Mid-June is panic button time for the owners of struggling fantasy baseball teams.
Under-performing players and disappointing draft picks will have many owners looking to right their ships before they sail out of playoff contention for good.
However, for the savvy fantasy baseballer, a player’s poor start can be an opportunity to gamble on upside and benefit from first half slumps and second half surges.
Without further ado, here are 10 MLB players who have struggled thus far but could bounce back to be difference-makers the rest of the way.
You shouldn’t give up too much for Carlos Pena.
Luckily, the way he’s been playing, you probably won’t have to give up anything.
Pena has been awful in 2011. And while he may not be catapulting himself into another All-Star selection anytime soon, he certainly won’t continue to be this bad…right?
Tulo's been a beast this year. But his average is down, and although he won't be cheap, he is definitely worth pursuing via trade.
Tulowitzki is a streaky player. Right now, he's starting to heat up. He will likely finish the season over .300 (he's currently hitting .274), and trading for him now will prove to be a savvy move, as his other numbers will stay consistently great.
It will be difficult to pry Tulo away from owners who appreciate the power stats he puts up at a position generally devoid of power. But he is a worthwhile buy-low candidate as his average is likely to rise dramatically to coincide with his power numbers.
Even though he has struggled to collect wins, Bumgarner’s auxiliary numbers have been pretty darned good.
However, the young lefty was likely drafted higher than he should have been in your league, which means that you are probably playing with a frustrated owner who will be willing to cut his or her losses and deal MadBum before the all-star break.
Strikeouts and home runs! That’s what Adam Dunn does!
I’ve never been much of a Dunn fan. He hits for a low average and strikes out a bit too much for my liking.
But there is no denying that the dude gets his power numbers. He’s gone yard 40+ times in five of his eleven MLB seasons, and hasn’t dipped below 25 dingers since 2001.
Currently, Dunn is hitting a paltry .180 with only six homers and 26 RBI. While his average may not rise enough to help your squad, it is reasonable to expect a second half power surge from one of baseball’s most prolific and consistent home run hitters.
Let's not sugarcoat it: Jayson Werth has been terrible this year.
Realistically, he has nowhere to go but up.
I don't think anyone would expect Werth to finish the year hitting under .250 or finish with fewer than 25 home runs, but he is on pace to do both, and now would be a great time to trade for the Nationals' prized free agent—or more likely, grab him off the waiver wire.
Full disclosure: I have a soft spot for Nick Markakis.
He has saved my fantasy team more than once, and has consistently performed much better than expected for me.
Obviously, I don't own him this year.
Markakis is hitting a lame .242 with only five home runs and 26 RBI. But at some point this young Orioles roster is bound to figure things out, and Markakis will need to be a big part of it. He has consistently been a solid fantasy player in the past, and seems bound to break out of his slump sooner rather than later.
Young has been heating up at the plate lately, and now may be your last chance to grab him off the waiver wire.
Despite an atrocious first two months of the season, Young is the type of all-around hitter who could be a valuable difference maker for fantasy rosters. There have been rumors that he will begin to lose playing time if his slump continues, but make no mistake; if he is raking, he will play.
Every season, Ichiro is drafted high based on his amazingly consistent batting average and hits totals. He has never hit below .311 in his MLB career, nor has he gone under 200 hits.
This season is on pace to be his worst as a pro, as he currently stands at .258 with only 71 hits.
Although he has started the season slowly, there simply isn't a more consistent hitter in baseball than Ichiro. In fact, there may not be a more consistent hitter in the history of the game.
Although he is most certainly owned in your league, this may be the right time to try to swing a trade for Suzuki.
At this point, most people know what to expect from Alex Rios: decent-but-not-excellent stats across the board. But by anyone's standards, he has had a terrible 2011 season.
However, in three of Rios' last four games, he has collected multiple hits and is hopefully working his way out of his slump. If you have room on your bench, grab Rios. The entire White Sox team seems to have nowhere to go but up.
Before his injury, San Francisco’s Kung Fu Panda was mashing like it was 2009.
When he returns, he will be entering a lineup desperate for power, and will unquestionably be inserted into the heart of the Giants order.
Between his long layoff and the decimated nature of the Giants already lackluster lineup, it shouldn’t be difficult to convince a rival owner that Sandoval is a player worth getting rid of.
There have also been rumors that Sandoval will return to catcher when he's done rehabbing, which could make for interesting positional flexibility depending on your league's rules.