Well, I'm tired of writing about my jaw situation...though I have some other nice stories to come, so I thought I'd turn my attention to fantasy baseball as I've done in the past. Last year, I made some mid-season predictions to go along with my beginning of the year picks and thought I'd continue the trend this year, as well as give an update on my fantasy performances thusfar.
In the 3 leagues I'm in, I'm in 2nd in two and 4th in the other as we sit today, though two of them I've been in and out of 1st place from day to day. Most of my great luck thusfar can be attributed to the absolutely ridiculous hitting of David Ortiz the last few weeks. This guy is gonna start getting the Barry Bonds treatment soon, though Manny batting behind him is making that a tough decision for managers to make. I hope the break doesn't cool him off.
In addition, my formula of stud starter (Halladay/Schilling) coupled with 2-3 high K starters (Bonderman/Haren/Myers/C.Young/RJ) and a high K closer seems to be keeping my pitching staffs pretty solid, thanks to Jeremy Bonderman especially. All three of my teams have the potential to win it all, so with just a few tweaks, I think I can pull out at least one championship...maybe more if I'm lucky.
And here's some predictions for you all to consider as you make your second half moves in hopes of taking home the cash.
Players to TRADE AWAY
5) Justin Verlander, SP Det - This kid is a stud and was one I was hoping to grab in my keeper league. And that's where his value lies. If you're in a keeper league, hold onto him (and his hard-throwing counterpart, and possible future closer Joel Zumaya), but if you're in a one and done league, now's the time to bail. All young fireballers have a learning curve and he's been fortunate enough to have the stuff to get around it. The hitters are gonna catch up with him as the footage mounts, and then they're gonna start bringing him down to earth. Trade him and his amazing start now for a more proven veteran.
4) Nomar Garciaparra, 1B LAD - I'm happy to see that Nomar has bounced back from all the injuries in the past, but I just can't see him lasting a full season. Minor injuries are to be expected, at a minimum, in the second half and that's a headache you don't want from your 1B. See what his value is and consider dealing him now...it's probably not gonna get any higher.
3) Bronson Arroyo, SP Cin - The Arroyo train is starting to loose steam. He has lost 2 of his last 3 starts and is starting to get hit a bit harder. Last year, his second half was considerably worse than his first, with an ERA jump over 1.00. His stats still look amazing, thanks to his ridiculous start, but that'll only last for so long. Send him packing like the Red Sox did. You won't regret it though.
2) Miguel Tejada, SS Bal - The magic is gone. Miguel is not a happy camper and will likely bring up the trade desire issue again, which will bring down his stats in the second half, a la 2005. He's a great player, so he's not gonna turn into Aaron Hill or anything, but you probably drafted him expecting stud abilities and you might wanna deal him now so you can get someone who will bring that for you down the stretch.
1) Mike Mussina, SP NYY - I love the Moose, but this is a no-brainer. He's 37 years old. He hasn't played a full second half of the season in 3 years. He hasn't posted an ERA below 4.00 in 3 years, and it's been on a constant rise for the last 2 months. If you haven't moved him yet, you better hurry.
So, if this is who you should get rid of...who should you get? Well, here you go.
Players to TRADE FOR
5) Randy Johnson, SP NYY - Tons of magazines and writers will tell you that the Big Unit is done for and that his high homerun totals (Schilling and Beckett have more, BTW) and ERA above 5.00 are signs that he's not even worth starting in some leagues. Hope that the RJ owner in your league thinks the same way and see if you can grab him while he's low. He had a bad 1st half last year, but his K numbers and Wins are still there, and 4 of his last 5 starts have been good ones, with the bad one being against the ridiculously good Mets. The old man's not done, and he could be the guy that pushes you over the top.
4) Bobby Abreu, OF Phi - Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This was last year's Home Run Derby champ and now he's got 8 HR in the first half. Unless he's injured, which the 17 steals would suggest otherwise, he's just waiting to hit a groove. See if you can get him now, as he's probably gonna be back with a vengence after a nice break.
3) Prince Fielder, 1B Mil - If you're in a keeper league, you should consider this even more important. Prince has Ryan Howard-capabilities, but is still hovering under the radar thanks to a recent slump causing a drop in his batting average and the fact that he plays in Milwaukee. Howard had 300+ AB last year, and now look at him. Fielder has had 300+ AB in the first half...you figure it out.
2) Adrian Gonzalez, 1B SD - This is my sleeper pick of the bunch and one you likely could just pickup off the waiver wire, if you're lucky. A former #1 pick, he's a solid line drive hitter who I've been reading about since he was in Texas. San Diego isn't that great of a hitter's park, but he's at least getting ABs and is putting up some decent numbers for a young guy. He's finally logged about 450 AB, so he should have his shit together. Look for a solid second half from this virtual unknown.
1) Mark Teixeira, 1B Tex - The guy that kept Gonzalez out of the Rangers lineup and eventually sent to San Diego is actually having a worse year than Adrian. But that has to change. I'm sure the guy in your league that drafted Teixeira (probably in the 1st round) is very bitter right now and may not be willing to deal in hopes he'll turn it around. If that's not the case, move in now. Teixeira will likely do some work during the break to turn those doubles (30!!) into homeruns.
And there you have it, my second half Fantasy predictions. Take it or leave it, but don't say I didn't give you a chance to catch me in the standings.