This week, let's look at five players whom I like for the second half of the season, and maybe beyond.
But, before we get into that, it is the break. Take one. Spend some time with your family. Let them watch whatever on the TV, and go to the theatre or out to dinner or something with your partner.
In other words, let them know you appreciate their indulging the time on energy you do baseball and fantasy (and probably preparing for football).
OK, so who do I like for the second half?
Andre Ethier: Lost some luster moving to a theoretical platoon role and having issues with Don Mattingly. And, it is true that Ethier's numbers against lefties (.245-1-5) are not exactly great. On the other hand, they are not the worst. In fact, power wise, the .284-4-23 he is hitting against righties does not really show much better power. But, a few things. First, over the past month Ethier is hitting .329-0-8 with 11 walks to ten punchouts, so he is hot. Second, there are two paths he can go: trade or not. If Ethier is traded, you can bet he will be a starter. If Ethier stays with the Dodgers, it is abundantly clear that the health of Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp is questionable and thus Ethier should get pretty regular playing time as a result. Finally, Ethier getting hot coincides with the Dodgers getting hot (as well as Puig joining the squad). I think whereever he is, he will play, and that the power numbers will follow with the warm weather. And, his price tag will be cheap.
Leonys Martin: Craig Gentry's injury is what Martin needed to show that he has arrived, and, well, he has. He is also simply a better player than Gentry. Certainly, the .359-12-42 he hit at Round Rock last year before becoming a full-time Major Leaguer suggests not much more to do at the minor league level, but really since being a starter in Arlington, Martin is hitting .325-2-5 with ten swipes. Most important, Martin is one of the great spate of Cuban players, and as I have noted, these days those imports seem to adjust more easily to baseball in the States (BTW, Martin is going to get better, too, and is only 25).
Jarrod Parker: How about 1-4, 7.36 over six starts in April, 2-2, 3.62 over five starts in May, 3-0, 2.08 over five starts in June, and 0-0, 2.70 over two starts so far in July? The Athletics are vastly underrated, not just personnel wise, but Bob Melvin pulls the strings better than any manager in the game at this juncture. And Parker really is very good, not to mention at 6-6, 3.98, his totals might not be apparent to everyone who owns him. Meaning he will be good, and could be cheap.
Travis Wood: On one hand, Wood is that Mark Buehrle kind of guy who does not really whiff as many hitters as a fantasy owner would like. Still, the 26-year-old is 6-6, 2.69 over 117 innings with 85 strikeouts and an 0.974 ratio, and is kind of a National League version of Tommy Milone (8-8, 4.24 over 116.2 innings with 87 whiffs and a 1.269, and also 26). Except he gets to pitch against pitchers instead of DH's.
Nathan Eovaldi: I have been waiting for Eovaldi to show his true colors for three years now, and finally. On a last place team, he is 2-0, 2.93 over 30.2 innings so far this year on a Marlins squad that is a lot better than they are playing. I saw Eovaldi pitch against the Giants, and he was clocking a fastball at 99, and that Marlins team is indeed going to be a lot better next year. Amongst Jacob Turner, Jose Fernandez and Eovaldi, that could be one of the best starting troikas in the Majors next year. Like I said, "finally."