Hitters cheat all the time. Some take PEDs, some cover themselves in pine tar like a pre-industrial shaming party. Sometimes they’ll guess fastball or slider or change. Sometimes they’ll guess outer half or middle-in. Some just cheat on their wives. The one guy who has kept all his cheating on the field is the most respected player since the late Tony Gwynn. Derek Jeter married himself to the New York Yankees and they don’t care how many women he has as long as it’s only one at a time in the press. It’s a good thing for the Yankees PR department he isn’t a switch hitter. It does, however, make A-Rod sad and jealous.
Continuing with things that make A-Rod jealous: playing baseball this year, scoring (fantasy points), getting paid, being underrated, set for a breakout second half and being able to play middle infield. The following fantasy studs are primed for a points increase rest of season. While I’ve harped on the fact that all points leagues are different all year, the one thing that seems to remain consistent in them all is that run production (R/RBI) tends to equate to highly effective fantasy helpers. If you’re the domestic type, you’re thinking French maid or nurse who either sets the table or does the dishes. If you’re asexually obsessed with baseball, you’re thinking a man who wears cleats, a cap and a cup—with a spitting problem—who sets the table or does the dishes.
The Table Setters, as they’ve been called, bat in the 1 or 2 hole (does that mean they switch hit too?) and tend to hold their value with the amount of times they get on base. These guys are more geared to helping with hits, walks, runs and stolen bases.
Derek Jeter is old and distinguished. Ok, enough flowery crap about him—I hate frontrunners. Here’s the scoop. He’s interviewing at retirement homes and everyone knows it. That’s not sexy. But, it probably means he’ll get married soon. This is your opportunity to be his last cougar. He’s never hit for a ton of power and he’s not much of a base stealer, especially at this stage of his career, but he hits for average. That, he’s proven. He’s got a career AVG of .312 and so far this year he’s at .273. I know it’s his farewell tour and he’s old as hell, but I just can’t see him going out like that. He’ll get his average up a bit ROS. And, even though he’s at the age when elbow and armpit rolls start showing up, I bet he starts hitting some dongs too. ROS line: .290, 50 R, 7 HR, 28 RBI, 3 SB, 30 BBs.
Jose Reyes is about to earn his contract. The Jays brought him over and so far Buehrle has outperformed him. Joey Kings has had a nice year so far despite his standard DL stint. That’s already behind him and he’s table setting for what just may be turning into the most feared lineup in baseball. I’ve been talking to a few guys owning him recently and they feel as though he’s had good production so far this year. That means you may have to pay for him a bit, but if you look at the numbers he should only get better on a per game basis going forward. His AVG is almost 30 points below his career line. His stolen base percentage is the highest of his career so far, indicating that his legs are feeling as good as they have in years—something he mentioned preseason. He’s also hitting for some power, but more is to be expected. This should be close to a full season in Toronto and not only is his home park more friendly to the dinger than his previous employers’ but he gets regular ABs in Camden, Fenway and New Yank park—all big fans of the dong. ROS line: .299, 60 R, 12 HR, 36 RBI, 25 SB, 35 BBs.
Omar Infante is actually towards the end of his adolescence as a baseball player. He’s starting to see a few grey hairs, but really he’s gotten better the older he is. The Royals seem to be coming together as a squad and if they decide to keep it together for longer than a month this year, he’s primed to be a really valuable cheap option for the second half. He’s a prototype 2 hitter behind a prototype leadoff hitter in front of a prototype 3 hitter. My next get rich quick idea is Pro-to-Type, software that mimics having your favorite pro athlete talk to type. Just imagine Puig smashing out this article. Here’s the beta—Jajajajajajaja!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *Whistle* Bat flip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jajajajaja!!!!!!!!! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……….—He ran into a wall again… So Infante. He’s heating up as is the rest of the Royal army and his AVG is hanging nearly 30 points lower than his career line. He’s hit over .300 three times in his career including last year and he’s sitting at .255. In the last two weeks he has double digit R and RBI. I expect the runs to continue and the hits to keep building. ROS line: .300, 50 R, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 6 SB, 15 BBs.
The dish doers… yep that’s clearly the next term entered into the Razzball glossary. Remember, be proud of your selfie regardless of what may have just slapped you across the face. These guys bring the power and RBI like Kermit the Frog… or Kremit. Speaking of Sensamia Street the following players are brought to you by the numbers ‘I’ and ‘P’.
Brandon Phillips is one of the manliest baseball players out there. Ok, only one paragraph to go and I’ll remove my lips from his handsomely chiseled buttocks. He’s been low to start the year and I implore you to buy (unless you’re in a keeper league). He’s aging, yes, but he’s nowhere near the age where his numbers should start to decline like someone just took the needle out of his arm. His ISO declined last year and is on par with that to start this season, I’ll give you that. But—and a sexy one at that—he also put up 80 R, 18 HR and 103 RBI last year. So far this year he’s on pace for 53/11/66 and I’m not buying that much of a breakdown considering peripherals. In all likelihood, the difference is that his supporting cast isn’t setting him up and protecting him like in the past. Oh, Joey Votto just came off the DL and Jay Bruce has been massively underperforming (.211 AVG… yeah buy him too). Those guys will come around and so will Phillips. Buy him low now. ROS line: .280, 42 R, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 7 SB, 30 BBs.
The Indians are a strange team to predict. They all seem to have great stretches, but they never seem to sync up so that they are all firing at the same time. Jason Kipnis hasn’t had a good moment yet over the first 2.5 months and his time is coming soon. He battled an oblique strain that held him out for 4 weeks and has hindered his ability to swing for the fences over the past few weeks. His average is coming around as he’s raised it 60 points over the past three weeks and his power will follow. Along with Carlos Santana’s impending bounce back (yeah buy him too) the HR and RBI departments should become well populated by Mr. Kipnis in July and beyond. ROS line: .270, 51 R, 15 HR, 60 RBI, 12 SB, 45 BBs.
Hope you can find ways to snag these guys in your league to buy up some value for the second half of the season. Remember, your draft is only your first attempt at finding value. The rest of the season you can find “draft value” by using trades and/or waivers to maximize your puntos. Mid-to-late July is probably your last chance to make those happen with any real consequence so don’t hesitate too long.