Fantasy Baseball: Players to Pickup at The All-Star Break

Matthew BeckCorrespondent IJuly 15, 2009

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - MARCH 10:  Pedro Martinez #45 of The Dominican Republic celebrates getting out of the seventh inning against The Netherlands during the 2009 World Baseball Classic Pool D match on March 10, 2009 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Players to Pickup at the All-Star Break

With the halfway point of the season in our rear-view mirror, it’s now time to buckle down and get ready for a playoff push. Whether you are lacking a pitcher or a slugger, you need to sure up all your loose ends if you are a serious contender.

Between free agent signings and players coming off the disabled list, you must know who to pickup at what times. Here is a list of players that I have compiled that will help you make your decisions a lot easier in crunch time.



Pitchers of Interest


Pedro Martinez, SP (PHI): After sitting out the first half of the MLB season, Martinez has now signed a one-year contract with the Phillies. He was quickly placed on the disabled list because of a mildly strained left-shoulder.

Martinez will be used to fill the voids in the Phillies rotation once he is activated from the disabled list. The Phillies are hoping he can return to his old form, and legitimize a horrible starting rotation. 

He should be picked up as soon as possible and stashed away until he returns from the disabled list. The upside to Martinez is that he hasn’t pitched at all this season, so he will be in April-like shape. The Phillies offense will give him plenty of run support, and put him in position to get plenty of wins in August and September.

Tim Hudson, SP (ATL): Hudson has yet to pitch in 2009, but is on the comeback trail starting July 19 when he begins his rehab stint with the Braves High-A affiliate. Hudson has been sidelined since last season after have right-elbow surgery last year.

Hudson pitched excellent in 2008, prior to an elbow injury that ended his season early. He ended the 2008 season with a 3.17 ERA to go along with 11 wins.

If you have a bench spot on your roster, he is definitely worth a roster spot. He should be back into the Braves rotation by mid-to-late August, and will be a vital key to the Braves success down the road.

Clay Buchholz, SP (BOS): If you held onto Buchholz to this point, you will be happy with what is to come on Friday. Buchholz is to pitch for the first time this season on Friday against the Blue Jays, in Toronto.

Buchholz has been a disappointment on the major league level since throwing his no-hitter almost two years ago. This season, on the Triple-A level, Buchholz has been nothing but brilliant, keeping fantasy owners on the edge of their seats waiting in anticipation.

If he is available in your league, go get this guy now. He is finally ready to be at the big league level, and can be a big boost to anyone’s starting rotation. It is yet to be seen how long he will stay up, but if he pitches well he won’t be going anywhere.

Tim Stauffer, SP (SD): After missing the entire 2008 season following shoulder surgery, Stauffer pitched for the first time in 2009 on Saturday. He was able to record the win after pitching seven innings and striking out seven batters.

You may want to wait one more start to see if you want o pick him up. His upside is that the Padres don’t have any pressure on them, and they play in a pitcher friendly ballpark.  He should finish the season out of the major league level, unless he can’t continue to shut down hitters.

Chad Gaudin SP, RP (SD): After starting his season in the bullpen, injuries have put Gaudin back into the starting rotation. He has pitched well of late, recording two wins and one no-decision in his last four games.

Gaudin may not have the best ERA, but he does have a high strikeout upside, and can also get you a win when you need one. If you are looking for a strikeout pitcher, you should definitely give Gaudin a look.

Ramon Troncoso, RP (LAD): With a nagging toe injury to closer Jonathan Broxton, Troncoso has filled in the closer role whenever called upon. He has recorded five saves and eight holds on the season to go along with his 1.75 ERA.

If Broxton’s injury gets any worse, Troncoso will become the Dodger regular closer. If holds is a category in your league, you should pick Troncoso up now, but if it isn’t, keep an eye on Broxton’s health, and pick up Troncoso in his absence.



Hitters of Interest


Alex Gordon, 3B (KC): After only playing seven games to start the season, Gordon was placed on the disabled list with a cartilage tear in his right hip. He has been tearing up minor league hitting in his rehab assignment, and may be activated as early as Friday.

If he is available in your league, you should definitely give him a look. A once-prized prospect, Gordon hasn’t quite lived up to the hype, but is still a good option at third base. When back in the majors, he should be inserted right to the middle of the Royals lineup, and see plenty of RBI opportunities.

Marcus Thames, OF (DET): Thames finished the first half of the season with a bang, going 4-for-4 with a RBI, and finishing just a double short of hitting for the cycle. The Tigers have been using Thames a lot lately and seems to be the one receiving all the at bats against right-handed pitchers.

Though he has been sharing time in right field this season with other Tigers’ players, Thames has been the one that has produced the most. 

He is batting .344 with four home runs and ten RBI in just his last eight games. If this streak continues, he should be picked up and used as an everyday outfielder since he will most likely continue to see plenty of playing time.

Franklin Gutierrez, OF (SEA): Gutierrez has quietly been putting together a great offensive season. With 10 home runs, 37 RBI, and a batting average of .295, he has made himself one of the hottest pickups at the All-Star break.

If you are in need of an outfielder, you should definitely pick this guy up as soon as you can, before someone else does. He is on a tear in his last 15 games, hitting over .400  with 12 RBI. He may end the season as one of the best outfielders in the second half of the season if he can continue his hot streak.

Josh Willingham, OF (WAS): Now that Willingham is an everyday starter for the Nationals, he has really been able to produce playing right field. He is batting .304 on the season to go along with 26 RBI in his short time as a starter.

It is yet to be seen if he will start for the rest of the season, but the Nationals can’t deny him if he keeps hitting the ball and producing runs. He should be picked up in deep leagues, and may be able ot put up great numbers for the second half of the season.

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