We have mentioned it throughout the first two months of the season, but the baseball is flying out of the ballpark at a record pace. Major League Baseball players set a record for the most home runs ever in a month in May when 1,135 baseballs landed beyond the fence.
If you are behind by a lot in the home run category, it'll be difficult to catch up even though there are four months left in the season. Fantasy owners will need to really target the home run category to make a dent in the standings because the weather is only going to get hotter and more baseballs will be flying out of the ballpark.
1. Tampa Bay Rays Outfielder Austin Meadows
-- Our March
predictions on undervalued candidates
look good through the first two months with Meadows being the headliner. The outfielder is having a monster season, as he is leading the American League in batting average at .357 to go along with 12 home runs, 37 RBIs, 27 runs scored and seven stolen bases. I wrote in March that it wouldn't be unrealistic to expect 15 home runs from Meadows. Not only should he pass that with ease, but fantasy owners can be greedy and start expecting 25 to 30.
2. Colorado Rockies Shortstop Trevor Story -- I wrote in May that the Rockies were about to play a lot of home games throughout the month and to expect your struggling players on Colorado to have a big month. That is exactly what happened, and Story finished off May with a monster week. The shortstop collected 12 hits with two home runs, seven RBIs and even two stolen bases. Story finished the month of May hitting .309 with eight home runs. Teammates Nolan Arenado and David Dahl also had huge performances in May. This is why we invest in the Rockies' offense, and it paid off big time this past month.
3. Washington Nationals Starting Pitcher Max Scherzer -- The right-hander is on another planet and continues to dominate for fantasy owners. His 3.06 ERA is higher than we would probably want, but that is more due to the extreme set of expectations fantasy owners have. However, this past week the veteran was locked in as he pitched 14 innings, allowed only two earned runs and struck out 21. If Scherzer takes his game to the level that we have all become accustomed to, fantasy owners are in for a treat for the next four months.
1. Chicago Cubs Shortstop Javier Baez -- The slick-fielding shortstop finished the month of May batting .305 but struggled down the stretch. During the last week, Baez collected just two hits while striking out 10 times and was shut out in the home run, RBI and runs scored categories. That is a brutal week and he was basically useless. Obviously, this happens from time to time throughout a long season, but it's still frustrating. Look for Baez to bounce back in a big way.
2. Atlanta Braves Starting Pitcher Kevin Gausman -- It was only one start this week but it was as ugly as it gets for the right-hander, as he allowed eight earned runs in one inning of work. Gausman is now pitching to a 5.56 ERA and needs to turn his season around quick. The Braves are battling with the Phillies for first place in the National League East and they can't afford to have any dead weight on their pitching staff. Gausman could be looking at a move out of the rotation if he puts up another poor performance or two.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates Outfielder Gregory Polanco -- The outfielder missed the start of the season due to a shoulder injury, but returned well out of the gate as he hit four home runs in early May. However, the back half of the month has been a struggle and throughout the last week, Polanco has struck out 13 times and collected just four hits. For the season, the outfielder is batting .244 with five home runs and 15 RBIs. This is a tough case as Polanco has proven to be a good player, but we are now in June and if this continues for another week or two, it may be time to cut bait.
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