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Fantasy 30: Desmond, Ozuna, Duffy and more

How will the Colorado Rockies use Ian Desmond when he returns from his broken hand? Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The activity around the majors never slows down, and the challenge for you and all fantasy players is trying to keep up with it all, from the hottest hitters to the newest injuries.

For that and more news around the league, here is a rundown of the latest notes and tidbits surrounding each of the 30 teams:

Arizona Diamondbacks -- While it still may be early, the Diamondbacks have to be pleased by the improvement out of their starting rotation following a disappointing 2016 season. Arizona's starting pitchers entered Wednesday with a National League-best 3.28 ERA, with Shelby Miller showing vast improvement over his nightmarish first season in Arizona and Taijuan Walker adding depth to a unit that already has Zack Greinke and talented lefties Robbie Ray and Patrick Corbin.

Atlanta Braves -- Freddie Freeman enters Thursday with a league-leading .440 batting average, and as impressive as he's been in his few plate appearances against leftys (5-for-10, two HRs), he's been equally impressive against righties (17-for-40, 4 HRs, 1 3B, 4 2Bs, 9 BBs). This is nothing new if you've been paying attention, though; Freeman batted .303 with 27 home runs and a 1.001 OPS vs. RHPs last season.

Baltimore Orioles -- Lost in all the hoopla surrounding Trey Mancini's smoking-hot bat is the fact that two of the hitters in the heart of Baltimore's lineup, Manny Machado and Chris Davis, are mired in an ugly slump. Machado is 3-for-22 with 1 home run and 7 strikeouts in his last six games, while Davis is 4-for-23 with 1 home run and 11 strikeouts in the same span.

Boston Red Sox -- Defense is a big concern right now for third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who made his third error of the season Wednesday on a routine throw to first base, and it could cost him playing time. Sandoval lost his job at the hot corner last season largely due to his defensive shortcomings, but this season, the Red Sox don't have Travis Shaw (or Yoan Moncada) to turn to as a potential replacement. Josh Rutledge is due to come off the disabled list shortly, and once that happens, the right-handed hitter could start to steal some of Sandoval's plate appearances against lefties.

Chicago Cubs -- This will come as a surprise to anyone who isn't closely following the defending World Series champion Cubs: They aren't hitting right-handed pitching very well so far in 2017. In fact, the Cubs are batting just .244 with a .685 OPS vs. RHPs. Those numbers rank 17th and 22nd, respectively. Don't expect this trend to continue over the course of the season, but there's no denying the early struggles Chicago is having against righties.

Chicago White Sox -- Avisail Garcia is batting .440 with two home runs in his last seven games, and he's the only American League regular to enter Thursday with a batting average north of .400. The 25-year-old right fielder has spent the majority of the time batting fifth and sixth in the White Sox's order after batting mostly seventh and eighth last season, and though the sample size is small, the early returns of a higher spot in the order are good.

Cincinnati Reds -- Jose Peraza isn't playing like the player who many expected to be a fantasy star this season. The Reds' two-hitter is batting only .228 with a .548 OPS, and while he has struck out only twice, he also has drawn only one walk, and that .267 OBP isn't going to work for much longer near the top of the order. The 22-year-old shortstop batted .324 with a .352 OBP in 241 at-bats last season, but even then, he walked only seven times.

Cleveland Indians -- Edwin Encarnacion is showing signs of busting out of his early-season batting slump, with hits in each of the last five games and his second home run of the season Tuesday. The big problem with the 34-year-old cleanup hitter is making contact. The 1B/DH is tied for eighth in all of baseball with 21 strikeouts and has whiffed in all 14 games he's played in this season.

Colorado Rockies -- Ian Desmond is reportedly nearing a return to the field in his recovery from a broken hand, and the big question is how the Rockies will use him. When he signed over the winter, the thinking was that he'd be the team's primary first baseman, but that was before Mark Reynolds showed that he is a capable first baseman who can still pound the baseball. Desmond could see time at shortstop and the outfield, and if he gets enough time and gains position eligibility in those spots, he will become a more versatile fantasy option in 2017. Keep an eye on this development.

Detroit Tigers -- Justin Upton was out of the lineup Thursday, missing a second consecutive game after suffering a bruised right forearm in a collision with Tampa Bay's Tim Beckham on Tuesday. Andrew Romine has filled in for him in left field, and the Tigers have used Victor Martinez and Nicholas Castellanos as the cleanup hitter in Upton's absence.

Houston Astros -- The Astros may have found something with Josh Reddick batting second, right between George Springer and Jose Altuve. The 30-year-old outfielder belted his first homer of the season Wednesday while hitting out of the two-hole and is 8-of-19 with four extra-base hits in that spot of the order. Conversely, the right-handed hitting Alex Bregman is off to a cold start batting second (8-of-36, eight strikeouts), but he's still the favorite to remain No. 2 in the order whenever a lefty is on the mound.

Kansas City Royals -- The Royals' starting rotation is on a roll, which is the big reason why the team is 7-7 despite their extreme offensive woes. How good have the Kansas City starters been? Consider this: Their 2.07 ERA is more than a run better than the next best starting staff in baseball (New York Mets, 3.08 ERA). Following Jason Vargas' seven scoreless innings against San Francisco on Wednesday, Royals starters enter Thursday with six consecutive quality starts.

Los Angeles Angels -- Mike Trout is doing Mike Trout things, batting .409 (9-of-22) with five walks and three steals in his last seven games, but he isn't getting a lot of help from his teammates. Aside from Danny Espinosa, every other Angels regular is hitting below .200 in the last seven games. Nobody is slumping worse than Kole Calhoun, who is 1-of-20 with nine strikeouts in his last six games.

Los Angeles Dodgers -- The Dodgers are hitting right-handers better this season than they did in 2016, and one of the big reasons why is the improvement of Yasiel Puig. After batting .265 with five homers in 215 at-bats versus RHPs last season, Puig is batting .433 (13-of-30) and already has four homers with 10 days left in April.

Miami Marlins -- Raise your hand if you predicted Marcell Ozuna to be leading the majors in runs batted in on April 20. OK, now put your hand down. The 26-year-old outfielder was one of the big success stories to come out of Barry Bonds' one season as the Marlins' hitting coach. He equaled a career high with 23 home runs last season and already has five long balls this season -- tied for third-most in the NL -- to go with his MLB-best 19 RBIs.

Milwaukee Brewers -- Travis Shaw's three homers in the last four games give him four on the season, and it's an encouraging sign that the Brewers' cleanup hitter is busting out of an early season slump. Another positive part of Shaw's offense is how even his numbers are against both righties (.253 BA, .755 OPS) and lefties (.249 BA, .761 OPS) over the last two seasons, which should prevent him from ever going into prolonged slumps or becoming a platoon-type option at one of the infield corners.

Minnesota Twins -- Any concern about Brian Dozier's slow start against left-handed pitching (1-for-14) can be chalked up to a small sample size. Last season, Dozier batted .282 with 11 home runs and a .965 OPS vs. LHP. Right now, Dozier is just having a bad month, and his .224 batting average is evidence that he isn't hitting righties or lefties very well.

New York Mets -- Lucas Duda is undergoing tests on a hyperextended elbow Thursday and is out of the lineup against the Phillies. In his place, Jay Bruce is getting a rare start at first base, since Wilmer Flores -- the usual backup -- is also out due to an infection. Don't expect Bruce to gain first base eligibility going forward.

New York Yankees -- Greg Bird has only five hits in the 11 games he's played in this season, but what tends to go overlooked is the fact that all the hits came in three games, including a 3-for-3 effort over the weekend against St. Louis that had Yankees fans hopeful that Bird was breaking out of his early-season slump. Not so fast. The young first baseman is 0-for-24 in those eight games without a hit.

Oakland Athletics -- Has there ever been a 40-home run hitter to receive less acclaim than Khris Davis? The Oakland slugger powered his way to 42 homers and knocked in 102 runs last season, so it shouldn't be too surprising to see him tied with Houston's Springer for the American League lead in homers (seven). The surprising part is that five of those long balls have come in the spacious confines of Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Philadelphia Phillies -- After batting .280 with 14 home runs, 22 doubles and an .840 OPS in 80 games as a rookie in 2015, Maikel Franco's numbers took a dip in his second full season. While the future remains bright for the 24-year-old slugger, the start of this season is going so poorly that Franco could turn up on the waiver wire in some fantasy leagues before long. Franco is hitless (0-of-21) in his last five games and is slashing just .148/.217/.278 in his first 14 games of 2017.

Pittsburgh Pirates -- Any talks of the Pirates turning to top prospect Austin Meadows to help replace the suspended Starling Marte are probably premature. The 21-year-old Meadows is scuffling badly in his second stint in Triple-A, batting .156 (7-of-45) with 13 strikeouts, 4 walks and 1 stolen base.

St. Louis Cardinals -- Trevor Rosenthal came on and recorded his first save in relief on Wednesday, throwing five pitches over 100 mph in the process. Though Rosenthal is still the setup man for Seung-Hwan Oh in St. Louis, this type of performance should serve as a reminder that Rosenthal can still bring the gas and is one of the better "closers in waiting" should Oh go down with an injury or start to struggle.

San Diego Padres -- After a solid start to the season, Yangervis Solarte's bat has gone in the cooler. The Padres' second baseman is just 2-of-21 in his last six games, dropping his batting average to .224. One of the biggest issues this month is the switch-hitter's inability to hit right-handers. He is batting only .209 (9-of-43) vs. RHPs after batting .291 with a solid .818 OPS against them last season.

San Francisco Giants -- It's rapidly becoming apparent around San Francisco that offense is looking like a big problem for this year's Giants, which have very little pop in the lineup outside of Brandon Belt. It's easy to forget that even Buster Posey and Hunter Pence haven't reached the 20-homer plateau since 2014. Given the lack of offense, which is the prime reason for Madison Bumgarner's surprising 0-3 start, don't be surprised if the Giants move quickly to bring up top position-player prospect Christian Arroyo, who is batting .479 (23-of-48) with 3 home runs and 4 doubles at Triple-A Sacramento. If nothing else, this is worth keeping an eye on. Another option to ignite the offense could be moving Eduardo Nunez to left field and using Conor Gillaspie at third base.

Seattle Mariners -- The Mariners are getting closer to bolstering their bullpen with another proven arm, as Steve Cishek moves from Double-A to Triple-A in his rehab from offseason hip surgery. Cichek is expected to make a few more appearances in the minors before being recalled, and at that point, Seattle will have to decide on a bullpen arm to send down. Two potential candidates are right-handed relievers Evan Marshall and Dan Altavilla.

Tampa Bay Rays -- Matt Duffy is making progress toward a return to the field in his recovery from offseason surgery to his left heel. On Tuesday, Duffy ran for the first time and took approximately 30 ground balls. "I'd say of everything I did today, running forward felt the best," Duffy told MLB.com. "So that was definitely encouraging. Duffy has to prove he can handle the force and impact of jumping before ramping up his workouts for a return to the field.

Texas Rangers -- Adrian Beltre continues to rehab his problematic right calf muscle -- and it helps to be back home where he can start a more intense training regimen -- but the Rangers continue to be conservative with their star third baseman. He is not expected to return before the end of April, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Barring any changes, slugger Joey Gallo will continue to handle third base duties until Beltre is healthy enough to return.

Toronto Blue Jays -- Raise your hand if you saw this coming: Through 14 games, the Blue Jays rank 29th in the majors in home runs with 10. Only Boston (seven) has fewer. Toronto ranked fourth in that department last season with 221 homers, finishing behind only Baltimore, St. Louis and Seattle. The loss of Encarnacion and the early-season injury to Josh Donaldson are two of the reasons to point to for the power outage in Toronto, but it's harder to explain Jose Bautista being homerless and Troy Tulowitzki having just one homer as we approach the last 10 days of April.

Washington Nationals -- Just over two weeks into the season, the Nationals are changing their closer. "We got to do something to shore up our closer situation," Dusty Baker said, following Blake Treinen's latest blowup, "because this ain't working." For the time being, Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover will get opportunities to close, and the Nationals will be looking for one of the two to emerge as the man. Control is the main issue right now with Treinen, who moves back into a setup role after allowing at least one walk in five straight appearances.