Fantasy Baseball: 5 Second-Half Sleepers to Bolster Your Pitching Staff

Scott L. HutchinsonCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2012

Fantasy Baseball: 5 Second-Half Sleepers to Bolster Your Pitching Staff

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    The first half of the MLB season was all good and fun, fantasy owners, but it's time to get down to business.

    The All-Star break is just one week away, providing a perfect opportunity to rethink and re-tune those fantasy rosters for a second-half surge.

    While sleepers are hard to come by this far into the season, here's a look at five under-the-radar studs who may still be floating around your waiver wire.

Robbie Ross, RP, Texas Rangers

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    Current Numbers: 6-0, 1.03 ERA, 26 K, 0.94 WHIP

    Ross’ strikeout total won’t turn many heads, but with a spotless 6-0 record and a nearly invisible ERA, he’s certainly worth a shot in most fantasy formats.

    While his middle relief role won’t garner any saves, Ross’ brief, efficient appearances could go a long way toward keeping those pesky fantasy ERAs from inflating. 

    Perhaps the most enticing thing about the 23-year-old rookie is the simple fact that he plays for Texas. The Rangers don’t do much losing, and neither does Ross.

Phil Hughes, SP, New York Yankees

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    Current Numbers: 9-6, 4.29 ERA, 89 K, 1.26 WHIP

    Hughes always seems to be a popular sleeper pick, but after a lackluster start to the 2012 season many fantasy owners have thrown the Yankee starter by the wayside.

    Sure, he’s no staff ace, but if you’re scrapping for pitching depth he’s certainly worth the risk.

    With five wins over his past six appearances, and a monster of an offense providing plenty of run support, Hughes could be set for a huge second half.

    Give him a shot if he’s available.

Wade Miley, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Current Numbers: 9-4, 2.87 ERA, 66 K, 1.06 WHIP

    Ian Kennedy was touted as Arizona’s hottest 2012 pitching commodity, but it has been the lesser known Wade Miley who has taken the reigns for the Diamondback staff.

    With nine wins and an impressive 2.87 ERA through 16 appearances, the 25-year-old lefty is quickly establishing himself as one of the NL’s most intriguing young starters, and one of fantasy’s biggest post-draft steals.

    While his consistency has been less than stellar at times, as evidenced by last week’s eight-run outing, Arizona’s improving offense should help keep Miley’s breakout season rolling.

Ryan Cook, RP, Oaklan Athletics

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    Current Numbers: 2-2, 1.54 ERA, 37 K, 0.94 WHIP, 7 Saves

    As is typical in Oakland, the 2012 A’s don’t have much to brag about offensively.

    What they do have, however, is a pitching staff loaded with young talent, highlighted by rookie reliever Ryan Cook.

    Boasting a 0.94 WHIP, the 25-year-old righty earned his first All-Star nod this season and could prove remarkably valuable now that he has taken on the brunt of the closing duties in Oakland.

    While he’s only owned in 55 percent of fantasy leagues, his appearance at next week’s All-Star festivities could have him flying off the wires.

    Grab him while you still can.

Matt Harrison, SP, Texas Rangers

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    Current Numbers: 11-3, 3.16, 65 K, 1.24 WHIP

    Much like Robbie Ross, Texas’ Matt Harrison's most valuable asset is easy to identify: He’s a Texas Ranger.

    While he’s not going to give you top-tier strikeout numbers, the 26-year-old lefty has already racked up 11 wins this season and could be well on his way to a 20-win year should Texas keep up their winning ways.

    If you’re willing to sacrifice Ks for Ws, Harrison could be a perfect pickup, given his availability in 33 percent of leagues.