The sample size is small, but offenses seem to be breaking out of their early-season slumps. On June 4, there were 57 combined home runs in the major leagues, tied for fourth most in history in a single day. That’s pretty wild when considering how dreadful teams had been offensively. The weather heating up is an easy conclusion, so we’ll see if this trend continues throughout the month.

Three Up:

1. Houston Astros Designated Hitter Yordan Alvarez — It was an amazing week for the slugger. Alvarez signed a six-year, $115 million extension with the Astros, and then the 24-year-old finished the week with a .565 batting average, four home runs and eight RBIs. For the season, Alvarez is batting .295 with 16 home runs, 34 RBIs and 35 runs scored. Alvarez is one of the best young hitters in baseball. It’s time he starts getting more recognition for it.

2. San Diego Padres Starting Pitcher MacKenzie Gore — The 23-year-old just missed out on making two starts this past week, but the youngster deserves some recognition. The left-hander has allowed three earned runs or fewer in all nine of his starts. Gore is sporting a 1.50 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Even more impressive, Gore has racked up 19 total strikeouts in his last two starts while allowing no runs. Gore does have six walks in those starts, so that’s something to monitor, but he’s pitching extremely well and helping fantasy owners in a big way.

3. Colorado Rockies Infielder Brendan Rodgers — The infielder has always been one of my favorites, but injuries and inconsistencies have prevented him from becoming a true fantasy star. It was a big week for Rodgers, as he collected 10 hits, four home runs, seven RBIs and 10 runs scored. The big week coincided with the Rockies playing at home, which is why we target Rockies hitters. Overall, Rodgers is batting .266 with six home runs and 26 RBIs. It would be nice if this jumpstarts the 25-year-old and allows him to become a more consistent fantasy threat.

Three Down:

1. Los Angeles Angels Outfielder Mike Trout — This may be the first time Trout has cracked the “Three Down” portion, which just shows how consistent he has been when he’s not injured. Trout’s last hit came on May 28, and his average has dipped from .320 to .274 in the last week due to this slump. There are going to be a ton of teams that will pay for this, as a hot streak is coming soon. We’re never worried about Trout, but it just shows that even the best players struggle at some point and it’s finally Trout’s turn.

2. Washington Nationals Outfielder Juan Soto — The positive for Soto is he hit three home runs this past week. The negative is he only collected four hits. Soto has 12 home runs and only 21 RBIs this season. It’s wild that one of the best players in baseball doesn’t even have 30 RBIs at this point. This just shows that baseball is a team game. One player can’t do everything and still has to rely on his teammates. I’m more disappointed about the .228 batting average, but Soto is probably trying to do too much and it’s causing him to struggle in that category.

3. Los Angeles Starting Pitcher Walker Buehler — Fantasy studs litter our “Three Down” this week as Buehler is the next one. The right-hander allowed nine earned runs in his two starts this week, causing his ERA to rise from 2.91 to 3.84. The bigger concern for me is that Buehler is only averaging 7.7 strikeouts per nine innings. The 27-year-old averaged 9.2 in 2021 so this is a huge difference. We need to monitor Buehler during his next few starts to see if he bounces back.

Phil Backert

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