A large part of success in fantasy, and dynasty leagues in particular, is identifying player trends. It’s a matter of knowing when to move on from a player before it’s too late, and it’s knowing when to buy a player before his stock explodes. In the coming weeks we’ll have a few posts dealing with who I’m targeting in dynasty leagues, and players I’m moving on from. In mid-September it’s still a bit too early to get into those discussions. So, let’s continue to look back at the year that was in prospects, shall we? In this vein, today we’ll discuss the players that broke out in the second half after bad first halfs; and on Wednesday we’ll speak on the lads that faltered in the second half after starring roles in the first. To add a bit of the tomfoolery Razzball is known for, let’s christen each post with the name of a like minded spirit. We’ll call the second half breakouts Samuel L. Jackson’s, and the second half stumpers Corey Feldman’s. There couldn’t be two stars with divergent career paths. I mean have you seen Feldman lately? He’s pretty much a novelty EDM act cult leader, but seems completely oblivious to this unlike the rest of the world.
Samuel L’s: Second Half Breakouts
Rafael Devers, 3B Red Sox:
First Half | .238/.303/.342 4 HR, 29 RBIs, 7 SB
Second Half | .330/.369/.548 8 HR, 46 RBIs, 11 SB
Devers credited his second half boom to long hours in the cage and a focused approach. His splits are some of the more staggering on this list raising his average and slugging 100+ points apiece half over half. At 19 he’s advanced for his age, and shows the type of bat speed that should one day enable him to hit for plus power.
Isan Diaz, 2B/SS Brewers:
First Half | .232/.309/.370 6 HR, 36 RBIs, 5 SB
Second Half | .292/.399/.560 14 HR, 39 RBIs, 6 SB
After beginning the season as the youngest player in the Midwest League, Diaz settled in around June 1st and went on an absolute tear, illustrated above in the numbers. Half over half the shortstop raised his slugging nearly 200 points. One of my favorite prospects.
Francis Martes, RHP Astros:
First Half | 3.65 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 8.03 K/9, 4.09 Bb/9
Second Half | 3.10, 1.13, 10.59 K/9, 2.58 Bb/9
I’ve discuss it ad nauseam in recent posts, but Martes first half, and season numbers, are skewed by a really bad April. He’s still one of the top 5 pitching prospects in baseball, and brings the sort of swing and miss potential the Astros rotation sorely misses.
How many times will I discuss Brinson post trade? Who knows, I’m not sure I can help it! Brinson’s season really comes down to before and after his DL stint that gobbled up most of his June. Coincidently that date just so happens to be his official halfway point as well. Upon activation, Brinson boosted his overall slashline significantly across the board. He was then traded to the Brewers, and assigned to Colorado Springs where he raked. Strangely Brinson’s counting stats didn’t deviate much, despite the improved ratios. At this point Brinson is riding the crest of a value spike. Whether or not he can delivery on it is another story.
Austin Riley, 3B Braves:
First Half | .252/.301/.382 4 HR, 27 RBIs, 2 SB
Second Half | .284/.343/.571 18 HR, 61 RBIs, 1 SB
Four to eighteen, that’s more or less what it comes down to, no? After receiving his fair share of offseason top 100 hype, Riley was a total first half dud. However in the second half he found his power stroke, and helped lead Rome to the Sally league title.
I’ve discussed a lot of Bellinger of late between my minor league updates and the Prospect pod. There’s a good reason for that, his second half. Much like Riley he’s another player that spent much of his first half tarnishing his pre-season top 100 buzz, only to boom in the second half. Bellinger should see a long look in the PCL next year, and maybe some at bats with the Dodgers.
Increased velocity led to increased swings and misses, and a renewed prospect stock. Beede certainly wasn’t pitching badly in the first half, but he was boring, and the K’s make him exciting for fantasy. Should spend a good chunk of 2017 in AAA before seeing some starts in San Fran.
Sheffield took to the Yankees organization nicely following the Andrew Miller trade. His K’s rose significantly upon arrival, and a late season start at AA Trenton hints to an early season assignment there. Sheffield is still two years away from contributing to your fantasy team, but in 2016 he took a step forward in the battle to shake bullpen risk.