Hold/Fold: The Middle

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet.
it’s only in your head, you feel left out.
or looked down on.
Just do your best, (do your best)
do everything you can (do everything you can)
don’t worry what their bitter hearts,
are gonna’ say.” ~ Jimmy Eat World “The Middle”

Everything is yet to play for in the fantasy season. Depending on your league, you may still have 6 weeks to make a run at the playoffs. You may only have 2. You may be firmly in the mix or completely out of it. Keep fighting. Build for next year. Knock someone else out of the playoffs. Play for pride. Or for the lucky among us, make that final push toward a championship. Just don’t write yourself off yet.

It’s the middle of the year, and it’s the middle of the season. You absolutely know who your studs and duds are at this point. You have a solid idea of who might be a building block in keeper and dynasty formats as well as what pieces you might move or acquire for the rest of the year. So you know the top of your roster and you know the bottom of it. Whether you are gearing up for a run or looking to the future, there’s lots of tinkering that can be done in the middle.

Hold ‘Em

JA Happ

Happ was so good as recently as last year. Then this year, it seemed the wheels fell off. The strikeouts are way down and the ERA is up, almost as though he got old overnight.

That said, while he’s not the solid 2 or 3 starter you drafted him to be, he’s quietly been productive since late May. Since he took the mound on May 25th, he’s given up 4 runs or fewer in 7 of 8 starts, 3 or fewer in 6 of 8, and 2 or fewer in 5 of 8. Ignoring an 8 run shellacking on June 23rd, and he’s been at least serviceable since the end of May. Even with that miserable June 23rd start, that’s a run of 8 starts, 42.2 innings and 36 k with a 4.64 ERA. But without that one lousy start, it’s 38.2 innings of 34 ks and a 3.30 ERA. That’s a pretty decent run to be on, and if your team needs some innings or someone is not paying attention, you should pounce.

Todd Frazier

Quietly, Todd Frazier hit .274/.384/.547 with 8 home runs in June. He’s slumped a bit so far in July, going only 4-23, but with 12 hr, a more than palatable .255 batting average and a newfound ability to draw a walk, Frazier could be a cheap, productive upgrade at a UTIL or CI slot down the stretch.

Rougned Odor

Listen, no one is telling you he’s fantastic. He wouldn’t know a walk if it bit him. He swings at everything and strikes out a ton. But after an abysmal April and May, Odor hit .231 in June. He’s hitting .242 so far in July. He has 13 home runs and 7 steals (though he’s been caught 6 times).

The thing with Odor is that everyone knows he was awful, but quietly he’s returned to the kind of awful you can play in a UTIL spot or MI spot and hope for enough power or speed to get away with it. It’s weird to say, but if your league counts steals instead of net steals, despite the hundred point difference in batting average, the extra power and speed might represent an upgrade over someone like David Fletcher.

Fold ‘Em

Max Fried

Basically, Mike Foltynewicz, last year’s ace, is in AAA. Kevin Gausman, while generating awful results in 2019, is still around too. There are trade targets out there too. And Max Fried’s ERA has gone 2.30, 4.11, 5.68, and 9.00 (in 1 start) by month. Maybe Happ found whatever his fellow lefty Fried lost?

Dan Vogelbach

This is not a straight call – don’t cut him or give him away for nothing. Vogelbach still has plenty of value. But there’s room to improve here too, especially if you can get someone to pay you for the breakout.

By month, Vogelbach’s home run totals have gone 8 to 7 to 5 to 1 so far. He can’t run. His OPS has gone from 1.195 to .717 to .840 to .675 by month. He has a great eye and good power. But he can’t give you anything beyond that – no average and no speed (at all). If you could trade that for a more well-rounded bat it might be just the boost you need.

Jean Segura

The OPS has declined every month. .872 to .767 to .698 to .636 so far in July. He does run a bit, but he’s fallen well off the pace of the rest of the shortstop class. JP Crawford has an OPS+ OF 118 for crying out loud! So does Kevin Newman! With shortstops breaking out everywhere you look, Segura’s 10/7 in decline is not that appealing moving forward. Even Andrelton Simmons, who has an identical 94 OPS+ runs more! There are options galore at shortstop, and nearly all of them do a thing or two better than Segura.

 

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Seth Bias

Written by 

I'm Seth. I love baseball, especially the Braves, and rock n' roll on vinyl. Books, sandals and tacos too, though I find most of my money for those things going to vinyl these days. Once turned Prince Fielder into Justin Verlander and Paul Goldschmidt in a dynasty league. Also ashamed to say I once cut Jose Ramirez. I don't hate your favorite team unless your favorite team is the Nationals or Phillies. May or may not have cried when David Justice hit that home run in game 6 of the 95 World Series - though if you actually ask me, I'll claim I did not.

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