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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.

Lewis Brinson, OF Brewers:
First Half | .219/.273/.417 7 HR, 30 RBIs, 8 SB
Second Half | .313/.335/.514 8 HR, 31 RBIs, 9 SB

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.

Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF Dodgers:
First Half | .266/.354/.444 8 HR, 27 RBIs, 3 SB
Second Half | .270/.374/.545 18 HR, 49 RBI, 5 SB

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.

Tyler Beede, RHP Giants:
First Half | 3.10 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 6.56 K/9, 2.23 Bb/9
Second Half | 2.53 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 9.88 K/9, 4.2 Bb/9

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.

Justus Sheffield, LHP Yankees:
First Half | 4.08 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 7.45 K/9, 3.66 Bb/9
Second Half | 2.70 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 10.8 K/9, 4.2 Bb/9

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.

 

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  1. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    Good stuff Prospector Ralph!

    FYI – found this little tid-bit on MLB pipeline:

    MLBPipeline.com: How frequently do people insist on asking you about being related to Gary Sheffield?

    Justus Sheffield: All the time. I have baseball cards that say he’s my uncle. It’s just an old fairy tale. The rumor probably started my freshman year in high school, playing travel ball. We were playing at one school. The next day in the newspaper at the place we were playing, it said he was actually in the stands watching us play. It wasn’t true at all, but I guess that’s what started everything up. But there’s no relation. I’m my own Sheffield, I’m going to start my own name.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Malicious Phenoms: I know how funny is that? It gets repeated like its fact.

  2. griff says:
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    Solid write up. Always look forward to Sunday morning. Have a quick question. In a dynasty format, which catcher do you like better: ramos or tom murphy?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @griff: Depends, I’d go Murphy in dynasty if you’re looking long term. Problem is I don’t know for certain if Murphy is the starter in Colorado. That uncertainty gives me pause about 2017. Think you’d still have to go Ramos if you’re in it next year. If your window is 2018 and on, it’s Murphy.

  3. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    Hey, looking for an arm for next couple of years, most upside, Matt Wisler, Chance Adams, Amir Garrett

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Malicious Phenoms: I want to say Wisler all-around has the best setup. I need to see more of Adams, and Garrett needs to show he can dominate in the minors.

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Yeah, I was thinking the same..Plus Wisler is already in the rotation and has pitched very well at times, this season..I have always liked Braves SP’s.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Malicious Phenoms: Yuppers! Plus NL, plus NL East, plus pitcher’s park.

          • Malicious Phenoms says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: lol, lots of pluses there!

            I feel like I have my own personal pert today…Everybody else must be gettin ready for some football..

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @Malicious Phenoms: Seriously, baseball goes dead mid-August. I guess our advice isn’t good enough to keep them in it for longer ;)

              • Malicious Phenoms says:
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                @Ralph Lifshitz: That is why I love my dynasty league on fantrax. League is open all year long and I made the league so we can trade and add free agents all year long. fantasy baseball is so much better than fantasy football.

                What are your thoughts on Aaron Blair?

                • Ralph Lifshitz

                  Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                  @Malicious Phenoms: Yeah I’ve scaled down all of my leagues to just a couple football.

                  I like Blair but his upside is limited l, should be a solid end of your fantasy rotation in a few years

  4. abdoozy says:
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    Great writeup as always Professor Ralph. If I can bring you back to this season:
    Final week of playoffs. I’m currently 6-6 in my ESPN H2H league (OPS + QS), but struggling with hitting. I’ve had SMarte in the lineup for the duration of his back trouble (13 days and counting), I have Ellsbury who is apparently out for a while, so I’m basically playing 10 vs 12 which isn’t helping my countables a bit.
    Other potential drops of poor performers who are at least starting now: Dahl, Brad Miller, Lamb.
    All categories are close. I don’t keep bench bats so dropping a P isn’t an option.
    I won’t be keeping either SMarte or Ellsbury (it’s a 2 keep league and I have Trout and Harper).
    Would you drop SMarte, Ellsbury, or both in order to pick up some actual batting batters? Or wait it out?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @abdoozy: Ywah I’d drop both, at this point with Marte you can’t wait, particularly if you ain’t keeping him. What are you missing a couple of okay weeks at best? STREAM!

  5. Good stuff, Ralph! Hey–Would you trade J. Profar & Isan Diaz if you had infield depth (I have Correa, Bogaerts, & Altuve) for or 2 of these pitchers: Archie Bradley, McHugh, and/or Gio Gonzalez? If so, which two pitchers? Many thanks!!!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @FANTHEAD: Maybe if it’s real deep. Like a 20+ team or something, I’d want Bradley and Gio. Just not a big fan of McHugh.

  6. Raoul Duke says:
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    Do you like Isan Diaz better than Francisco Mejia?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Raoul Duke: Yeah I do like Diaz more. It’s pretty close but I think his upside is higher.

  7. Rufus Xavier Sasparilla says:
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    Ralph (and Smokey, maybe?)–
    I’m looking toward next year in my 16-team dynasty, which counts both holds and saves. How would you rank these RPs in terms of their likely value next year? Carl Edwards, Derek Law, Brandon Maurer, or Edubray Ramos? I would think that Edwards stands a chance of gaining the closer job. Law I have no idea. I can’t see Maurer remaining at closer next year. What about Ramos? Any thoughts? Thanks for your prognostication.

  8. Clint says:
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    So, after getting eliminated in the divisional round of my 1st year 14 team h2h pts dynasty league, I’m reflecting on my strategy & something Grey mentioned yesterday tells me I may be taking the wrong approach w/my team. I’ve made deals & drafted for pure youth which seems to have been my downfall, especially as some of the prospects come up to either be dumped or replace that youth themselves and the waiver wire appears to have more stable vets available on it.

    I guess my question is: will you have a dynasty ranking list out before the spring including all the prospects so it’s easier to tell who the vets are to hang onto & which young studs need to be kept, Ralph?

    The challenge I think I’m having trouble facing is keeping guys like Profar, Berrios, Reed, and/or Matt Moore rostered when the wire has guys like Carter, Andrus, Semien, and/or Pineda to it. And that problem’s compounded when a call up like Tapia, Dahl, or Winker were to occur.

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