This blog is in conjunction with the “Fantasy Focus” segment on the Boise Hawks pre-game show
If you would have told me at the beginning of the season we would have already had two no-hitters, two-perfect games, and three guys competing for the Triple Crown in the AL, I would have bet you “a brand new Memorial Stadium” that you were wrong.
Thank God I don’t gamble that often.
It’s been one of the crazier season that I can remember in baseball. Which means our fantasy baseball season has been “Tom Cruise” (before and after “Oprah”). It’s safe to say if you have guys like 1B Miguel Cabrera, OF Josh Hamilton, and RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, ride them until their legs fall off. But if you are looking for guys who could potentially be great “buys” in the second half, here are some names to consider.
Buster Posey, Catcher, San Francisco Giants
38 G, 137 AB, .350 BA, 7 HR, 25 RBI, 8 BB, 22 R, 48 H, 16 SO
As if the power, the batting average, and the fact he’s a good player at a thin position is not enough to lure you to pick him up, consider this. He’s all alone on the depth chart. With the trading of long-time catcher Bengie Molina, Posey is now “the guy” and should see an increase in those impressive numbers. If he can get more disciplined at the plate, he could become a “Top 5” catcher on draft day in 2011.
James Loney, First Base, Los Angeles Dodgers
88 G, 337 AB, .308 BA, 6 HR, 63 RBI, 28 BB, 47 R, 104 H, 50 SO
It seems like every year we keep saying “this will be the year that Loney breaks out”. And every year since his rookie year in 2007, we are all sadly disappointed. But Loney went on major hot streak before the All-Star Break (unlike years past) and could finally be ready to restore our faith in him. He has never hit above .300 before the break (outside of 2007) until this season and he is batting a ridiculous .447 in July.
Sean Rodriguez, Second Base, Tampa Bay Rays
70 G, 219 AB, .264 BA, 6 HR, 30 RBI, 6 BB, 34 R, 58 H, 64 SO
Consistency is the name of the game and for Rodriguez, he’s still looking for it. But the thing I like is he will consistently get the duties at second base in the second half and he went into the break batting .309 since June 29th. Rodriguez is a guy worth snagging in head-to-head leagues.
Stephen Drew, Short Stop, Arizona Diamondbacks
81 G, 298 AB, .275 BA, 4 HR, 29 RBI, 6 SB, 31 BB, 43 R, 82 H, 56 SO
Drew is batting .346 in July and has been one of the more consistent producers in fantasy baseball this season (ranked 11th). Drew has always been a better second half hitter and if you are in dire straights and need a solid short stop, he is one worth trading for.
Ian Stewart, Third Base, Colorado Rockies
81 G, 256 AB, .257 BA, 11 HR, 44 RBI, 5 SB, 34 BB, 40 R, 66 H, 76 SO
The weird thing with Stewart is that if you take away June, he’s been a really good fantasy player. But after hitting a dismal .167 in June, Stewart has seen his value drop. With the arrival of SS Troy Tulowitzki (who is due back soon), Stewart could get his production up and becoming a must-start fantasy option.
Drew Stubbs, Outfield, Cincinnati Reds
85 G, 293 AB, .235 BA, 11 HR, 43 RBI, 17 SB, 31 BB, 47 R, 69 H, 90 SO
If it weren’t for the batting average, there would be more people out there talking about him as a Rookie of the Year candidate. Stubbs has been inconsistent (much like Stewart) but nonetheless, he is still on pace to be a 20-20 guy. If he can learn better plate discipline in the second half, scoop him up and get him active.
Tyler Colvin, Outfield, Chicago Cubs
80 G, 179 AB, .262 BA, 12 HR, 32 RBI, 2 SB, 14 BB, 29 R, 47 H, 53 SO
I know this seems like a homer pick, but you and I know at some point the Cubs will trade somebody. And when they do, Colvin will see those every-day at bats in outfield and his value should increase tremendously. He’s already having a solid year in terms of production. Giving him the starting job should make those numbers soar (just don’t tell this to Lou Pinella).
Jair Jurrjens, Pitcher, Atlanta Braves
1-3, 5.40 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 35 IP, 25 K, 16 BB
The hamstring injury he suffered early in the season had a huge affect on him. He’s always been a guy who struggles with walking batters, but he averages an ERA around 3.23 and he is good for at least 10 wins and 101 K. The Braves are in contention, which means Jurrjens will get plenty of starts from here on out.
Tommy Hunter, Pitcher, Texas Rangers
5-0, 2.33 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 42.3 IP, 27 K, 10 BB, 1 CG
Hunter, like Posey, really didn’t acquire the starting spot until later in the early part of the season. That being said, he has been lights out this far. He will lose a couple of games here and there, but he has a great offense backing him up and should be added in head-to-head leagues.
Brian Matusz, Pitcher, Baltimore Orioles
3-9, 4.77 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 103.7 IP, 80 K, 38 BB
This is a guy that had a lot hype going into the season and given his W-L, ERA, and WHIP, he really hasn’t lived up to it. But then again, he does play for the Orioles. Matusz seems like he is getting back on the winning track and the K/IP totals are pretty darn impressive. If he heats up, add him!
If the first half of the season is any indication, the second half is going to be one of the more exciting ones we have seen in a long time. Good luck to you and your fantasy squad and for more info, tune in every Monday night on 1350 KTIK “The Ticket” for more fantasy advice from myself and Mike Safford.
Till next time..
To be good at fantasy baseball, you almost have to have a degree in mathematics. With saber metrics, WAR ratings, and other somewhat useless statistics, it’s easy to get confused when all you want to do is set a lineup.
I’m not claiming to be the world’s expert on fantasy baseball. If I was, I’d be in a cubicle at ESPN trying to convince people that WAR ratings and saber metrics are worth a thought. I’m here to give some helpful hints on how to improve your team and give you a rundown of the top performers this season. And if by some miracle these guys are available in your league, PICK THEM UP!
The biggest thing you have to realize with fantasy baseball is that it is a marathon, not a sprint. The classic mistake that most people make in fantasy baseball is that they sell guys too soon, only to have someone else profit. My example of this would be Carlos Delgado in 2008. Delgado started off the year rough, only hitting around .235 with 5 home runs. I took him on a flier around June after he was released by a guy in my league; needless to say, my patience was rewarded. He proceeded to crank out 12 homers between June and July and his average rose to .260 in that span. He ended the season with a .271 BA, 38 HR, 115 RBI, and 96 R and finished 9th in NL MVP voting.
Now granted there are situations when you get rid of a guy and come out on top, but the point is that when you have guys like Delgado, OF Matt Kemp, SS Stephen Drew, and RHP Derek Lowe you need to keep them around because they are going to go through cold spells, but they will be consistent over the long-haul.
With that being said, this year has been an exciting one to say the least. There are three guys in the AL that are all getting serious consideration for the Triple Crown. You have two pitchers in the NL that are above 11 wins, and another who could pick up his 11th win this week. And you have several rookies who are playing like seasoned veterans, which should make for an exciting “Rookie of the Year” race.
It has been a crazy first-half of the season, but here are several guys who stand out as being Fantasy Baseball MVP’s (up to this point).
Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers
78 G, 295 AB, .339 BA, 61 R, 100 H, 26 2B, 20 HR, 71 RBI, 40 BB, 2 SB, 23.6 Fantasy Points Per Week
He has been the mark of consistency this season. They are plenty of first basemen that draw excitement (Ryan Howard, Mark Texeira), but none are as consistent as Cabrera. If I had to vote for a first-half MVP, Cabrera would be my pick.
Justin Morneau, 1B, Minnesota Twins
79 G, 288 AB, .344 BA, 51 R, 99 H, 25 2B, 1 3B, 17 HR, 55 RBI, 49 BB, 21.4 Fantasy Points Per Week
He’s another guy who doesn’t grab a ton of headlines, but he’s about as good as they come. On a team that features the reigning AL MVP Joe Mauer, Morneau has by far been the better player this season.
Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Yankees
82 G, 322 AB, .342 BA, 59 R, 110 H, 22 2B, 1 3B, 16 HR, 55 RBI, 25 BB, 2 SB, 21.8 Fantasy Points Per Week
On a team that is as star-stud as the Yankees, Cano has been the best thus far. He has been the most consistent player in the lineup and is having an MVP caliber season. And, he leads second basemen in BA, HR, and RBI.
David Wright, 3B, New York Mets
82 G, 309 AB, .317 BA, 51 R, 98 H, 25 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, 64 RBI, 42 BB, 15 SB, 21.4 Fantasy Points Per Week
It’s funny how you have one bad year and everybody forgets who you are. Wright has “resurrected” himself as one of the top options this season and even though his strikeout totals are high, he produces across the board.
Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
81 G, 318 AB, .296 BA, 49 R, 94 H, 25 2B, 3 3B, 12 HR, 60 RBI, 37 BB, 12 SB, 20.9 Fantasy Points Per Week
He’s has been another guy who doesn’t always grab a ton of headlines, but he will do just about everything for you. He not only has a great bat, but he can run and play defense. He should become a household name by the end of this season.
Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas Rangers
79 G, 318 AB, .340 BA, 55 R, 108 H, 23 2B, 2 3B, 20 HR, 61 RBI, 23 BB, 6 SB, 22.1 Fantasy Points Per Week
Hamilton is another guy who had an injury plagued season and people began to forget about him. He’s another guy who is a candidate for the Triple Crown and continues to be one of the best fantasy options in the outfield.
Carl Crawford, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
79 G, 306 AB, .320 BA, 63 R, 98 H, 20 2B, 6 3B, 7 HR, 42 RBI, 29 BB, 29 SB, 22.1 Fantasy Points Per Week
Crawford has had a monster season thus far with the Rays. In “roto-style” leagues, he has been one of the top performers as he is a great source for BA, SB, and R. If it weren’t for him being on the same team as Longoria, you could argue he should be an MVP candidate.
Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Colorado Rockies
14-1, 2.27 ERA, 119.0 IP, 107 SO, 44 BB, 1.08 WHIP, 27.1 Fantasy Points Per Week
For the first time in a long time, someone other than Tim Lincecum is the top pitcher in the NL. Jimenez has had a stellar season and continues to be the best, week in and week out. It’s too early to call, but I think he’s a lock for NL Cy Young.
Adam Wainwright, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
12-5, 2.24 ERA, 128.3 IP, 123 SO, 32 BB, 0.997 WHIP, 27.6 Fantasy Points Per Week
This is another guy that consistently gets overlooked, even though he is one of the highest scoring pitchers this season. Wainwright has a great offense backing him up, but his low ERA and WHIP totals show he has great tools. He’s another NL Cy Young candidate.
Josh Johnson, SP, Florida Marlins
8-3, 1.82 ERA, 114.0 IP, 115 SO, 27 BB, 0.96 WHIP, 24.8 Fantasy Points Per Week
He busted onto the scene last season and has continued to be one of the true aces in fantasy baseball. He is currently on pace for 235 SO and a sub 1.00 WHIP, which is just insane. Johnson could be a serious candidate for NL Cy Young if Jimenez or Wainwright slip up.
Roy Halladay, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
10-7, 2.33 ERA, 139.0 IP, 119 SO, 18 BB, 1.08 WHIP, 25.8 Fantasy Points Per Week
In a league that is loaded with pitching talent, Halladay has proven to be one of the best. His strikeouts compared to walks is insane and already has 7 CG this season. The Phillies have been under-performing as a team, but Halladay continues to play at a high level.
If you want to keep up with all things fantasy, tune
in every Monday night for our Fantasy Baseball segment on 1350 KTIK “The Ticket”. Good luck and keep an eye out for that “Carlos Delgado”.
Till next time..
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