Deconstructing: All-Star Edition
Imagine for a minute that you had free reign to add any three players to your team for the second half, while punishing a heated rival by tagging them with three more of your choice. That's basically the essence of this week's revised format: three players who will heat up post-All-Star break and three who will break down faster than you can say
The Deconstructed component will still exist within the six picks so as to give you the lowdown on precisely why each player will improve or decline. Hopefully this will whet your appetite more than seeing
In 2007, he posted an .823 OPS that made his first-half .704 OPS look every bit as puny as it was. Cracking nearly 20 homers and tripling his stolen base total -- from nine to 27 -- sure didn't hurt. It got even better last year. After hitting a putrid .228 with a .696 OPS in the first half bringing nearly as many "Will he develop into a star?" questions as we saw this year, he went on to bat .278 with an .851 OPS after the midsummer classic.
The mid-July break from action should do wonders for resting his sore groin. (I've always wondered how an athlete describes the cause of that injury when chicks hit on him at a bar.) Young's line drive percentage (18.2) is high enough and his ground ball percentage (27.1) is low enough that he theoretically could get hotter than the Arizona weather in the second half. It would be a dry heat, of course.
Francoeur instantly looked more comfortable at the plate as a Met. Even old-timer
I can't believe I'm about to make this joke, but any chance us New Yorkers will start seeing Shake Shack 'Frenchy' fries if Francoeur continues to mash?
Davis' strikeout struggles are well-documented. They're more epic than Greek mythology. He whiffed 44.2 percent of the time in the first half, and surely would set a record for most K's in a season if he hadn't been demoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Yet his 15 homers indicated what the man can do with a ball when he actually hit it. He could absolutely tear 20-25 homers in the second half if he lowers his K rate to the mid-30s. Just typing that sentence should make half the Rangers fans reading this throw up in their coffee mug.
Gamel has the kind of power that causes general managers to dream while containing a nightmarish propensity to strike out. His power bat would look awfully intimidating on a nightly basis behind Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. Yet his 40 percent strikeout rate causes a justifiable hesitancy among fantasy owners.
If you're willing to wait on a player to mature and have the roster space to allow for potentially long stretches on the bench, then Davis and Gamel are the kind of young players for whom you want to buy low.
It's not like his .258 batting average will get better. His contact rate (62.9 percent) and line drive percentage (14.4) are career lows. There's just not a chance his 26.7 HR/FB percentage stays at its current rate. He's already four homers short of his total from last year in 214 fewer at-bats.
The 15 steals might be flukey, too, considering they're the most he's attained on any level of professional baseball. I've been pulling the following stat on my buddies at a dizzying rate: Reynolds and Albert Pujols are the only two corner infielders with 20-plus homers and 10-plus steals. It's a great stat and shows the fantasy value that Reynolds has surprisingly delivered.
Yet no man who makes so little contact and who has been so lucky with driving the ball over the fence can keep it up for another half of the year. So just trade Reynolds before you begin feeling like a word that sounds similar to D-back.
Don't trade the guy because of his impending physical doom. Trade him because his .345 BABIP -- the highest of his career -- is helping prop up his .307 batting average. Trade him because he hits 11 points lower in the second half than in the first for his career. Trade him because his walk rate, 7.8 percent, is at a career-low rate. If you don't, then think twice about crying to RotoExperts on Twitter (
Already with 22 home runs, the 33-year-old has never gone yard more than 24 times in a season. He's on his eighth big league team and, realistically-speaking, could turn to his ninth if the Mariners fall out of the AL West race and decide it's best to deal a powerful veteran.
You can make all the comparisons between the rock-solid 6-foot-3, 200-pound Branyan and similarly-named Paul Bunyan that you like. He's not going to continue busting out his lumber at the same rate as he did in the first half.