Fantasy Baseball: Most Sustainable First-Half Breakout Performances

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Fantasy Baseball: Most Sustainable First-Half Breakout Performances
Jason Miller/Getty Images
A popular preseason sleeper pick, Corey Kluber has emerged as a fantasy baseball ace.

Questioning everything comes with the territory for successful fantasy baseball players. Just because things are going well today doesn’t mean it will stay that way tomorrow, so managers are constantly waiting for the bottom to fall out on their prized possessions.

That skepticism often yields rational decision-making that pays off in the long run. Anyone owning Nelson Cruz or Mark Buehrle are wise to test the market while it’s hot and attempt to sell high. Such thinking, however, has become so mainstream that gamers always look to cash out, occasionally relinquishing a true breakout star.

Anybody set on pawning off these six first-half studs is making a mistake. Every player has his price, and a wise fantasy GM will cater to his or her squad’s specific needs down the stretch, so this isn’t to advocate placing a giant “not for sale” sign on these guys.

Just don’t push the issue in fear of a major second-half decline. These guys have taken significant strides upward that should last going forward. A couple are budding young stars beginning to realize their potential. Others have changed their approach and were rewarded with tangible results.

A promoted role catalyzed one breakout. A change of scenery will continue to spark another, and the fantasy numbers have caught up to the sabermetrics suggesting stardom throughout less promising production on the surface.

These players were not often early-round selections entering the 2014 campaign, but expect them to fly up the draft boards next year once they pick up where they left off during the season’s closing months.

 

Note: Advanced statistics are courtesy of FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

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