Many times fantasy baseball championships are won or lost on the waiver wire. In the first half of the season, fast-acting owners were rewarded with talents like R.A. Dickey, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Jose Altuve, Carlos Quintin, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Josh Reddick, Fernando Rodney, and Anthony Rizzo just to name a few. Make sure you’re alert to emerging players in the second half as well.
Fantasy CPR can help keep you up to date with all the waiver wire action with our weekly pickup column and our daily sleeper central post. Sleeper Central focuses on players owned in less than half of ESPN leagues that contributed to their teams on that day. Since the All-Star break continues, let’s take a stop back from our typically very narrow focus and take a look at the big picture.
Who is ready to make a splash in the second half? These are the underowned players we’re watching closely as the second half gets underway this Friday. ESPN ownership percentages included in parentheses.
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C- Wilin Rosario – Col: (18.0%) All season I’ve been touting Rosario as worth an add for his power numbers despite his liability to your batting average. Well, I may need to change my position. He’s raised his average to a solid .247 over the past weeks while continuing to provide power numbers from behind the plate. He had 14 home runs, 10 doubles, and 36 RBI in 190 at-bats in the first half. As with most Rockeis, he’s hit most of his home runs at home, but he has hit six on the road as well and his RBI are split right down the middle. He’s a great pickup if you don’t have an elite option behind the dish. Other Options: Yasmani Grandal, John Jaso
1B- Brandon Moss – Oak: (13.7%) In just 87 at-bats for the A’s, Moss has ten home runs, 18 RBI, and 15 runs scored. 18 of his 22 hits have gone for extra bases in his .253 start. The A’s have desperately been searching for some pop at 1B all season and Moss seems ready to provide it. He is in a platoon with Chris Carter right now, but I think he’ll end up with most of the playing time at the position in the second half.
2B- Alexi Amarista – SD: (36.9%) Amarista got a break on Sunday headed into the break, but is locked into the Padres regular starting lineup whether in the outfield or a middle-infield position. He hit .273 in the first half with 18 RBI and four home runs, all of which came in his last ten games before the break. He’s provided a spark atop the San Diego lineup it’s been sorely lacking for most of the first half. He quickly rose from fantasy irrelevancy, so tread with caution, but I like Amarista to have a solid second-half at a thin 2B position. Other Options: Ryan Theriot, Pedro Ciriaco (short-term)
3B- Chipper Jones – Atl: (35.7%) In his swan song tour of the Major Leagues, Jones may have significant fantasy value as well as plenty of sentiment. He’s hitting a solid .318 in his 49 games played. He can still help in average and even in some power categories with six home runs and 33 RBI headed into the break. He isn’t going to pay everyday but can contribute when he does, so consider him if you have a need at the position. Other Options: Ryan Roberts, Elian Herrera.
SS- Ruben Tejada – NYM: (16.9%) Since returning from the DL, Tejada has become a huge part of the top of the Mets lineup. He’s raised his average to .325 on the year and has hit .407 with a .484 OBP so far in the month of July. He doesn’t offer much speed (one steal all year) or power (zero home runs, 12 RBI). He will give you OBP and runs (11 in last 10 games) so add him if that’s what you need at the position. Other Options: Erick Aybar, Andrelton Simmons (when he returns).
OF- Justin Ruggiano – Mia: (45.5%) Ruggiano dropped below .400 with his tough last game before the break (0-4, 3 K’s) but I guess we’ll live with a .390 first half. He hit four of his six home runs in his last seven games to surge into the All-Star break. He still has a sick 1.214 OPS through his first 32 games played. In those 32 games, he has 32 hits 17 of which have gone for extra-bases. He has 17 RBI, 14 runs scored, and three steals as well. It appeared his playing time was going to get squeezed with the return of Emilio Bonifacio, but expect him in the outfield every day for the Fish as they deal with Giancarlo Stanton on the sidelines. Long-term, I’m not sure of Ruggiano’s worth, but he’s a great pickup for the next 4-6 weeks.
OF- Juan Pierre – Phi: (34.8%) Regardless of a possible trade, Pierre is an intriguing option for the second half. He’s been typically batting behind Jimmy Rollins in the Phillies lineup and has shown he still has something left in the tank hitting .307 in the first half with 20 stolen bases in 23 attempts and 33 runs scored in 74 games. If he stays he’ll be in front of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley which will give his value a nice boost. Fantasy owners may hit the lottery though if he gets moved to Cincinnati (as rumored) and hits atop the Joey Votto-led Reds lineup which looks primed for a big second half.
OF- Tyler Moore – Was: (2.9%) The big unknown for Moore is his playing time. He’s been tearing it up for Washington getting his average up to .310 with four home runs, four doubles, and 12 RBI in just 71 at-bats. If the Nats find him a permanent home in LF or if injury opens an opportunity, he could be one of the best pickups of the second half. Other Options: Quintin Berry, Gregor Blanco, Dayan Viciedo
DH- Delmon Young – Det: (33.8%) With home runs in his last four games in a row, Young showcased his upside heading into the break. He’s a high-risk pickup given his history of emotional issues, but he’s worth a look if he can stay in the lineup. His numbers in the first half were slightly below his career norm but he still hit a decent .271 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI while playing 78 games and getting almost 300 at-bats. He’s definitely swinging a hot bat and is worth a look at least in the short-term.
For pitching picks, check out our daily spot starter selections and the sleeper central to see who is making themselves an option.
So who did I miss that you think is ready for a surge in the second half? Let me know in the comments!