Three Up:

1. Atlanta Braves Second Baseman Ozzie Albies — The 24-year-old gets overlooked due to playing on the same team as Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman, but Albies has established himself as one of the better young players in baseball. The second baseman is once again having a fine season, as he is hitting .263 with 15 home runs 59 RBIs, 50 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. The ability to contribute in all five categories makes Albies extremely valuable, and he’ll look to continue that during the second half of the season.

2. Baltimore Orioles Outfielder Cedric Mullins — The American League All-Star continues to play at a high level for fantasy owners. Mullins finished this past week with 10 hits while hitting two home runs and stealing three bases. The outfielder is batting .318 with 15 home runs, 47 runs scored, 32 RBIs and 15 stolen bases this season and has quickly become one of the most consistent performers this year.

3. Colorado Rockies Starting Pitcher Germán Márquez — The right-hander made two starts in Coors Field this past week. That should mean disaster, but Márquez didn’t just pitch well, he dominated. The 26-year-old pitched 15 innings while striking out 16 and only allowing two earned runs. Márquez has a 3.06 ERA at home this season compared to a 4.67 ERA on the road, which is hard to comprehend. I’m cautious by nature when it comes to pitchers at Coors Field, so I will continue to miss out on Márquez if he pitches well at home. However, he has provided fantasy owners a nice option as a back-end rotation piece.

Three Down:

1. New York Yankees Reliever Aroldis Chapman — It has been a rough couple of weeks for the hard-throwing lefty. Chapman has allowed nine earned runs in his last three appearances while blowing two saves. The recent struggles have caused Chapman’s ERA to rise from 1.98 to 4.71. The struggles could be connected to word coming out in early June that baseball would start to crack down on foreign substances. Chapman had an ERA of 0.41 on June 2 and it’s been downhill since. It doesn’t sound like Chapman’s role as closer is in jeopardy, but we’re now approaching a month of struggles and there are no signs that a turnaround is near.

2. Chicago White Sox Starting Pitcher Lucas Giolito — The right-hander hasn’t pitched more than six innings in his last five starts and is coming off his worst start since April when he allowed six earned runs on July 4. Giolito has only struck out six hitters in his last two starts and has seen his ERA rise from 3.73 at the end of May to 4.20. I consider the last two starts a little bump in the road. The 26-year-old was solid overall in June and was dominant at the end of May. However, all it takes is a couple of bad starts to ruin a good season, so Giolito needs to get back on track in a hurry.

3. Cincinnati Reds Outfielder Jesse Winker — The outfielder was named a starter for the National League All-Star team but had a rough week, only collecting four hits while striking out six times. Winker has been a strong fantasy performer this season, as he is batting .306 with 19 home runs and 49 RBIs. The Reds play their home games in one of the more hitter-friendly stadiums, making Winker a prime target to continue performing at a high level for fantasy owners.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

Phil Backert

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