Chris Davis Red Hot to Start Second Half. Will it Continue?
Glenn Colton takes a look at hitters and pitchers who have started the second half hot and should stay that way in this week's Week That Was
Crush crushing it highlights this Week’s Week That Was.
Chris Davis: Chris Davis went 1-4 Saturday but that one was a grand salami! At first blush, this seems like a classic Davis year (leaving aside the outlier of 2013) -- Davis has blasted 22 dingers and knocked in 60 but sports that less than attractive .242 batting average (his reputation is that of a low average slugger but the truth lies elsewhere as you will see below). However, if you focus on the post-ASG Davis, you see a guy hitting .333 with 3 dingers and 7 RBI in the last 7 days. Will this continue? Well, if you own Davis, you better hope he does not get traded out of that bandbox in Baltimore to some cavern like San Fran (no rumor to that effect, I am just illustrating). Trades aside, Davis is a guy who hit .266, .270 and .286 before the outlier disaster that was 2014. Bottom line – with an increased contact percentage and reduced K rate this year, there is every reason to think the power stays real and the batting average rises. Invest!
Chase Headley: Chase Headley is on fire! Chase had another big game Sunday, going 2-4 with a dinger, 3 RBI and 2 runs scored. The buy low window is closing! On the year, Headley has only 9 HR and 39 RBI despite playing in Yankee Stadium and the other friendly AL east sites. Loyal readers know I am a Headley fan (and that I was before he bore the pinstripes). I continue to believe. Why you ask? Good question. Well, his contact rate is up so the batting average should continue to improve. Second, Headley is hitting .359 over the last two weeks as the whole Yankee team seems to be coming together. Third, his line drive percentage is an elite 28%. This is a switch hitter who is hot and likes to play in NY and is showing it now that things are getting serious in the Bronx. Invest!
Nathan Eovaldi: Yeah, yeah, I know I write about the Yankees a lot, but hey, we are who we are. On the pitching side, Nathan Eovaldi is looking more and more like the guy the Yankees envisioned when they gave up the popular Martin Prado to get him. Sunday, Nate gave up just two runs while striking out 5 over 8 innings in a win over the Twins. As reported here at Fantasy Alarm, Eovaldi recorded his seventh straight start in which he gave up three or fewer runs on Sunday. On the year, Eovaldi has 10 wins but a still inflated 4.27 ERA. Buy now if you still can! First, there are few if any who throw harder than Eovaldi’s 96MPH average fastball velocity. Second, the inflated .350+ BABIP says the ERA will come down. Third, over his last 7 starts, the ERA is a far more palatable 2.83. Fourth, when you combine that velocity with an elite 51% GB rate like Nate has this year good things are bound to happen. Invest!
Melky Cabrera: If there is anyone who can rival my roto-crush Robinson Cano for my roto affections, it is Melky Cabrera. The Melkman is repaying that faith as he stayed hot Sunday going 2-4 with an RBI. Admittedly, .272 with 6 HR and 1 SB hardly makes any roto-manager’s heart flutter. However lets’ see what happens when we dig down. In the last 30 days, the Melkman has delivered to the tune of .357 with 5 HR. Moreover, Melky is hitting more line drives than a year ago (so more of those balls should miss gloves) and his HR/FB in the launching pad that is the Cell is a very depressed 6%. As has happened over the last month, more of the flyballs will be leaving the yard in the dog days of August. Get on the ride!
Rubby de la Rosa: If you were listening to Colton and the Wolfman on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio last week, you heard the debate about Rubby de la Rosa. Well since I am writing about Rubby’s success this week, you know I was pro Rubby. Often the Wolfman and the First Lady of Fantasy (two star members of the CTW team) teach me a thing or two. However, this week, Rubby made me look smart. The Arizona righty went out and threw 8 shutout innings Saturday allowing just 4 hits while mowing down 6. On the week, Rubby went 15 innings giving up just 1 earned run. Ok, listen carefully – whether you are in a keeper or redraft league, you must get yourself some Rubby. Look at these stats: 51% GB (elite); 11.6% swinging strike rate (elite); 60% first pitch strike rate (solid); 94 MPH average fastball velocity (strong); reduced walk rate (nice); increased k rate (nice). This list goes on and on. This 26 year old is on the verge of stardom. Get it?
Taylor Jungman: Taylor Jungman continued to pitch well this weekend giving up just two runs while striking out 7 in six innings Saturday. Is he as good as the 2.14 ERA says? No. Is he good enough to ride if you are in contention or good enough to target if you are looking to next year? Yep. He throws 92 on average – not Eovaldi, but solid. So what is the key? Answer: the elite 52% GB rate. If Jungman continues to keep the ball on the ground, he will continue to see good results. Oh, and the 17.5% line drive rate says that hitters are having a hard time squaring him up. Do not go overboard here but there is value to be had – especially once Matt Garza gets traded this week (which I fully expect).
Aaron Hicks: Aaron Hicks went 2-5 with a dinger and 2 RBI Saturday. Is he finally showing that potential we have been hearing about for so long? Well, the .263 season long average with 4 dingers says no. However, the .348 average and .900+ OPS over the last two weeks and the improved contact percentage say yes. The bottom line here is that if (and it is a big if) Hicks gets to play every day, he is exactly the type of post-hype sleeper on whom profits can be made. At only 25 with over 600 AB under his belt in the show, it is his time to show why folks were so high on him in the first place.
And now the moment you well, may or may not be waiting for, the Baron of Bottom of the Page pontificates a/k/a Schultz says: “This week, many general managers will be imitating their roto-counterparts and engage in the much-reviled practice of dumping for the 2016 season. Schultz has always wondered whether the waiver wire blows up with snarky comments and bitter invective when someone makes a Steve Phillips-like trade that bolsters a contender and nets a used-up Carlos Baerga as the rebuilding chip. However, that's a rant for a different time.
MLB and fantasy baseball differ the most when it comes to rebuilding. In real life, GMs play the long game. The Indians rebuilt with deadline deals by acquiring Corey Kluber in 2010 for Jake Westbrook; Michael Brantley in 2008 for CC Sabathia (LaPorta who?); Carlos Carrasco in 2009 for Cliff Lee and the always enjoyable deal that brought Carlos Santana to Cleveland for Casey Blake. With patience, the Tribe put together the core of a strong (though currently underperforming) franchise.
This strategy doesn't work in roto-ball and too many owners lose sight of that fact. Going for deep prospects doesn't provide the roto-return you need to succeed in 2016. If you're league's deadline approaches, look for undervalued established talent and stack your team with bargains. This gambit will work in fantasy world even though it fails miserably in the real world. Just ask the Red Sox how those 2014 deals for Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig worked out.”
Response: Pretty good stuff from Schultz considering he wrote this on his phone one letter at a time on a boat somewhere in New England!