Go out and trade for these hitters today. Thank us later.
Timing can be everything in fantasy baseball. Knowing when to buy and sell players at the right time can really help you beat your competition and win your league. Let’s get right down to business and talk about a couple infielders you should be looking to buy right now.
Last time out we talked about targeting 3 players, including Brian McCann, who has since raised his OPS and driven in 8 runs, hit 2 homers and scored 5 runs in 14 games. We also talked about Carlos Santana and Kyle Seager before they busted out of their early season slumps. Today we’ll look at 3 more players that make for excellent trade targets for fantasy owners heading into the second half of the season.
David Wright, NYM
Wright has been a very steady producer for fantasy owners since he entered the league in 2004. Gone are the days of 30 HR and 15+ steals, but he’s still a guy that fantasy managers can count on for consistent production year in and year out. His 24.6% line drive percentage is 2 points above his career number, and his ground ball and fly ball rates are all near where you’d expect him to be. The real kicker is his HR/FB percentage which is currently sitting more than 50% below his career rate of 13.4%. With only 6 HR thus far in the season, the best is yet to come for him. If you add him now, expecting 10 or more HR in the second half of the year is not out of the question. I expect him to produce as a top 5 fantasy third basemen for the remainder of the year. I like him better than Anthony Rendon, Lonnie Chisenhall, Matt Carpenter, Aramis Ramirez and Pedro Alvarez the rest of the year – all who are currently ranked higher than Wright on the Yahoo! Player Rater. He's currently on the bench for a few days resting his shoulder, but he should get back t0 100% quickly and will be a force down the stretch for his owners.
Joe Mauer, MIN
Mauer must be one of the most frustrating players to own in fantasy baseball. I often complete my drafts without Mauer on my roster for a number of reasons – but the biggest thing is that you really don’t know what you’re going to get. Will it be the 2009 Joe Mauer where he hit 28 HR and drove in 94 runs with a .365 average (arguably one of the best fantasy seasons of all time), or is he the 2012/2013 version where he’ll barely hit 10 HR, drive in about 70 runs and hit .320? The average always seems to be there, but everything else is just “solid” and not “spectacular” for a guy who tends to always be drafted as a top 30-40 fantasy player.
All that said, Mauer is poised to have a big second half for the Twins and he’s a guy I am highly recommending as a “buy” in fantasy leagues. His .332 BABIP is below his career norm (.348) which helps show that his .270 average has some room for improvement. What’s nice to see is that his line drive rate is the highest it’s ever been at 28%, meaning he’s hitting the ball well. The biggest things to see from his advanced stats are that his fly ball rate is 19.5%, which is almost 7 points lower than what he’s done across his entire time in the MLB. In fact, it’s the lowest mark ever for Mauer. Like Wright, his HR/FB rate is more than 50% lower than his career average at 4.3% and his ISO is of .081 is 0.60 below where he normally is. His 2 HR year to date are not indicative of his skillset, and he too should be able to hit many more than that out of the ballpark in the second half. I’m expecting 6-8 HR and a.285+ average for the remainder of the season. I like him more than Derek Norris, Miguel Montero, Salvador Perez, Yadier Molina and Yan Gomes for the rest of the season – all who are currently ranked above our beloved Joe Mauer.
Adrian Gonzalez, LAD
A-Gon has also been an incredibly consistent producer in the majors, which is likely why owners picked him to be a member of their team this year. He was fantastic in April, but has struggled for the most part in May and June. Looking closer at the numbers, we can see that there is a lot to like about his 2014 season overall. He’s walking almost 10% of the time (something he hasn’t done since 2011), has an ISO 20 points larger than last year, and is making solid contact with a line drive rate that is right where you’d expect him to be. He’s a .292 career hitter, but is only batting .253 on the season so far, driven by his .269 BABIP.
While his April stats (8 HR, 18 Runs, 24 RBI) were not realistic for season-long production month in and month out, his 5 HR, 26 RBI and 25 Runs in almost 2x the number of games across May and June since then are not indicative of his true abilities. I’m expecting him to hit more than 10 HR, bat .280+ and drive in 45+ runs the rest of the way for the Dodgers, which makes him a top tier option at his position. With a little luck, he can get back to his 20% HR/FB ways and have a huge second half – putting up something in the 15+ HR range in his remaining 75 or so games. I prefer him to Albert Pujols, Justin Morneau, Matt Adams, Mark Teixeira and Ryan Howard the rest of the year.