Rookie Report: Fantasizing over the hitters of the second half

Pedro Alvarez, despite his early struggles, is ownable and should at least be on your radar screen for the very idea that he could blow up in the second half. If your third base situation is shaky right now grab Alvarez and plug him in if he gets hot or when the match-up seems right.

Alex Avila continues to essentially split time with Gerald Laird behind the plate. Avila has the look of a good professional hitter, but the time share and unimpressive stat line render him unownable in my book.

Brennan Boesch has been one of the biggest surprises of the year, but I don’t expect him to keep up the pace. The power is relatively legit, but the batting average should tumble. If possible, sell high.

Reid Brignac continues to find playing time where he can, but is still nothing more than an emergency middle infield option in deep leagues for the second half.

Jason Castro is the future in Houston, but won’t be a very useful fantasy option this year unless you’re just looking for batting average, which he might be able to provide if you subscribe to the “play the hot hand” theory on catching.

Starlin Castro was promoted much too soon and is nothing more than an emergency shortstop in my book.

Francisco Cervelli doesn’t have much fantasy value, despite taking over as the everyday catcher for the most dangerous lineup in baseball. He might be a useful plug-and-play guy if his batting average climbs, but the serious lack of power means he will always be a second-class citizen.

Ike Davis will be a useful back-up first baseman if your everyday man goes down, but I wouldn’t count on him to help you win a championship. But he does have a chance to break out, as I’ve been proven wrong about him to this point, and does possess more upside than fellow rookie first baseman Gaby Sanchez.

Ian Desmond will remain a low end fantasy starter at shortstop. He has exceeded my expectations, plays his part and should remain useful.

David Freese should continue to be a strong emergency third baseman when he returns from the disabled list. Nothing more.

Jason Heyward is the type of hitter who I expect to get better and better. Don’t worry about the thumb injury. I rate Heyward as a solid No. 2 outfielder for the second half of the season.

Austin Jackson continues to be a useful third outfielder, and does have some power upside, but I fail to see him truly taking off during the second half.

John Jaso is finally getting some of the respect he deserves. I have been a fan of his for a few years now, with his age always being the deterrent. It seems like Tampa Bay has turned over the full-time catching duties to him, and he is in his prime. Jaso is a darkhorse candidate to be a good late-season option for your catching deprived team.

Matt LaPorta is a hitter I’m still following closely. I might be still man-crushing a bit, but I’m expecting improvement and for him to become at least a marginal first base or corner infield option for the second half.

Jonathan Lucroy is garnering an early following in Milwaukee. He is a try-hard, do-everything catcher that has pretty much taken over the everyday job. Don’t ink him into your lineup yet, but he’s one to watch. He’s a guy to turn to if injury strikes your current everyday catcher.

Buster Posey looks like an obvious starting fantasy catcher from here on out. I expect the home run power to cool off a bit, but he will be an asset for your championship aspirations at a difficult position to fill.

Gaby Sanchez has put together a fine season thus far. He is and will always be a decent yet unspectacular first baseman. You can start him but should always be looking to upgrade.

Carlos Santana continues to do what he does best and is a legit No. 1 catcher for the rest of the season.

Mike Stanton is another young stud that was simply promoted too quickly. I expect him to improve and become a marginal outfield option, but it also wouldn’t surprise me to see Florida send him back to the minors for the remainder of the season. Bottom line, I’m not buying.

Michael Saunders is finding the going difficult in the majors and I have tempered my expectations accordingly, but the guy has obvious upside. Some have dismissed him, but I say keep an eye on him. He is a breakout candidate for the second half and could boost your chances of a championship.

Justin Smoak is a first baseman who I have ranked higher in the second half than fellow rookies Ike Davis and Gaby Sanchez. Smoak has loads more upside than the other two. I will be the one jumping at any sign of a breakout.

Jose Tabata doesn’t belong in the majors at this point and won’t be owned on any of my teams. The guy has been hyped and has some upside, but you would be wise to stay away this year.

Dayan Viciedo is off to a fast surface-level start, but don’t go crazy. He can’t make my Top-100 cut for good reason. His overanxious nature at the plate will catch up with him quickly. He’s worth keeping an eye on, because I have been wrong before, but don’t lose sleep if your rival snatches him up.

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Comments

  1. Frank Kim said...

    Just wondering if you can expound on your Tabata comment.  I’m in a 14 team mixed league and have found Tabata pretty useful because of his high steal rate.  It’d be nice if his OPS was higher and I think it might if he displays some more power.  Do you see his steal rate and/or OPS dropping in the coming months?

  2. John said...

    Tabata has been hitting the ball well.  He’s had a lot of line drive outs.  He doesn’t strike out too much and steals bases.  I see him a positive contributor the rest of the way.

    Also Stanton has 5 HR’s and 20 RBI’s in 116 AB’s.  I’m not saying this translates to real baseball, but in fantasy, these are great stats if you can take the BA hit.

  3. dave silverwood said...

    Ibelieve that question is one of the best I have heard I think Wood to date is going to be a Billy Pierce type—-but as a 67 year old Red fan that may be 9 bad years of prayer and hope, Chacin is a very good potential number 3 during the next 2 seasons and still an after that. Reds pride right now Wood.

  4. GasHouseGang said...

    Curious who you guys thinks has more long-term value: Travis Wood with Cin or Jhoulys Chacin of Colo?

    Thanks for any thoughts.

  5. Chad said...

    Do you still like Smoak as much in Seattle as Davis or Sanchez for a CI or UT option?  He was dropped in my league and I have a couple of options I could ditch him for.  He doesn’t have the highest power potential so Seattle isn’t the ideal location for him to thrive.

  6. dave silverwood said...

    I believe Seattle passed on 2 better prospects than Smoak in Alonzo and in Yankkes big first basemen at Scranton,

  7. philosofool said...

    @Chad

    Smoke’s power potential is actually bigger than his MiLB numbers suggest. He played injured last season and hit for no power after that, but had good power before. He lead the Cape Cod league in homers one year. He hit 9 home runs and was the MVP of the US team in the IBAF last fall. Also, Safeco is bad for hitters, but it’s better for lefties than righties, and Smoak will take most of his appearances as a LHB.

    If you’re thinking about taking a rookie, it means you’re taking some upside risk to win a league. Smoak is not a guarantee, but rookies never are.

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