Three Up:

1. San Diego Padres Third Baseman Manny Machado — I mentioned Machado as part of my favorite MLB futures bets, both to hit over 28.5 home runs and as a possible NL MVP. Through the first month of the season, Machado is certainly in the conversation. The third baseman is batting .385 with seven home runs, 21 RBIs, 26 runs scored and six stolen bases. The 29-year-old is still a stolen base threat, which is great news for fantasy owners. After dealing with knee issues early in his career, Machado has been the model of durability, which is half the battle in fantasy sports. There’s no doubt Machado will be on many fantasy championship rosters by the end of the year.

2. Chicago White Sox Starting Pitcher Dylan Cease — Last year was a strong season for Cease, as he finished with a 3.91 ERA and averaged 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings. It appeared he was just scratching the surface and this year is proving it. The right-hander has a 2.38 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP and is averaging 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings. In two starts this past week, the 26-year-old struck out 19 and only allowed one earned run. Cease was drafted as the 23rd starting pitcher back in March and is already crushing his draft-day value.

3. Colorado Rockies First Baseman C.J. Cron — The 32-year-old has always had power, but has taken his career to a new level since joining the Rockies in 2021. That shouldn’t be a total surprise as he plays his home games in Colorado, but not every hitter takes advantage. Cron is off to a strong start to the season as he’s batting .311 with nine home runs and 24 RBIs. Cron is definitely enjoying the home field advantage, as he’s batting .377 in Colorado and only .222 on the road. This will be something we’ll continue to monitor throughout the rest of the season.

Three Down:

1. Boston Red Sox Second Baseman Trevor Story — This is becoming a weekly occurrence, which is not a good thing. Story continues to struggle in his first season with Boston and making it more difficult to say his career was not boosted because he played in Colorado. This past week, Story struck out 11 times and only collected three hits while getting booed by the home fans. On the season, the infielder is batting .194 and has yet to hit a home run. We can’t blame the weather, as Story is used to playing in bad conditions early in the season. It’s always difficult to live up to a big contract. Trying to do it in a sports town like Boston only adds to the pressure. Story really needs to get it going soon or fantasy owners will have a difficult decision with their early draft pick.

2. New York Mets Shortstop Francisco Lindor — This was a rough week for Lindor, as he only collected two hits. Lindor entered the Mets’ May 2 contest batting .282 and after the recent struggles, the switch-hitter is batting .239. Even though we’re a month into the season, there can still be huge swings in averages depending if a hitter gets hot or goes cold. Lindor is now carrying a three-game hitting streak, and he played so well early. I’m not concerned and I can easily see him back on the “Three Up” list next week.

3. Cleveland Indians Third Baseman Jose Ramirez — Another player we’re not worried about is Ramirez. The infielder only collected four hits this past week while driving in just one run and did not hit a home run. Ramirez is having such a great season that his average went from .341 to .311 after this past week’s struggles. For the year, Ramirez has seven home runs, 30 RBIs and three stolen bases. Like Lindor, Ramirez could find himself on “Three Up” next week.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

Phil Backert

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