted to be near the top of their rotation back in March.

Phil Backert

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