All-Star Break Edition: How to keep afloat before the stretch run in your fantasy baseball league?
When trying to make that key move half way through the season to win your fantasy baseball league you have to both study the waiver wire as well as examine the players you already have on your team.
With players like Zach Duke, Edison Volquez and Jonathan Herrera available on your waiver wire this time of year, it is a very good time to make those 2 for 1 or 3 for 2 type trades that eventually lead you to picking up a new valuable contributor to your squad.
For example, pitcher Zach Duke, who pitches for the Pittsburgh Pirates, is only owned in 3% of fantasy leagues. He begins the 2nd half of the season for the Pirates on Friday at home vs the struggling Houston Astros and their starter Brett Myers who has given up 17 earned runs in 25.2 innings pitched. Finding pitchers who have favorable matchups to start the second half of the season gives both your fantasy team as well as the actual pitcher momentum through their next few starts. After Zach Duke faces the Astros, the Pirates have matchups vs the Brewers, Nationals and Reds at home, followed by a road trip to the Astros. This next five series for the Pirates show many nights of encouraging matchups across the board, so I would consider Zach Duke for my pitching staff in more in-depth statistical leagues.
Another pitcher to look out for once the second half of the season starts is Edison Volquez, pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. He is recovering from right elbow surgery as well as just finishing his 50 game suspension for performance enhancing drugs, but I think Edison Volquez could be a key factor in the second half for the first place Cincinnati Reds. With series coming up against the Colorado Rockies, Washington Nationals, Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers, Volquez and the Reds should have a nice jump-start to their second half. I think Edison can help the Reds because he gives them that extra starter in a rotation in 1st place that is missing that essential ace. Now I am not saying Volquez will become the ace of the Reds staff, but what I am saying is that Volquez has something to prove, and I really like the situation he is about to be placed into to start this second half of the season.
While Troy Tulowitzki is still out with a broken wrist [looking like 3-5 more weeks], I would advise a pick up of Jonathan Herrera, who is currently starting and playing the middle infield for the Colorado Rockies. With at least one hit in 21 of his last 22 games and a .799 OPS over that period, Herrera looks like a good fantasy filler option for the time being.
Right now if your fantasy roster is full of names like Jose Bautista, Carlos Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, Andy Pettitte or Heath Bell, my advice to you would be to sell high. These five guys have had really good 1st halves of the season, but I just do not buy it. Jose Batista right now is on a Toronto Blue Jays team that is tearing the cover off the ball with their endless home runs trots [136 to be exact, 18 more than the 2nd tier Boston Red Sox]. But with the surging Yankees, Rays and Red Sox right next to them in the division, I do not see Bautista holding on to his 45-50 home run pace nor Toronto finishing any higher than 4th in the division.
Andy Pettitte is simple, I love the New York Yankees offense, but they do not need him to win 20 games and pitch every 5th day; Andy Pettitte is in pinstripes to pitch and win in the playoffs, which does not help anyone in a fantasy baseball season. With an ERA of 2.70 and 11 wins already Pettitte is having a really stud-like year, but in my opinion when you look across the league you can see some serious trade potential for a high profile guy.
Do not get me wrong, Heath Bell is a great closer for the San Diego Padres, but you have to ask yourself one question here, will the Padres win the National League West? If the answer is no, you have to sell on Heath Bell because of the possible trade potential as well as the possible lack of saves when the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants or Colorado Rockies end up winning this division. Bell has an ERA under 2.00 and has saved 47% of his teams wins, but if the San Diego Padres, who are 25th in batting average, 22nd in runs scored and 25th in home runs, do not improve their hitting Bell’s save chances will decrease dramatically.