Here are the responses from this week’s Fantasy roundtable. The question:
Who will be the most valuable fantasy hitter and pitcher (that isn’t currently on the DL) the rest of the year that wasn’t chosen as an MLB All-Star?
Tim Dierkes – RotoAuthority
I will take Miguel Cabrera for the hitter and Johan Santana for the pitcher. I still believe in those two; neither had a bad first half.
Brian Joura – Fantasy Baseball Generals
The most valuable fantasy hitter will be Jose Reyes. He was a top-five fantasy hitter in the first half already and this was despite having a poor April. From May 1st until the break, a span of 69 games and 325 plate appearances, Reyes hit ..325 with 54 runs, eight home runs, 33 RBIs and 26 steals. No player in MLB feeds off emotion more than Reyes, and now that the killjoy known as Willie Randolph is no longer around to bring everyone down, Reyes should be even better going forward.
The safe bet for most valuable pitcher is probably Cole Hamels. But I’m going to nominate Ricky Nolasco. Since starting the season 1-3, Nolasco has made 13 starts and picked up nine wins with 73 strikeouts, a 2.84 ERA and a WHIP barely over 1.0 (92 H + BB in 85.2 IP). He allows more fly balls than you would like to see but plays in a park that helps neutralize that. He’s also cut way down on his walks, having allowed just eight in his last 56.1 IP. A hard thrower with a full repertoire in a pitcher-friendly park is a recipe for success.
Eric Stashin – RotoProfessor
For the hitter, I think Prince Fielder has as good a chance as any to have a huge second half. He hasn’t had a particularly bad season at this point, hitting .277 with 20 HR and 58 RBI, and remember, he only had 4 HR through April. He hit 21 HR after the break last season while hitting .293 and very easily could surpass those numbers this season (for the season, he hit .288 with 50 HR). In 21 AB since this year’s All-Star Game, he’s already hit 2 HR and is hitting .381. With the Brewers in the heat of a pennant race, the Brewers are going to be depending on Fielder and he’s going to deliver once again. I wouldn’t be surprised if he led the league in HR in the second half.
I’m going to go very off the board with my pitcher and say Justin Verlander. Maybe it will happen and maybe it won’t, but I think there is every chance that he puts together a great second half and entrenches himself as one of the elite AL pitchers. On April 27 he was 1-4 with a 6.50 ERA and he was pretty much written off by many owners. Since then it has been a steady improvement, lowering his ERA down to 3.95. He hasn’t allowed more then 3 earned runs in a start since May 31 (9 starts). His ERA in May was 3.92, June was 2.73 and so far in July it’s 2.20. Last season he went 18-6 with a 3.67 ERA and everyone expected him to take that next step this season. While there was a bump in the road in April, he has begun to dominate the way owners had envisioned him, so why think he’s going to stop now?
Adam Ronis – Newsday
It mat not feel like it, especially since the Mets have been mediocre for much of the season until the recent winning streak, but Jose Reyes is on pace to surpass many of his totals from last season. He should have made the All-Star team over Miguel Tejada, even though Tejada played well in the game. Through 94 games, he has 119 hits, 23 doubles, 10 triples, 10 home runs, 43 RBIs and 32 stolen bases with a .298 average and .363 on-base percentage. And that’s after a .240 average in April. He should only get better, especially if the Mets continue to play well.
On the mound, it was a tough choice between Johan Santana, Jake Peavy and Cole Hamels. Even though I have been one of the most pessimistic Mets fans this season, I’ll give Santana the slight edge and go with two Mets. He’s not as dominant as he was two years ago, but he’s still a productive pitcher. He has a 3.10 ERA and 1.22 WHIP with a 116/38 K/BB ratio. He would have more wins if he got more run support. He’s been criticized because he was given a huge contract and hasn’t been great. Even so, his ERA wasn’t higher than 3.41 in the first half. Besides last season, he is usually great in the second half.
Commish – Fantasy Baseball Geeks
Most Valuable Hitter:
Mark Teixeira – A quick look at his per AB splits is enough evidence for me to choose Tex for the best 2nd half hitter.
AB/HR AB/RBI Avg 1st Half - 18.86 5.55 .277 2nd Half - 14.94 4.62 .295
On top of those career number, last year he hit .309/45 R/64 RBI/18 HR in the 2nd half. He has already turned it on in 2008 hitting 2 HR since the break. I don’t expect him to get traded and I expect him to continue with the 2nd half trends way have become accustomed to.
Second Choice: Miguel Cabrera,
Most Valuable Pitcher:
Justin Verlander – If you were able to grab Verlander cheap in April or May you may be looking at one of the all-time buy low scenarios. Since the end of May Verlander is 6-1 with a 2.48 ERA, 1.038 WHIP with 8.03 K/9. In July he is 4-0 and his ERA & WHIP go down to 2.198 & 0.907. According to ESPN’s Player Rater, in the past 30 days Verlander is the #2 starting pitcher behind only CC Sabathia. His ERA has actually gone down in every start except one (it stayed the same) since May 8th.
Second Choice: Cole Hamels
Brett Greenfield – FantasyPhenoms
Pitcher – Cole Hamels – Why guys like Zambrano and Cook were chosen over him is beyond me. Hamels only had nine wins, a 3.15 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP to go along with 126 strikeouts. He may be having one of the best seasons that seems to be flying under the radar.
Hitter – Jimmy Rollins – He can’t be this bad. His contact rate is an all-time high at 90%, so his “unlucky” average of .274 should continue to rise. In order to finish with an average close to .300, like he usually does, he’d have to bat .325 or better. He’s also on pace to score HALF the amount of runs he scored last year. His six homeruns are only five more than CC Sabathia and while his 30 from 2007 is unattainable, 15-17 is realistic. With the Phillies in the playoff race and hitters like Utley, Howard, Burrell and Victorino surrounding him, I expect a big finish.
As a Mets fan, this was painful to answer.