Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Dustin May

Orlando Ramirez - USA TODAY Sports

With the MLB season being shortened considerably due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the race for Rookie of the Year will be even hotter this season.

Heading into the season there was a lot of hype surrounding guys like Nate Pearson, Dylan Carlson, and Jo Adell, but so far those three have been quiet in the first month of the season. Instead, there have been a number of other rookies who have started the season strong separating themselves from the rest of the rookie class. If you are in a fantasy baseball keeper league, these players are definitely worth picking up if they are still sitting on the waiver wire.


Jake Croneworth - Shortstop - San Diego Padres

San Diego Padres shortstop Jake CroneworthGregory Bull - Associated Press

The University of Michigan product starred as a closer during his time with the Wolverines, but has been making noise at shortstop for the Padres. Originally drafted in the seventh round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, Croneworth was acquired by San Diego in the offseason as part of the trade that sent Hunter Renfroe to Tampa Bay.

Croneworth is hitting .325 this year in 37 games with 4 homers and 19 RBIs. One of those homers was a grand slam on August 22, which was the fifth grand slam the Padres hit in a six game span, marking the first time in MLB history that a team had accomplished that feat. With Croneworth as part of a talented young core, San Diego is surprising many with their performance so far this season.

Randy Dobnak - Pitcher - Minnesota Twins

Minnesota Twins pitcher Randy DobnakJeff Wheeler - Star Tribune

Calling Randy Dobnak's journey to the show interesting might be an understatement. Dobnak was undrafted out of Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia. The Minnesota Twins signed Dobnak to a minor league contract without seeing Dobnak pitch in person, instead relying on YouTube videos of his starts to make the decision to bring the pitcher in.

After signing with the Twins in 2017, Dobnak made his MLB debut two years later, appearing in nine games for the Twins last year, with five of those appearances being starts. Dobnak finished the regular season with a 2-1 record and 23 strikeouts in 28.1 innings of work.

The right-handed pitcher has been even better this year, posting a 6-2 record in six starts with a 2.72 ERA. Dobnak's pitching has been just as good as his Uber rating, where he has amassed a rating of 4.99 stars since beginning driving for the company in 2017.

Dustin May - Pitcher - Los Angeles Dodgers

One of the most highly-touted rookies in the minor league system of the Dodgers prior to this season was Dustin May, but it's unlikely May will be heading back down to the minors anytime soon. The Dodgers drafted the tall Texan in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Last year, not only was May a Texas League All-Star, but he was also selected for the Futures Game before being called up to the big leagues in early August.

After a solid 2019 that saw him toss 34 innings, May became the youngest Los Angeles pitcher to start on opening day since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981. So far in seven starts this year May is 1-1 with a 2.88 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 40.2 innings for a Dodger team that currently has the best record in baseball.

Kyle Lewis - Right Field - Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners right fielder Kyle LewisGene J. Puskar - Associated Press

There hasn't been much to cheer about in Seattle lately, but Kyle Lewis is changing that. The Mercer grad was the 2016 Golden Spikes winner in his final season in college, hitting .395 with 20 home runs and 72 RBIs. The Mariners took Lewis with pick 11 in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft.

Lewis made a big splash last season in limited action, becoming just the second player in MLB history to homer in each of his first three games. The right fielder finished the 2019 season with six homers in 71 at-bats.

Lewis has been even better in 2020, with the 25-year-old hitting .310 with nine blasts and 23 RBIs in 40 games. Seattle hasn't made the playoffs since 2001 but Lewis has them in the hunt to end their playoff drought. If the Mariners are going to return to the postseason for the first time in nearly two decades, Lewis is going to be a big reason why.

Luis Robert - Center Field - Chicago White Sox

Chicago White Sox center fielder Luis RobertCharlie Reidel - Associated Press

Born in Cuba, Luis Robert's journey to the majors has taken a different path than most. Robert defected in November 2016, which allowed him to sign a contract with the Chicago White Sox in 2017. The Cuban was electric last year in three levels of minor league baseball, hitting 32 home runs, driving in 92 runs, and swiping 36 bases overall.

Robert has been so good, the White Sox signed him to a six-year, $50 million extension in January, even though he still hadn't appeared in a MLB game. So far Robert hasn't taken long to adjust to life in the big leagues, hitting .266 and cranking 11 homers and driving in 27 runs in 39 games for Chicago. With Robert, and a number of other talented young hitters, the White Sox are going to cause a lot of problems going forward in the AL Central.

DMX on the Madison Square Garden marquee

Madison Square Garden

For many managers, their playoff prospects are dark and hot as hell heading into the final week of the fantasy basketball regular season.

But before you can compete to be grand champ, you need to stop, drop, shut your duds down and open up the waiver wire for your last gasp this regular season. Here are some names you should be looking for to give you that push you need.

Rest in peace, DMX.

Booms

Kyle Anderson Forward Memphis Grizzlies

The former UCLA star might have taken the tale of the tortoise and the hare a little too seriously, but the "slow and steady" mantra has given him a successful NBA career and impressive fantasy numbers. For the past week, Slow Mo has averaged 16.3 points on 48.9 percent shooting, seven rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.3 made threes, two steals and one turnover a game.

Anderson has been a consistent contributor throughout the season and it's tough to see his numbers take a hit even when Jaren Jackson Jr. returns at the end of the month. If you haven't rostered him yet, it would be a huge mistake.

Jalen McDaniels Forward/Center Charlotte Hornets

Staying on the court has been a problem for McDaniels this season, but the absence of Gordon Hayward has forced the Hornets to look for other options on the court and the second-year player has been one of the beneficiaries. In the last three games, the San Diego State product averaged 16.3 points on 62.5 percent shooting, two made threes, five rebounds and 3.3 assists. He even threw in 1.3 steals and one block per game.

Hayward is expected to be out for at least three more weeks. Until he's back, expect McDaniels to continue his more proactive approach on this team.

Miles Bridges Forward Charlotte Hornets

McDaniels isn't the only one who has taken advantage of Hayward's injury. Bridges has cranked his game up a notch, averaging 21.7 points on 60.5 percent shooting, three made threes, six rebounds and one steal in the last three games. He may have even had the dunk of the year, posterizing Clint Capela on Sunday.

Until Hayward is back, Bridges will get a lot more freedom to operate and that means more fantasy contribution in the coming weeks.

Reggie Jackson Guard Los Angeles Clippers

Depth has not been a problem for the Clippers the last few seasons, but it has been trouble for fantasy managers looking for consistent contributors on that team. Rest and injuries haven't slowed the Clippers' winning ways this week because Reggie Jackson stepped up for them and gives fantasy participants a short-term high performer to lean on for the week.

In a week where Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo and Paul George missed time, Jackson thrived, averaging 17.3 points on 61 percent shooting, three made threes, 4.8 assists, and 1.3 turnovers in four games.

With Beverley out with a fractured hand and Rondo/George/Kawhi undoubtedly taking games off to save themselves for the playoffs, Jackson may not be a bad desperation option in standard fantasy and worth tracking in daily fantasy formats.

Busts

Tim Hardwaway Jr Guard/Forward Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks' recent success has not translated into numbers for all players. Tim Hardaway Jr. is one of them.

The Michigan product averaged 12 points on 37.5 percent shooting, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in four games last week. He did make two three-pointers per game in that span, but that is like threading a silver lining on a used rag.

Hardaway is still the third scoring option on the team, so he will get more chances to increase his production, but this week was a tough pill to swallow for a lot of fantasy managers.

Derrick Rose Guard New York Knicks

Rose has found a home with the New York Knicks, but his role has not been kind to fantasy managers. We all know the former MVP can still score, but head coach Tom Thibodeau hasn't asked him to do much else.

In the last four games, Rose has averaged 14.3 points on 43.1 percent shooting, 0.8 made threes, 1.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists. That kind of one-dimensional play is a killer of many fantasy teams looking for a more diverse portfolio of contributions.

If you need a boost in scoring, Rose isn't a terrible option to consider, but if you need anything else, you should leave him on the waiver.

Lou Williams Guard Atlanta Hawks

Like Rose, Williams isn't asked to do anything other than score at this point in his career. But even in the past week, he can't even do that at an elite fantasy level. Only averaging 11.8 points per game, 1.8 made threes, 2.8 assists and basically non-existent in every other category in fantasy sports.

It's safe to say that Lemon Pepper Lou's effectiveness as a fantasy star is gone.

Jusuf Nurkic Center Portland Trail Blazers

Okay, I know Trail Blazers have been trying to ease Nurkic back into the lineup and giving him restricted minutes. However, with the fantasy managers looking for that final push to the postseason, there might have to be an executive decision on whether Nurkic needs to be played or pitched.

Teams firmly in playoff position can hold out for him to be used properly again, but other managers won't be able to stomach another week of missed games and low-end production.

Bogdan Bogdanovic

USA Today

For college basketball, the madness is over. For the NBA fantasy managers, the madness is just beginning.

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Shane Bieber faced off against the Dodgers in Spring Training. He bested Trevor Bauer, allowing only two runs, and striking out nine

Getty Images

Welcome to the Mock Draft lab.

This is where we are running experiments, crunching the numbers, and proving hypotheses, so you can reap the rewards of our hard work. The rules for this exercise were simple: Take the best pitcher in each round without reaching more than 10 spots away in either direction. (This kept us honest and realistic as to who would be available and prevented any major overpays for talent.)

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