Fantasy Baseball: 10 Players to Watch for the Second Half of the Year

Michael FoglianoAnalyst IJuly 14, 2011

Fantasy Baseball: 10 Players to Watch for the Second Half of the Year

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    Now that the All-Star break has come to a close, it's time to start taking a look at things that matter—fantasy baseball.

    OK, maybe I'm overrating it, but some leagues call for high stakes.

    Anyway, the free agent list in your league probably has a handful of players waiting for you to add them to your team and have silently put together a solid, but unnoticed first half.

    Every year, you will find great bargains on the free agent list. A good example this year was Lance Berkman (I got him!). Since baseball is a long season, there will be late bloomers in the second half.

    The free agent list is one of the most important things in a fantasy league, and if you don't pay attention to it, then there is no way you are winning your league.

    As we enter the second half of the MLB season, it's time to focus on making the playoffs and ways to get there.

    Without further ado, here are 10 players to watch for the second half of the year, as they could possibly help bring your team to the top.

Tim Stauffer

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    5-6, 2.97 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 90 K's

    Tim Stauffer has put up very solid numbers during the first half.

    In fact, he has not given up more than two runs in a game since June 2. He has proved to be nothing short of consistent.

    Another great thing about Stauffer is that he can be placed as a relief pitcher.

    The reason behind his 5-6 record is obviously the poor run support. For instance, on June 12th against the Nationals, Stauffer pitched seven shutout innings and was given a no-decision.

    In his next start after, he received a loss after giving up just one run over seven inning of work.

    If the Padres give him the run support and Stauffer keeps it up, he can be a top fantasy pitcher to grab. 

Darwin Barney

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    .306, 90 H, 30 RBI's

    Darwin Banrey, who is hitting .306 so far, was hurt for a good two weeks this year, but finished off the first half on a strong note by hitting .389 in the month of July.

    Barney recorded 90 hits in the first half of the year, despite missing 15 straight games. Had he played those extra 15 games, he probably would have 100 and would be on pace 200 in total.

    If you are thinking about picking him up, he is not a power guy (just one homer thus far).

    However, he is a great add if you are in need of a second basemen or shortstop. Don't believe me? Listen to this:

    Barney is ranked first in batting average among all second basemen in the MLB. Yes, he has a higher batting average than Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Rickie Weeks, Brandon Phillips and all the rest.

    He ranks six in hits, but could be right in the top three if he did not get hurt.

    Barney is a very consistent second basemen which is a position very scarce in baseball. Keep in mind he is also listed as a shortstop, another scarce position where he ranks in the same spots of the same categories I listed above.

    If you are looking for a 2B/SS or a consistent utility player, Barney is your guy.

Emilio Bonifacio

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    .285, 14 RBI's, 16 SB

    Emilio Bonifacio finished the first half of the season on a 12 game hit streak, hitting .414 in the month of July.

    Bonifacio was definitely a streaky hitter before July, but perhaps he is starting to put it together.

    Recently, he has been stealing bases like no tomorrow. In his last game before the All-Star break, he stole three with a total of 11 in the past two weeks.

    Whether or not he can keep this going is up to us to speculate.

    In the beginning of the season, Bonifacio was not a full time starter, but he has seen a good amount of playing time as of late which is definitely a possibility of the resurgence.

    Keep a good eye on Bonifacio because if he keeps this up, he is a steal.

Jonathan Niese

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    8-7, 3.88 ERA, 92 K's, 1.36 WHIP

    Jonathan Niese is owned in just 16 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues and is a great pickup, especially for leagues that score by categories.

    Not many people talk about Niese, but he does rank in the top 25 of the NL in strikeouts with 92, and that's where he would help you most in a league with categories.

    He is 4-2 in his last six starts, and he is a close to consistent player that you could grab off the waiver wire.

    Niese is not great, but he is a type of player that you know what you are getting. He won't pitch amazing, but he will rarely get hammered.

    Niese is a solid option if you are looking for a filler in your pitching staff.

Aaron Hill

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    .234, 4 HR, 33 RBI's

    It's a long season, folks. And it has certainly been one for Aaron Hill.

    After making himself one of the top second basemen in the MLB, he has struggled this season, hitting .234 and just four home runs and 33 RBI's.

    There are people out there who have been riding the Aaron Hill train all season, including myself. You just have to keep being patient with Hill because it is a long season.

    He hit 26 home runs last season and 36 in 2009. The talent did not just disappear. 

    I put Hill on here for you to keep an eye on him, just in case he decides to turn things around, because if he does, he is one of the top second basemen in the league.

Casey McGehee

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    .223, 5 HR, 36 RBI's

    Casey McGehee is another player, like Hill, who has had a rough first half and can called a bust for the first half of the year.

    After hitting 23 home runs and 104 RBI's last year, he has drawn a lot of frustration toward fans and owners. 

    He started off fine this year hitting .280 in April and was on an 11-game hit streak at one point. But then came a rough May and very rough June where it came to the point of being benched.

    I put him on here for the same reason as Hill just because if he turns it around, he could be a great pickup, so just keep an eye out for McGehee. 

Ervin Santana

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    4-8, 3.89 ERA, 106 K's, 1.24 WHIP

    Please do not be fooled by Ervin Santana's record.

    Regarded as a pitcher with great stuff, Santana ranks 20th in the MLB in strikeouts ahead of Matt Cain, Yovani Gallardo, Ian Kennedy, Shaun Marcum and Josh Beckett to name a few.

    Santana lacks run support and started out the season sluggish, which explains his record. 

    He is a better option than Niese if you are looking for a strikeout guy, but Niese does get more run support.

    Watch Santana's next few outings, and if he starts getting run support and he continues to keep doing his thing, he could be a solid option if you are in search for another pitcher.

Domonic Brown

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    .252, 5 HR, 16 RBI's

    Domonic Brown has been a bit streaky this season, but who is to say that the young outfielder cannot put together a solid second half?

    Brown has always been the Phillies' top prospect, and he has the right tools to have a successful second half.

    After missing the entire month of April due to injury, Brown went .333 in the month of May, but it was followed by a .165 month of June.

    However, Brown ended on a positive note, hitting .371 in July and was on a seven game hit streak at one point.

    If Brown's recent success carries on into the second half, he could be a good second half pickup.

Ben Revere

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    .275, 13 RBI's, 11 SB

    Ben Revere is probably the least known name on this list, but he closed out the first drawing a lot of contact and could keep it up as the season continues.

    Revere was called up in May and started to make an impact in June, where he hit .294 and recorded 30 hits. 

    He is not a power hitter, but Revere comes with great speed and is a threat on the bases.

    Revere is only 23 years old, but I believe he can heat it up during the second half of the season, and like Brown, I think he has the right tools to be successful and just might put them all together the second half.

Jason Vargas

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    6-6, 3.49 ERA, 81 K's, 1.14 WHIP, 4 CG

    I still do not understand why he is only 27 percent owned in ESPN fantasy leagues.

    Jason Vargas is tied for third in the MLB in complete games with four next to the likes of Cliff Lee, Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver.

    The only downside that Vargas brings is he is a bit inconsistent, and his losses are very well-deserved with the exception of his last outing.

    Vargas has gone at least eight innings in three of his last three starts, two of which were complete game shutouts.

    I would say Vargas is the best man on this list, and if he is on your free agent list, I would pick him up immediately.