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Sunday, 12 July 2015 18:43

Fantasy Baseball Gurus: Midseason Add/Drop Advice - July 12, 2015

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The MLB All-Star break has arrived, which means it’s time to make some midseason adjustments to your fantasy team. The Fantasy Baseball Gurus of the CLNS Radio Red Sox Beat Team have you covered with add/drop advice for a second-half push toward your league playoffs. Our panel consists of Red Sox beat writers Jess Thomas, Adam Belue, Lauren Campbell, and Lars Gjesteby. Based on recent performances and season-long trends, each columnist has chosen two players to add to give your team a boost, as well as two players who are performing poorly and ought to be dropped. 

Please note that some analysis may have been done prior to games on Sunday July 12, 2015.

 

Adds:

1. Chen's record doesn't leap off the page at you (4-4) but he has been very consistent this season, especially lately. In his last four starts he has gone at least 6 innings (8 twice) and given up two earned runs in each of the four starts. Because of this, his season ERA is 2.82 for the Orioles. Chen hasn't received a bundle of run support, but he is a pitcher that people may forget about that should definitely be nabbed to start the second half of the season.

2. Rios has missed part of the season due to injury, but he has been hot to start July. Since July 1, he has five two-hit games and has scored seven runs in the month as well. He is only hitting .237 but that should keep rising as he continues to play more and hit more. Definitely add Rios if you need solid hitting and runs with the occasional RBI.

3. Jungmann is coming off an impressive complete game start on Saturday night against the Dodgers, and has been impressive in his first seven starts in the major leagues. He has given up more than two runs in only one start this year, and lowered his ERA to 2.15 in his complete game, which was his fourth victory in five decisions. His player rating on ESPN over the last 15 days is fourth among all pitchers, with three of the best starters in the league - Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw, and Johnny Cueto - ranking ahead of him. Jungmann's battery mate, Jonathan Lucroy, stated after that performance that he has the potential to be an ace, and he is currently only owned in less than 15% of ESPN leagues. It's time to pick up Jungmann for a second half push before someone else in your league beats you to him (I picked him up on Sunday myself!).

4. Johnson was the primary setup man in Atlanta, picking up five saves and 20 holds in the first half of the season. He is now in line to become the Braves closer with Jason Grilli out for the season after tearing his Achilles on Saturday night. Johnson's ERA has improved every month this season, starting out around 4.00 in April, then shrinking to 2.19 in May, 1.35 in June, and 0.00 in July. He isn't a big strikeout pitcher, but doesn't give up many walks either and hasn't allowed a home run in around three months. In leagues that have saves as a category, finding a full-time closer in July is almost impossible, so now is the time to jump on claiming Johnson to bolster your relief corps. 

5. Giavotella is a good pick up, especially when he bats lead off because he has hot bats behind him such as Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, giving him more of an opportunity to score from the lead off spot. He has a .265 average with 30 runs scored and 33 RBI.

6. He's part of one of the best rotations in baseball, however the offense does little to support him. But Niese has been consistent in his past few starts. Despite his May struggles, he capped off June on a positive note with an ERA of 3.00 and had a great first start in July, going eight innings, giving up three hits, two walks and gave up zero earned runs. There are talks of Niese being traded to the Cubs or Dodgers or the Mets trying to bring some big bats here - so if Niese can find a place where there are a lot of big bats or if the Mets can bring some heavy hitters by the trade deadline, Niese will have a better opportunity to be the pitcher he's shown he can be.

7. Over the past 30 days, Parra is hitting .364 with 5 homers, 12 RBI and an OPS of .982. His numbers over the last two weeks are even more impressive, hitting .404 with an OPS of 1.169. With the Brewers owning a 38-52 record at the break, Parra may be a trade candidate. Wherever he ends up, if he gets into the starting lineup, he has shown that he can produce at the plate. Parra is only owned in 61% of ESPN leagues.

8. Heaney made his major league debut on June 24th, and in all four of his starts he has gone at least 6.0 innings and allowed only four total earned runs. His WHIP is 0.84 and he’s averaging about 6 K’s per outing. It’s a small sample size, but the rookie already has three wins and has faced offenses such as the Yankees and the Astros. He will look to continue his impressive start in the second half, and is a starter worth having on your team going forward.

Drops:

1. Carter has been free falling lately, going 0 for his last 18 and dropping his batting average to a measly .187. He does have 15 HR and 41 RBI, but is it really worth it to have an average well under .200? There are much better options out there other than Carter and I believe that you and 44% of others should check them out.

2. Alvarez has had a decent season so far with 12 home runs and 41 RBI, but his average has slowly dropped to .237 for the season. He rarely plays against left-handers and rarely gets more than one hit per game. There are certainly better options in the infield than Alvarez, as he is kind of maddening (I would know, I had him) and doesn’t produce as much as he should.

3. Wieters is a big name, his numbers are decent, and he has the potential to produce in the second half of the season. Doesn't sound like a guy you'd want to drop during the All-Star break, right? Wieters' main problem is that he is not catching in back-to-back games this season, and his stats against right-handed pitchers (.217 with five hits and five strikeouts in 23 at-bats) don't justify the Orioles putting him in at DH every time he's not behind the plate. His replacement, Caleb Joseph, has started to hit during the past few games, which might give the O's another reason to keep Wieters from catching in multiple games in a series. If you have the bench spots or roster depth to keep another catcher, and can check starting lineups daily to see if Wieters is in the lineup, then you might consider keeping him. Otherwise, now might be the time to move on from Wieters until if/when he is allowed to catch on a consistent basis.

4. Moss is on pace to hit 26 home runs and have 86 RBIs, yet it's his awful batting average and on-base percentage that makes him a good candidate to drop going into the second half of the season. He is batting just .220 on the season, with an OBP of .296 and a slugging percentage of just .427, meaning if he doesn't go deep he really isn't doing much for your team or the Indians. He strikes out once every three at-bats, including a "Golden Sombrero" with four strikeouts on July 7th. He is the true feast or famine player who either hits one out or goes 0-for-4. There isn't much reason for him to be owned in almost 76% of leagues, and there are much better options for average and OPS in any free agent pool.

5. Now that John Jaso is back in the lineup, Butler has been seeing less and less playing time, especially because Jaso has been hitting well. Despite a .287 average, he has six home runs and 21 RBI.

6. On Saturday, Nova gave up four runs on eight hits through 6.2 innings. Although he didn't issue a walk to the lineup, he only struck out three. He's trying to build endurance after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and his 6.2 innings are tied for a season high, but if he's going to continue to build endurance, he's going to encounter hiccups along the way especially after being out over a year.

7. Josh Hamilton is just 6-for-27 (.222) with a lone RBI since returning from the DL. His paltry .296 slugging percentage should be a warning that his groin injury is still limiting his power. If you’re one of the 58% of owners who took a chance on Hamilton, it’s probably time to seek more productive options in the outfield for a second half push.

8. Desmond has really struggled over the past month, managing just 12 hits in his last 84 at-bats for a .143 average. His on-base percentage in that span is also below the Mendoza line at .196. The power and run production are not there either with just 7 homers and 24 RBI on the year. Despite all this, Desmond continues to be owned in 77% of ESPN leagues. If you are one of them, wake up and drop him now! 

Due to the All-Star break this week, the Fantasy Baseball Gurus will return in two weeks on July 26, 2015 with the next round of advice!

 

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Lars Gjesteby

Lars Gjesteby is a writer/reporter for the Boston Red Sox Beat Team of CLNS Radio.

He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering and is currently pursuing a PhD. Lars works to improve hardware and software for medical imaging systems, including x-ray CT and MRI. 

You can follow him on Twitter @LahzG

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