By Moe Koltun, Matt Cott, and Matthew Schwimmer of Roto Analysis
As the All Star Break comes to a close, it’s time to focus back on your fantasy baseball league. No matter where you are in your standings, you’re going to have to make a couple big calls to end the season on top. We at RotoAnalysis are going to bring you a couple bold predictions this week that could lead to big moves for you to make as the season comes to a close.
Yasiel Puig isn’t a top 25 OF in the second half:
Dance around this one carefully. If you play it right, however, I’m sure that you can pull off a fantastic trade with Puig on your roster. His value will never be higher and while everybody knows he can’t keep his .391 average up, I’m not even sure he can maintain a .300 average the rest of the way. As amazing as his start as his been, it is nearly unprecedented for a player with this few walks and as many strikeouts to maintain success. His speed is far from elite and his power could even be a little fluky – he doesn’t hit many fly balls, and when he does they’ve been leaving the park 28.6% of the time. As awesome and as fun Puig has been so far, dumping him for boatloads of talent could be the best move you make all season.
Prince Fielder is the #1 1B in the second half:
Despite a monster start to the season, Fielder is hitting a modest .267 with 16 homers. Fielder’s BABIP falls just short of his career average, but it is his strikeout rate that is 5% higher than his career average that is causing the problem. The appears to be fluky as his contact rates are less than 3% off of his career average for a guy whose swinging at as many pitcher in and out of the zone as his career averages would suggest. Fielder is also hitting more flyballs than he ever has in his career, which should suggest an increased home run total. However, so far that has not been the case because of his 13.6% HR/FB rate, which is 6% lower than his career average. Everything seems to suggest that Fielder could be in line for a monster second half so if you can buy low on Fielder from a frustrated owner, do it.
Tim Lincecum is a top 20 pitcher in the second half:
After Lincecum’s no-hitter, many fantasy analysts thought it was time to sell high. I couldn’t disagree with that more, and I’ve been looking to ‘buy high’ on Lincecum wherever possible. While his velocity hasn’t improved from last season, his strikeout rate is back up to 9.67 K/9, and his walk rate is back down to 3.71 BB/9 which is certainly passable with that K rate. More importantly, Lincecum’s ERA has sunk from last year’s nadir of 5.18 to 4.26 so far this year, and that’s with a Left On Base Percentage (LOB%) that is actually worse than he had last year—67.4% this year vs 67.8% last year. Stuff-wise, Lincecum’s fastball is still a below average offering at this point, but his changeup seems to be back and he’s using it more than ever. I’d buy on Lincecum now and reap the benefits in the second half.
Agree? Disagree? Questions? Tweet @RotoAnalysis and be sure to follow Moe @MoeProblems, Matt @KidCotti21, and Matt @Schwimingly. Check out their work on RotoAnalysis.com, as well as The RotoAnalysis Fantasy Sports Podcast.