Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer, two runs and a walk Wednesday against the Cubs. Bellinger has quickly erased any lingering memories of his sophomore slump from last year by being the hottest hitter in baseball through the season's first month, leading the sport with a .424 average and a 1.391 OPS to go along with 13 homers and 30 RBI. This is the Bellinger everyone expected after his record-setting rookie season in 2017, and he appears to have arrived at age 23. A big key for him has been an improved batting eye, as he currently has more walks (14) than strikeouts (13) after having more than twice as many whiffs as walks in both 2017 and 2018. If he keeps his newfound patience up, Bellinger could be headed for an MVP campaign.
Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins went 2-for-4 with a triple, a homer, two runs, two RBI and a walk Wednesday against the Mets. Hoskins legged out his first career triple before smashing a two-run homer in the ninth to put an exclamation mark on Philadelphia's 6-0 victory. The dinger was his seventh of the year and gives him 20 RBI through 23 games. While he already has 28 strikeouts in 88 at-bats, he's continued to show a great eye at the plate with 17 walks, making him even more of an asset in leagues that utilize OBP or count walks.
Padres rookie Chris Paddack notched his first career victory Wednesday after one-hitting the Mariners over seven scoreless innings. Paddack retired 19 batters in a row at one point and finished with nine strikeouts against only one walk. The 23-year-old was excellent during spring training (1.76 ERA) and has been excellent during the regular season as well, posting a 1.67 ERA over his first five starts with a 30:8 K/BB ratio in 27 innings. The young righty has quickly emerged as a must-own in all fantasy formats and will look to keep up the terrific start to his career when he faces the Braves in Atlanta on Tuesday.
Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies went 1-for-3 with a solo homer, two walks and two runs Wednesday against the Reds. Albies set the tone by belting the game's first pitch into the seats for his third home run of the year, sparking Atlanta to a 3-1 victory. Now in his third season, the 22-year-old could be poised to take another step forward based on early progress with his plate discipline, as he has a 9:19 BB/K ratio through 108 plate appearances after posting a 36:116 BB/K ratio last year. If he's able to reach base more consistently, that will translate into more runs scored for the Braves' leadoff man.
Diamondbacks outfielder Ketel Marte went 2-for-5 with two homers and four RBI against the Pirates on Wednesday. Marte paced Arizona's 11-2 rout at PNC Park with a solo shot in the fifth and a three-run shot in the eighth, giving him six homers and 20 RBI on the year. Marte's 14 homers and 59 RBI last season were both career highs, so it's hard to see him maintaining this pace for much longer, especially from the leadoff spot. He's only 25 so he could still be improving, but fantasy owners may want to sell high on him while they still can.
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