You know the Monday morning routine. The alarm clock rings, again, and you hit the snooze button. A busy, fun, relaxing weekend seems more a dream than a past reality, and that alarm clock is trying to disturb that dream. Another work week beckons.
For those of you who didn’t realize, the All-Star break actually ended several days ago. MLB 2010 is back in full swing. Your fantasy team needs attention. No more snooze buttons for you.
If, like many, you are waking up to a team with more question marks than Jim Carrey’s horrific Riddler costume in the Batman Forever snoozefest, than it is time to dig deep and start increasing the trade offers. To help, here are jzak’s own second-half trade targets. My buy-low candidates for the rest of the season:
Francisco Liriano, SP. If you followed our extensive preseason coverage, you know that Liriano was a ninja favorite from the start. In 115 innings so far, he is 7-7 with a 3.76 ERA and 125 strikeouts. However, the stat most important? His .361 BABIP. That number will drop during the second half, and Liriano’s fantasy value will inversely improve.
Kerry Wood, RP. A few days ago, Wood would have no shot of making this list. If anything, he’d be a major sell-high. That’s because he was the talk of numerous MLB trade rumors, and likely would have found himself pitching setup duty on a contending team. A blister and a DL stint later, and Wood suddenly looks more and more likely to stay put in Cleveland, where he will likely continue saving games. I would NOT sell the farm for Kerry, but if you can net him for someone already on your bench, than go for it. Chris Perez is the future closer of the Indians, and will get some opportunities regardless over the rest of the season, but Wood should still retain enough value as long as some team doesn’t decide to take a risk on Kerry regardless of the blister issues.
Aaron Hill, 2B. The Toronto second baseman was never one to post a super-great batting average, but the .196 he’s been so far in 2010 is ways off his career average. He won’t hit 36 homers again this year, but should still hit 15 more this season, and his batting average has no place to go but up.
Adam Lind, OF. Everything is worth buying at the right price, and Lind’s value can’t get much lower. His .215 average so far this year is 90 points lower than the .305 he hit throughout last season. It would be ludicrous to think he’ll be a .300 hitter again in 2010, but his average is surely to improve down the stretch. He should also produce another 15 homers the rest of the way.
Jorge De La Rosa, SP. It’s a contract year for JDLR, and many expected huge things from him … me included. A trip to the DL sidelined those expectations. Giving up five earned runs in 4.1 innings in his July 9 return to the majors increased his season ERA by a whole point. He gave up six more earned runs Saturday night in just 3.1 innings. Owners of De La Rosa are starting to sweat. However, he has too much at stake to not work out the kinks and hammer out some quality starts down the stretch. Grab him on the cheap at the moment and stash him away for a rainy day.
Brian Roberts, 2B. Many may have forgotten that Roberts still plays baseball. He’s been on the DL all season, but is nearing a return to the majors. His minor league rehab has been going well, and he’s been raking at the plate … hitting well over .500 so far. Recent reports have Roberts back in a week or two, and some owners may be hesitant to deal him after rostering him all season, but it is worth throwing a few flyers out.
Jimmy Rollins, SS. Rollins has been plagued by injuries this year, and has batted jusy .206 since returning from his most recent DL stint. However, he’s ways too talented to struggle for long, especially surrounded by the potent Phillies lineup. The whole team has underperformed lately, but as teams start to eye the postseason, expect the Phillies to fix their demons and once again become a well-oiled machine. Rollins will be at the center of resurgence. Buy now.
Jason Bartlett, SS. A right hamstring injury landed Bartlett on the DL in late May, and he’s been underwhelming since his June 16 return to the bigs. However, like Rollins, he is talented enough and surrounded by enough talent to show some more signs of life in the second half.
Adam LaRoche, 1B. His 13 homers and .251 batting average aren’t too shabby at this point, although both are not up to snuff when compared to previous seasons. However, LaRoche is historically a second-half player and, as an added bonus, is looking more and more likely to see a potential trade to a contending team before the deadline. More lineup support would only enhance what should already be a solid second half for LaRoche.
Lance Berkman, 1B. A fixture with the Houston Astros for a decade, Berkman’s best days are well behind him. However, his fantasy stock could see a nice uptick if he is dealt from dismal Houston to a contender in the coming weeks. Berkman has improved his chances of a move by offering to nullify his no-trade clause if he is dealt to a contending squad. Again, like LaRoche, any improvement in the supporting cast will directly affect the fantasy numbers in a postive way.
Madison Bumgarner, SP. Beyond the media circus that is Stephen Strasburg and other rookie phenoms making an impact this season, Bumgarner continues to fly under the radar. In 28.2 innings pitched since his call up to the bigs, Bumgarner has been solid, notching 21 strikeouts and a 2.57 ERA. There were rumors that the Milwaukee Brewers wanted Bumgarner in a trade for Corey Hart, but don’t expect the Giants to give up the young pitcher so easily. He is someone you should snag and quickly insert into your starting lineup. There will be some growing pains, but his overall stats will be much more savory than many realize.
Edinson Volquez, SP. Hope the dude who owns him in your league didn’t see the six-inning, nine-strikeout performance Saturday in Volquez’s official return to the majors. There is little doubt that Volquez, sidelined for more than a year with Tommy John surgery, has ample talent to succeed in the league. His minor league numbers were plenty impressive, and his dominance over the Rockies was a sign of potential things to come.
Who are your buy-low candidates for the second half of the 2010 MLB season? We’d love to hear about them below in the comments!