I want to look at some players I like for the second half this time, but to start, a couple of prospects were promoted over the last week that merit more than a look.
The first is the Giants catcher Hector Sanchez, a 21-year old fireplug (5'9", 235 pounds) from Venezuela. Sanchez started his pro career in the Dominican Summer League before an American debut in the Arizona League (.299-1-22 over 33 games) in 2009, then to the South Atlantic League in 2010 (.274-5-31 over 89 games). This year started at High-A San Jose where .301-8-46 numbers occurred, then to Triple-A Fresno where he went .305-0-12 over 25 more games. With an excellent .379 minor league OBP (113 walks to 169 strikeouts), where the Giants can use any kind of offense at all with the absence of Buster Posey, Sanchez could emerge as a presence.
I probably don't need to say much about the Angels Mike Trout that you have not already heard. At 19, he is the youngest major leaguer, and with .338-20-110 totals over 250 games the former first rounder is poised for the next level. As I noted in the Mastersblog on Sunday, Trout has the tools: he can throw, and run, and has some patience, but the youngster probably is not ready for the big leagues just yet. If, however, being promoted makes him available in your league, grab him; that is, if the outfielder is not already gone.
I guess Gordon Beckham is one of those guys who just cannot really hit till the weather gets hot. You might remember last year the second baseman hit .216-3-22 over the first half, then a blistering .310-6-27 over 23 fewer second half games. This year has been better with .245-7-25 numbers over the first half, and, in the past month, Beckham is hitting .328-1-7, pushing his season totals to .252-7-28 totals. Now would be the time to pick him up or trade for the infielder.
Is Rich Harden back? Well, as with Erik Bedard, you torture yourself if you think you will ever get a full season of work from them (kind of like Milton Bradley, you know?). And, two good starts with the Athletics to one bad (1-1, 5.00 over 18 innings) if the right hander is floating out there on the free agent list, and you need an arm, take a chance. During Harden's seven-inning stint against the Angels Saturday, he made two mistakes which resulted in a pair of homers, but allowed only four hits and three walks while striking out nine. Better, he was throwing at 95-MPH during his final inning of work. And, don't forget, Harden is still just 29-years old.
While we are in Oakland, take a look at reliever Fautino De Los Santos, a 25-year old Dominican. A big guy, de los Santos is 6'2" and 225 pounds, and as a result he does throw pretty hard (the upper 90's). Over 281.2 minor league innings, just 41 of 108 as a starter, the right-hander was 17-16, 3.20, with 365 strikeouts to 224 hits and 103 walks. If you need to stabilize your pitching, de los Santos is a perfect potential solution.
While we are looking at middle men, the Angels Hisanori Takahashi might also be worth a chance. The 36-year old former member of the Yomiuri Giants (he was teammates with Hideki Matsui) has season totals of 2-2, 3.29, and over his last month, the set-up man is 1-1, 1.86 over 9.2 innings, with ten strikeouts and five each of hits and walks over that spread.
A change of venue can be such an energizer, and I actually think Juan Rivera, back in Southern California, will rebound with the Dodgers. Over 11 seasons and a 162-game spread, Rivera is .277-22-81, and since Rivera never had a chance to get on-track in Toronto--and, generally was one of four outfielders vying for time with the Angels before, if the outfielder gets a defined role, he is capable of serious hot streaks. Not to mention Rivera can play first and James Loney is not exactly rolling in offense.
Back to the American League, and the Tigers, Carlos Guillen is ready to be activated. We could probably think about a law firm named Bedard, Harden, Bradly and Guillen, who specialized in personal injury, since all four have them all the time. But, when he plays he can hit, as last year when though the second sacker only played in 68 games, he hit .273-6-34. Especially in an AL only format, I like Guillen. Always have. And, sigh, he has burned me.
The Diamondbacks are now pushing Brandon Allen of the White Sox, who was selected in the fifth round of the 2004 draft and was then swapped to Arizona for Tony Pena in 2009. Allen has had chances to establish himself with .222-6-23 numbers over 153 at-bats. And, with Reno this year, Allen is .306-18-66 over 304 at-bats, 21 doubles and 64 walks to 90 strikeouts. If he can simply challenge that ability at the next level, Allen will be a fine middle-of-the-road first base pick. And, this is probably a last chance for the 25-year old to establish himself as an everyday guy. In an NL only format, I would give him a chance.