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Fantasy Baseball Risers, Fallers: April 8, 2019

April 8, 2019
We have finished the first full week of the season and it's always a good feeling when our team starts off strong. It's always good to take a breath at the beginning of every week and just see what categories you are struggling in. We don't need to do anything drastic yet, but just make a note of the stats you need to improve on and track it for the next week.

Three Up:

1. Los Angeles Angels Outfielder Mike Trout -- Trout can probably crack this list every week, but I just wanted to spotlight the top fantasy player. Trout hit .438 with five home runs and nine RBIs during the past week and is batting .393 this season. We try to avoid risk early in drafts, and there is no safer player that also has the most upside in fantasy baseball than Trout. 

2. Cleveland Indians Starting Pitcher Mike Clevinger -- The right-hander had to leave his April 7 start due to upper back tightness, but it appears he won't miss his next start. The right-hander has started off the season strong, as he has yet to allow a run in 12 innings pitched while striking out 22. Even more impressive is he has only given up a combined two hits in those two starts. Clevinger was drafted as the 17th starting pitcher in March, but he could finish inside the top 10 by the end of season.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates Starting Pitcher Chris Archer -- Frequent readers know my frustration with Archer. The right-hander has a ton of talent, but has finished the last three seasons with an ERA above 4.00. He often makes the list for "Three Down," but I have to give him credit when he performs. The veteran has allowed just three earned runs in two starts while striking out 15. Fantasy owners finally got frustrated with Archer this past draft season, as he was being selected as the 32nd starting pitcher. If he performs to the level that I know he can, he will be one of the best draft-day values in 2019.

Three Down:

1. Chicago Cubs Shortstop Javier Baez -- The slick-fielding shortstop had a breakout season in 2018, as he hit 34 home runs with 111 RBIs. Even more impressive was his .290 batting average; the biggest knock on Baez is his high strikeout rate and low walk rate. It's difficult to hit for a high batting average with that aggressiveness at the plate. This past week, that aggressiveness was on full display as Baez struck out 12 times while walking just twice. This led to the shortstop hitting .160. It will be interesting to see if Baez can match last year's stats.

2. Chicago Cubs Third Baseman Kris Bryant -- It shouldn't come as a surprise that the Cubs have only two wins when two of their sluggers crack "Three Down." Bryant is off to a slow start, as he has only hit one home run and finished this past week with only one RBI. Bryant had a disappointing 2018 campaign, so he needs to rebound in a big way. 

3. Cincinnati Reds First Baseman Joey Votto -- Votto is another player that had a down season in 2018 and is looking to bounce back. However, the veteran is off to a slow start -- he is only hitting .226 with one home run and one RBI. Votto's strength is getting on base which is why he has always been a top performer in on base formats, but that hasn't happened through the first week either as he only has a .314 on base percentage. The first baseman has finished with more than 100 walks six times in his career, but he only has four right now.