With the first half of the season behind us, now is the time to look for players who can help you over the season’s second half.
The best place to start is to analyze players who, on the surface, have had a poor starts to the season. The stumble out of the gates may be due to an injury or bad luck.
The key is to figure out if the peripherals either confirm the slow start or suggest a rebound is coming.
In this week’s Fantasy Lookout, we will take a look at a hitter at each defensive position and two starting pitchers, all of whom should change from a first half dud to a second half stud.
Their sub-par first halves will be all but forgotten, so think of this list of players as the All-Rebound Team.
The Fantasy Lookout: All-Rebound Team
Backstop Bounce Back
Yan Gomes, C, Cleveland Indians
Yan Gomes suffered a knee injury that derailed his season early on. Coming off a breakout campaign last year, plenty was expected from the young catcher. He is just now finding his groove, evidenced by his stellar line drive and hard hit percentages. His BABIP and batting average will rise as the season progresses and his counting stats will follow.
First Sacker Set To Fly
Victor Martinez, 1B, Detroit Tigers
Victor Martinez has battled injuries all season, and his performance since his latest DL stint suggests he is feeling much better, at least his Fantasy owners are. Since returning, VMart is hitting .342 compared to a paltry .216 prior to the time off. His line drive rate suggests a recovery in his batting average and BABIP; however his hard hit percentage suggests the power may not fully return.
Second Baseman About To Soar
Robinson Cano, 2B, Seattle Mariners
Robinson Cano is not the player he used to be. A combination of aging and the move out West has not benefited Cano’s production. This year, Cano has struck out more and walked less, yet he has still managed to sting the ball like he did in his prime. His line drive and hard hit rates suggest a recovery in both his BABIP and his power numbers. However, his BB/K ratio hints that a full recovery of his batting average back to his career level is not in the cards.
Hot Corner Heating Up
Daniel Murphy, 3B, New York Mets
Daniel Murphy missed most of the month of June with a quad injury. All of Murphy’s peripherals are better than his career averages, especially his BB/K ratio. Despite the strong underlying numbers, Murphy has had a relatively unproductive campaign so far. I believe you will see an across the board improvement in the second half and he will return to the solid multi-cat producer he has been in the past.
Shortstop Slumber Over
Alexei Ramirez, SS, Chicago White Sox
Alexei Ramirez has been unlucky so far this year. All of his underlying peripherals are basically in line with his career norms, while his overall production, not including his 10 stolen bases, has been poor. The main recovery should occur in his BABIP and this should add a lift to all of his counting stats in addition to his batting average. I expect Ramirez to have a second half that puts him in the Top 10 of all shortstops from here on out.
Outstanding Outfielders Return
Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs
Jorge Soler missed a month of action due to an ankle injury. Now back, Soler should start to reap the benefits of all the hard contact that he has been making. Of all players with 200 plate appearance, Soler ranks seventh in line drive percentage and 24th in hard hit percentage. You always get the strikeout risk with Soler, but his second half should include plenty of power and production.
Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Yasiel Puig has missed a significant amount of time this year due to a nagging hamstring injury. When he has been in the lineup, his peripherals all line up well with his career figures. Despite appearing to be the hitter he has always been, his counting stats have lagged significantly. I fully expect a huge second half, with numbers that are consistent with his all world talent.
Melky Cabrera, OF, Chicago White Sox
A lot more was expected from Melky Cabrera when the White Sox signed him to a three-year contract in the off-season. A recovery in his BABIP and batting average should be expected, along with a rebound in most of his counting stats. The one red flag may be Cabrera’s hard hit rate, which suggests a home run barrage may not be in the works. That being said, Cabrera has managed to increase his hard hit rate every month so far this year providing reason for optimism.
Struggling Starters No More
Tyson Ross, SP, San Diego Padres
Tyson Ross had a very up and down year. He has been elite with respect to inducing grounders, swinging strikes, and weak contact. His BABIP suggests luck has not been in his corner. Ross’ one glaring weakness is his lack of control; his BB/9 of 4.60 leads all of baseball by a healthy margin. If he can just manage the base on balls, like he did last year, Ross would enter into the ace conversation.
Andrew Cashner, SP, San Diego Padres
Andrew Cashner has not been lucky in 2015. His inflated ERA and WHIP are due to the lowest LOB% in all of baseball and the 15th highest BABIP allowed. All of Cashner’s other peripherals fall in line with what he has produced over his career. The Regression Police will come to the aid of Cashner and his owners and the results will be pretty.
The All-Rebound Team has struggled year to date; however, the future is bright. Target these players in trades, buying low has never felt so good. Until next week’s Fantasy Lookout, enjoy the games!
Data courtesy of www.fangraphs.com
- 2018 Fantasy Baseball ADP Analysis: Mispriced Pairs; Pitcher Edition - March 13, 2018
- 2018 Fantasy Baseball ADP Analysis: 5 Mispriced Pairs; Infielder Edition - March 5, 2018
- The Fantasy Lookout: A Look Towards 2018; Sleeper And Bust Edition - September 20, 2017