The calendar has flipped to May and hopefully that brings better weather and more offense. It’s been a slow start offensively for many teams and players across the league, but the hope is that will change as the weather warms up. Teams also have to cut two players to bring the roster down to 26. This is a critical month as we are approaching decision time for when it comes to cutting players who are struggling.

Three Up:

1. New York Yankees Outfielder Aaron Judge — The Yankees have won nine straight and a large reason for that is because of Judge. The slugger hit five home runs and posted 11 RBIs in the past week. For the season, Judge is batting .300 with eight home runs, 16 RBIs and 16 runs scored and has entered the AL MVP conversation.

2. Toronto Blue Jays Starting Pitcher Kevin Gausman — When you’re making baseball history, you better get acknowledged here. Gausman has yet to allow a walk or a home run through first five outings. The only other pitcher who has done that in the World Series era is Cy Young. That’s impressive company for the 31-year-old. For the season, Gausman has a 2.27 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and is averaging 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings. The right-hander is currently +750 to win the AL Cy Young Award on FanDuel SportsBook.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers Starting Pitcher Walker Buehler — It was a pitching-dominant week in baseball, as there were multiple starters to choose from. Buehler gets spotlighted here, as he did not allow a run in two of his starts this past week. The right-hander struck out 15 and pitched a complete game shutout April 25. For the season, Buehler has three wins, a 2.12 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. Buehler was one of the pitchers who fantasy owners did invest early in drafts and through the first month, he’s paying off that draft-day price.

Three Down:

1. Toronto Blue Jays Third Baseman Matt Chapman — This is a head scratcher, as I truly believed Chapman being traded to the Blue Jays would see him return to the player who hit 36 home runs in 2019 when he was with the Oakland A’s. Chapman does have four home runs on the season, but it’s been an overall struggle. The third baseman is batting .210 with a career-low .704 OPS. We could chalk this up as a bad month and I still lean toward that, but Chapman had a career-low OPS last year while batting .220. He’s now 29 and in a stacked lineup. I’m not willing to say this is a trend, but we really need the third baseman to have a big month of May.

2. Boston Red Sox Second Baseman Trevor Story — Changing leagues will always lead to a period of transition. However, when you spend your entire career playing home games in the hitter-friendly Coors Field, it’s only natural to wonder if Story’s early-season struggles are because of that. Story hit 95 home runs at Coors Field compared to 65 on the road. The 29-year-old has yet to hit a home run this year and is currently batting .217. The Red Sox struggled through the first month so he’s not alone, but he was given a big contract with the expectation to be a run producer. Story has to flip the narrative that he was only good because of the ballpark he played in. Through the month of April, he hasn’t done that. Like Chapman, he needs a big month of May.

3. Detroit Tigers Starting Pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez — The Tigers were expected to take the next step into competitiveness this season, but they struggled in the first month. There were injuries to starting pitchers, but overall, players are just struggling. Rodriguez was a prized free-agent acquisition expected to anchor the rotation, and the left-hander has stumbled out of the gates. Rodriguez is pitching to a 5.33 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. Even more concerning is his 8.2 strikeouts per nine, which would be his lowest mark since his rookie season. Rodriguez has always been a back-end rotation piece for fantasy owners, but he’s quickly approaching the roster bubble.

Phil Backert

See all posts by Phil Backert. Follow Phil Backert on Twitter at @PhilBackert