Three Up:

1. New York Yankees Outfielder Joey Gallo — The extremely streaky Gallo is one of the most frustrating players you’ll find in fantasy baseball. As such, he’s not a player I want to be invested in, as I have mentioned many times throughout the years. But if fantasy owners have stuck with Gallo and are fighting for a championship, the slugger at least is coming through at the right time. Gallo finished this past week with a .412 batting average and five home runs. Even more surprising, he struck out just four times. For the season, Gallo is batting .204 with 37 home runs, 75 RBIs and an eye-popping 196 strikeouts.

2. Cleveland Indians Third Baseman José Ramírez — The 29-year-old doesn’t get enough love and I’m not sure why. In a year when players are constantly hurt, Ramirez has posted up and played 137 games. The third baseman continues to produce, as he’s batting .265 with 35 home runs, 94 RBIs and 24 steals. Ramirez collected 10 hits and scored 10 runs this past week. Ramirez is the exact player we want to be invested in and it’s been another banner season for the infielder.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers Starting Pitcher Clayton Kershaw — The future Hall of Famer has returned just in time for the final few weeks of the season for fantasy owners. Kershaw had been sidelined since July with an elbow injury, but returned Sept. 13. In two starts, the left-hander has only allowed two earned runs while striking out 13. Kershaw hasn’t pitched more than five innings in a start since June, so I’m not sure if we will see a seven-inning performance or not. However, he will be effective down the stretch for fantasy owners hoping to cap off a championship.

Three Down:

1. Los Angeles Angels Designated Hitter Shohei Ohtani — It’s been a struggle in the second half of the season for Ohtani as a hitter, as he is batting just .223 with 11 home runs since the break. Ohtani finished the first half of the year with a .279 batting average and 33 home runs. The front-runner for the American League MVP award has still had an incredible season, but there’s no doubt the toll of being a two-way player has worn him down some. However, he did toss eight innings of two-run ball against the Athletics Sept. 19.

2. New York Yankees Outfielder Aaron Judge — The inconsistent play of the Yankees is why they are on the outside looking in for a playoff berth. Gallo had a monster week, but Judge struggled, collecting only four hits. Luckily, three of those hits were home runs, but Judge hit .143 for the week with eight strikeouts. For the season, Judge is batting .284 with 35 home runs and 85 RBIs.

3. Milwaukee Brewers Outfielder Christian Yelich — I really hope we see the old Yelich return in 2022. It has now been a two-year struggle for the former MVP. The outfielder hit .205 during the shortened season. In 2020, Yelich is batting .249 and has only eight home runs. Yelich’s slugging percentage (.373) would be a career low and his batting average would be as well for a 162-game season. Yelich has an amazing track record, but he will need to bounce back in a big way at the age of 30 in 2022.

Phil Backert

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