As a fantasy baseball owner, you should use the 2012 MLB All-Star break to establish your plan for the second half of the season.
If your plan includes trades, consider trading for these seven players discussed in the following slides. You might have thought they were untouchable in April, but these players have appeared to struggle so much in the fist half of 2012 that their owners might give up on them.
These players are too talented to sit on someone’s bench all season. I think these guys will be much more productive in the second half of 2012.
Read on to learn more about the 2012 stories of this currently underachieving group that will again become stars soon.
*All statistics are updated through July 8, 2012.
Toronto Blue Jays first baseman/designated hitter Adam Lind seems to have gotten back on track after starting so poorly in 2012 that he was sent down to the minor leagues.
Michael Beller of SI.com on why Toronto recalled Lind and why you should pick him up:
“[Lind] absolutely tore up the competition at Triple-A Las Vegas, hitting .392/.448/.664 with eight homers and 29 RBI in 125 at-bats. Despite his poor showing in the majors this year, Lind remains Toronto’s best option at first base, so he should get the vast majority of the playing time over there…he’s still drawing walks in more than 10 percent of his plate appearances.”
Since returning from his stint in the minor leagues, Lind is batting .263 and has four home runs and eight RBI. If Lind keeps up his hot hitting, he can help the Blue Jays climb up the AL East standings. Toronto is fifth in the division despite having a .500 record through 86 games.
Lind’s .205 batting average could tempt owners who have not already done so to put him on the trade block for your taking.
Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks has struggled mightily in 2012. Weeks’ batting average this season is .192. That is quite low for an everyday player.
Owners should keep Weeks on their radar, though. In the week ending July 8, Weeks hit .292 for the Brewers. Hopefully for the second overall pick of the 2003 MLB Amateur Draft, he can keep this momentum going in the second half.
Weeks owners who feel he will not return to form might try to trade him. You should look at his production over the past two seasons, which will tell you Weeks is a much better player than his 2012 season suggests. If Weeks becomes available in your league, pick him up for the second half.
Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman James Loney has not performed up to his standards so far in 2012. Loney’s slash line of .247/.309/.333 is significantly lower than his career .284/.343/.424 per 162 games. Also, Loney has only hit two home runs in 2012; he averages 13 home runs every 162 games.
For the week ending July 8, though, Loney hit .348. Owners should look out for Loney if he is put on the trade block. When Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier return from injury, the Dodgers should play even better than they already have in 2012. Kemp, in particular, has played only 36 games this season and was arguably the best player in the National League when he was active.
Once everyone returns for Los Angeles, Loney should return to his consistent self.
New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin is batting .179 in 2012. Martin has become an easy out in an otherwise potent Yankees lineup.
Martin’s batting average has dropped every season since 2007, when he hit .293. The only significant statistical increase from 2010 to 2011, when Martin moved from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Yankees, was in home runs. The move from spacious Dodger Stadium to hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium allowed Martin to hit more home runs in 2011 (18) than he did in the previous two seasons combined (12).
Despite the always-decreasing batting average, expect Martin to bounce back in the second half. Most importantly, Martin plays for the Yankees, the team with the best record in baseball heading into the All-Star break.
The entire Yankee lineup, including Martin, should get better when leadoff hitter Brett Gardner returns from injury sometime in July. Gardner was hitting .321 in the nine games he played this season prior to straining his right elbow.
Pick up Martin if he becomes available in your league. Martin’s solid career offensive production in many categories, and the team on which he plays, should make your decision to trade for him a no-brainer.
Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Ricky Romero should have a better second half than first half in 2012.
Romero’s 5.22 ERA this season is considerably worse than his career 3.84 ERA. He has been one of the most overshadowed pitchers in baseball in the 2010s, but Romero is only in his fourth major league season. With that said, Romero owners might think the American League has finally figured out how to hit him.
If Romero becomes available in your league, consider picking him up. Romero finished 10th in the AL Cy Young voting in 2011. Also, Romero was the sixth overall pick in the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft. These two things alone suggest Romero is indeed a budding superstar southpaw.
Toronto has used 10 starting pitchers this season due to injuries. The Blue Jays need Romero to anchor their rotation. The lack of stability on the mound has put Toronto in the basement of the AL East. Granted, fantasy baseball is about the performance of individual players, but the situation here surely has impacted Romero’s numbers.
In the second half of 2012, though, the Blue Jays will have Adam Lind back. Toronto also has two of 2012’s best hitters in Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Though they are in last place in their division, the Blue Jays have a .500 record.
Romero seems to have figured out why he has struggled, according to an interview in The Huffington Post. This should give him a new outlook in the second half, and you should look out for him.
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez seems like he's gotten his season back on track after struggling for most of 2012. According to an AP article found on CoshoctonTribune.com:
“The right-hander [Jimenez] lowered his ERA to 4.50 with his seventh straight start of six or more innings. Since giving up seven runs in a 12-6 loss to the [Chicago] White Sox on May 27 that ballooned his ERA to a season-high 5.79, Jimenez has a 2.93 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 46 innings.”
These numbers include Jimenez’s start on July 7 against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Jimenez is only two years removed from placing third in National League Cy Young Award voting. Owners looking at his season numbers from 2011 and the first half of 2012, though, might think Jimenez’s 2010 season was a fluke.
This recent performance, though, has given Jimenez something to build on in the second half of 2012. If you are looking for more pitching depth or better production out of your starting rotation, initiate a trade with his owner in your league.
I decided to save the best, yet worst, player for last.
What has happened to San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum? Have major league hitters finally learned how to hit off that unorthodox wind-up?
Lincecum—a four-time All-Star, two-time Cy Young Award winner, and a three-time National League strikeout king—has seemingly become human in 2012. “The Freak” has a 6.42 ERA through July 8.
Perhaps the All-Star break will allow Lincecum to get his confidence back. Lincecum will surely have a better second half of 2012.
Lincecum owners who disagree with the above statements might look to trade him. Get that owner to trade Lincecum to you.
There might be no better time than now to have Lincecum on your roster. Despite his awful first half of 2012, we are talking about Tim Lincecum. He has finished in the top 10 in National League Cy Young Award voting every year since 2008.
Lincecum’s sheer talent alone will make for a better second half of 2012.