The second-half is underway and yesterday’s full Saturday of baseball featured all 30 teams in action. Felix Hernandez continued his mastery from the first-half by dominating the Rangers while Tim Lincecum was able to shed his first-half form and hurl a gem against Houston. Ryan Dempster continues his scoreless streak and there were good pitchers duels in Miami and Tampa Bay as well. If you’re more a fan of late-inning drama than pitching, you would have loved the Royals, Orioles, Braves, and Reds wins.
For those of us who are fantasy baseball owners, there was plenty of production from some big names, and some pleasant surprises. As always in our sleeper central (archive here), we’ll highlight the best performances by those players owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues who may be worthy of picking up off the waiver wire if you have a position or categorical need.
Adam Lind – 1B/DH – Tor: Lind has returned from the minors with a vengeance. He was recalled June 25 and has played in 15 games since then. In those 15 games he’s hitting .340 (17-50) with four home runs, 13 RBI, eight runs scored, and three doubles. His numbers on the year are still low (.232/.306/.411) but he’s hitting well lately and becoming a key hitter in the middle of a fairly productive Blue Jays lineup. There has been rumors of a trade involving Lind as well which could either boost or hurt his fantasy value depending on the situation he gets traded to. If you are searching for a power bat to add at 1B or a utility position, Lind is available in 75% of ESPN leagues and appears to be rediscovering the form that made him a fantasy factor in past years.
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C- Wilin Rosario – Col: (16.2% ownership in ESPN leagues) 2-4, R, 3 RBI, 2B, HR. Rosario is a great catcher pickup with four home runs in his last eight games and 15 on the year. He’s raised his average to .253 and has 39 RBI and 30 runs scored.
1B- Casey McGehee – Pit: (3.7%) 3-5, R, 2 RBI, HR. McGehee raised his average to .244 and has seven home runs and 31 RBI this season. Most of that production (7 HR, 25 RBI) has come since the end of May. He’s notoriously streaky but very good when he’s hot.
2B- Skip Schumaker – Stl: (0.3%) 2-2, 2B, 2 BB. Shumaker has hit in five consecutive games and is now batting .325 on the year and is 9-17 this month.
3B- Jeff Keppinger – TB: (1.0%) 2-3, 2R, 2 2B. Keppinger is hitting .319 with 15 RBI and 16 R in 135 at-bats for the struggling Rays offense.
SS- Brian Dozier – Min: (0.8%) 1-3, R, RBI, HR, BB. Dozier plays everyday for Minnesota and now has four home runs, 23 RBI, 22 R, and 6 stolen bases on the season while hitting .241.
OF- Shelley Duncan – Cle: (0.5%) 3-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, HR. Duncan has connected on five home runs in his last seven games while driving in 10. He has nine homers on the year and is a nice daily plug-in when the Tribe faces a lefty.
OF- Juan Pierre – Phi: (33.2%) 3-3, R, BB, SB. Pierre is up to .316 on the year with 21 steals in 25 attempts. He has played 75 games and has 77 hits and 34 runs scored.
OF- Seth Smith – Oak: (1.8%) 2-5, R, 2 RBI, 3B, HR. In limited time, Smith is hitting .252 with nine home runs and 29 RBI.
DH- Adam Lind – Tor: (25.7%) 4-5, R, 4 RBI, 2B. See above.
AL Starting Pitcher- Wei Yin-Chen – Bal: (27.5%) 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Chen limited the Tigers but wound up with the no-decision before the O’s won in extra innings. Two of his last three starts he has dominated.
NL Starting Pitcher- Mike Leake – Cin: (10.8%) 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K. Leake also got the no-decision before his team won in extras. He’s allowed two or fewer earned runs in five straight starts.
Relief Pitcher- Joel Peralta – TB: (0.9%) .2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K. Peralta got his 19th hold by getting two critical outs in the 8th against the Red Sox in a one-run game at the time.