Second Half Category Leaders

I have been looking through my roto leagues – well, all my leagues – the past few days trying to assess my needs for the final stretch. There are a number of hitting categories I could make a run at, but who should I be looking to acquire. That’s the million dollar question many people are asking themselves. I made several lists of potential targets, one of which is listed below. I’ve always been a fan of players that start out strong after the break. Just like hot bats in spring training carry over into April, hot starts after the break can carry over into August – and hopefully September.

With that in mind, I made a short list of the top post all-star scorers for each of the standard fantasy categories. I know there will be some big (and affordable) names, but I also know there will be a few bargain and buy-low opportunities to be had. Maybe… just maybe, you can get a hold of a few of them and give yourself that extra push for the stretch run.

  • All stats through July 31

Runs

Matt Chapman (14): You would think Chapman, batting towards the bottom half of the lineup, would have more RBI opportunities (6), but he is experiencing a reversal of fortune. His 14 runs lead the majors in the second half and just may be on waivers.

Ian Kinsler, Rhys Hoskins, Rougned Odor, Christian Yelich (12): It’s no surprise to see Hoskins and Yelich here, but Odor and Kinsler? Kinsler .239 average has owners ready to bail, but he is heating up and now could have even more value in Boston. Odor could come just as cheap with only 10 home runs on the year, but like Kinsler he is swinging a hot bat and could be primed for a strong second half – that or they were both just due for a good stretch.

RBI

Khris Davis (20): Davis is second in the league in RBI to J.D. Martinez so seeing him drive in this many is expected.

Nick Ahmed, Jonathan Schoop (15): Schoop put up that total prior to being moved to Milwaukee. If he can do that in the lowly Orioles lineup imagine what he can do with a better lineup and much friendlier home park. As for Ahmed, it doesn’t look as if he will continue this torrid pace. He might make a quick plug and play option for those that have been plugging the hole for Correa or maybe Bogaerts if yesterdays plunking costs him a few days.

Kole Calhoun, Rhys Hoskins, Matt Carpenter, Christian Yelich (14): Again, no surprise with Hoskins and Yelich. Carpenter has improved each month after a dismal April and any chance at buying the multi-eligible slugger as basically gone. Calhoun is the big surprise to see here – he and his .209 batting average. A .322 average and 10 home runs in July vaults him onto the leaderboard, and a change in approach could mean we could see more positive results moving forward. He makes for a cheap trade target and like Chapman above he could be on waivers.

Home Runs

Khris Davis (8): Those eight home runs put Davis right behind the league leaders, J.D. Martinez, Jose Ramirez and Mike Trout.

Jonathan Schoop, Rhys Hoskins, Matt Carpenter (7): Man, Hoskins is all over the place as the Phillies look to secure their spot at the top of the NL East. You would also figure Carpenter to be here considering how well he is hitting. Schoop had 10 home runs prior to the all-star break so it’s nice to see some life in his bat.

Mike Trout, Eugenio Suarez, Nolan Arenado, Salvador Perez, Yonder Alonso (5): The first three names have been a steady power source all season. Perez is now two home runs short of his fourth consecutive 20 home runs season – hopefully you made a move for him when he only had 13 as his price has now gone up. Alonso is streaky, posting 13 home runs in April and July but only four in May and June. He is not a trade target, but he is easily a guy to grab off waivers when those balls are flying.

Stolen Bases

Whit Merrifield (6): Tied for fourth in the league with Ender Inciarte, but unlike Inciarte he is batting .297. The last 14 days haven’t been kind though (10 for 46), but don’t read too much into this mini slump.

Mike Trout, Jose Ramirez (5): Trout joins the 30/20 club and Ramirez is five shy of being part of the 30/30 elite.

Trea Turner, Rougned Odor (4): Finally someone other than Billy Hamilton is the league leader in steals – we still have two months left though. Coming into July it didn’t look like Odor would reach double digits. He may tie or exceed his career high from last year (15), but with a declining success rate I would not count on Odor running much in the coming years.

Batting Average (H/AB)

Christian Yelich (25 for 50), Lourdes Gurriel (16 for 32): I know Gurriel is now on the DL, but I will still acknowledge his accomplishments. Yelich, like Hoskins, is just damn good at everything.

Rougned Odor and Matt Chapman (18 for 46), Ian Kinsler (15 for 35): All three players were mentioned above as swing a hot bat, but now you know how good they have been. I’ve been riding the Chapman train ever since Kris Bryant went down and odds are he will stay in my lineup even when Bryant returns. There is zero reason for any of these guys to be on your bench.

Javier Baez (16 for 44), Elvis Andrus (16 for 45) Anthony Rizzo (17 for 48), Matt Carpenter (18 for 48): It’s nice to see Rizzo here, but I know owners would much rather see him under the home run category. Baez is one steal away from 20/20 and holds an even .300 average for the season. Not bad for a mid-round pick, and hopefully you took him as a backup for Andrus. He is the poster boy for disappointment with only four steals – the one category you thought he was safe for. He has a number of red flags in his underlying metrics so don’t think this is a bounce back. I would sell high and now to a believer.

A few honorable mentions: Gregory Polanco, Miguel Andujar, Juan Soto, David Fletcher and Dee Gordon are all batting over .350 since the break.

*****

Some of the names here were expected. The big names will cost you an arm and a leg, maybe even your first-born. There are some bargains to be had, though, and potentially a few freebies if your league-mates have been asleep at the wheel. There are only two months left to make up ground in roto leagues, and around four weeks before playoffs in H2H. If you are lacking in a specific category you may want to look into the players above.

 

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Jim Finch

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The self proclaimed Grand High Exhausted Mystic Ruler of Fantasy Baseball. While I am not related to Jennie or Sidd Finch, I will attempt to uphold the integrity of the Finch family name as it relates to baseball. You can also find me at FanRagSports.com