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A.L. Central

“That’s Amore!” Winning Your League Through the AL & NL Central

It’s time to panic! The season is now halfway over, and we can see the playoffs in the distant horizon. If you’re currently situated in a playoff spot, now is Commercialthe time to find small pieces to shore up your roster. If you’re like me, and many others, the trading deadline is approaching and it’s time to make or break your season. In my opinion, redraft leagues can be tricky when it comes to making a move that can make waves come playoff time. Naturally, everyone wants the trade to be fair, but that isn’t always the case if a playoff contender is trading with a bottom feeder. Trading draft picks allow easier access to trades in dynasty and keeper leagues. One owner can build for the playoffs while the other can stock up on draft picks for the following season.

This week I want to focus on the AL and NL Central. I’ll be breaking down players that should be owned, or acquired, in fantasy leagues moving forward. We will look not only at basic statistics, but other sabermetrics that can aid in presenting the data we need when selecting players for the playoffs. I’m a firm believer that owners will almost always ove pay when it comes to a playoff push acquisition. It’s very similar to the MLB trade deadline. Specifically, for keeper and dynasty leagues, certain owners get the chance to be greedy if they possess pieces necessary to help other owners make a deep push in the playoffs. A little advice, be greedy! If you are this owner, make sure you get exactly what you want. If you’re looking to build for next year then get the other owner(s) to offer a nice haul. Remember, if they’ve initiated trade talks then you have the upper hand. There’s no harm in building for next season.  We are at a great time in MLB. Many young talents are about to get the call, and there are those who are about to blossom into superstars.

There’s no questioning the talent in both the AL and NL Central. We’ve seen all-stars on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. There are dynamite starting pitchers as well as closers that have helped numerous fantasy baseball teams. The questions moving forward are which players need to be owned moving forward, and which can be attained on the cheaper side?

Matt Szczur, OF, CHC

I’m sure no one thought Szczur would be on the list of players to keep an eye on. However, Joe Maddon trusts Matt Szczur and he may see an increase in playing time moving forward. He’s already getting pinch-hit at-bats, and he’s produced when given the opportunity. While his overall Contact% sits in the middle of the pack at 76.4%, the outfielder has shown the ability to be in the upper-half of players in terms of Hard%. While he’s not owned in many leagues, he’s a player I’d keep an eye on. He’s already on the roster, and if any setback occur Szczur could seen an increase in at-bats.

Todd Frazier, 3B, CWS

There’s no questioning the power in Frazier’s bat. If you’re lacking a little bit of pop then Frazier could be a player to target. While his batting average hinders his value, there’s no questioning the damage Frazier can do with one swing of the bat. His 31.7 Hard% and 52.8 Pull% makes it clear that he is a Frazierpower hitter that loves pulling the ball. He currently has 25 home runs, and there is no question he will make a run at last season’s career-high 35 home runs. If you own him, you could acquire extra mid-round draft picks. If you’re looking to acquire Frazier’s services, he could come at a reasonable price compared to a lot of other power hitters.

Joey Votto, 1B, CIN

Votto isn’t a player that will come as an absolute steal. However, his value is a lot lower than it could be. He’s sitting just over .260 with 14 HR and 42 RBI. I believe Votto is primed for a big second half, and he can be acquired at the right price. He’s another player that can provide immediate power and make a difference for your roster moving forward. He currently sits second to David Ortiz in Hard% throughout MLB. There’s no question the Reds are close to full rebuild mode. If an owner acquires Votto, and he’s moved to a better team in the near future, then there’s no question he can have a greater return than just this season.

Jonathan Lucroy, C, MIL

It’s not a question of if, but when Lucroy will be traded. He’s arguably a top-five catcher and is having another dynamite season. I’ve read reports that MLB: All Star Game-Workout Daythe Indians, Mets, and a number of other teams could look to acquire him. If the Mets see anymore injuries, they could find themselves out of the playoff picture fast. For that reason, I think the Mets are the least likely to acquire Lucroy. He has one of the best combinations at Z-Contact% and Contact% at 88.8% and 81.4% respectively. There are few catchers that can make a difference like Lucroy. He’s going to cost owners, but he is that special difference maker that can help from the catching position come playoffs.

Justin Upton, OF, DET

This one is for Coach Macuga. There’s no questioning the 2016 struggles of Justin Upton. Isn’t he too good of a hitter to struggle for this long? He’s one of the best hitters to acquire on the cheap end of the spectrum. There is no way an owner can ask the world for the struggling slugger. However, if you’re on the other side of things you have to temper expectations in what you can acquire in return for Upton. I’m learning this first-hand.

Seung Hwan Oh, RP, STL

The struggles of Trevor Rosenthal make him a buy-low candidate, however Mike Matheny made it clear they won’t use him in close games. Oh has gotten the early look at saves and converted two as of late. Oh has been a hot addition off the waiver wire, and he’s a player than can be acquired for about as cheap as it comes. He will solidify any pitching staff, and should see a solid number of save chances moving forward. His WHIP sits at an incredible 0.88, and it gets better. He’s left nearly 73.9% of runners on base, and has a healthy 11.85 K/9. If you’re looking for a recently-crowned closer then Oh is the perfect solution.

Jordan Zimmermann, SP, DET

Zimmermann is 9-4 with a 3.95 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and has accumulated 60 strikeouts to only 18 walks. He’s been on the DL with a strained neck, and Tigersnow is the perfect time to acquire the righty. He may not be the greatest option, but he plays for a team that can score often. He’s a veteran who knows how to pitch. While his LOB% is the lowest it’s been in his career (66.2%) I’m hoping he can turn it around in the second half. I believe he will finish the season with 16+ wins and has been a great pick in fantasy drafts. Zimmermann will be one of the most reasonable pitchers to acquire. I’d suggest getting him while he’s on the shelf as his price is lower than it will be in a few weeks.





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Major League Fantasy Football Radio: Join Ej GarrCorey D Roberts, and Coach Jeff Nelson live Saturday July 16th from 1-2:30pm EST for episode #64 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. This is a live broadcast and we take callers at 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the hosts. This week we will break down the NFC North from an NFL and fantasy perspective.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”


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Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio: Join Corey D RobertsKyle Amore, and Coach Andy Macuga live on Sunday July 17th, 2016 from 8-10pm EST for episode #73 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host.

Kyle is a writer with Andy is the Head Baseball Coach for Borrego Springs H.S. in Southern California as well as a 4 year veteran in MLFB leagues.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”


I'm a former collegiate and semi-pro baseball player. I underwent successful Tommy John Surgery in 2008, and can give a wide-range of tips on the surgery and rehabilitation. Chicago sports are the love of my life [Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls] as well as Serie A football [Forza Rossoneri!]. 2018 will be my fourth writing for Major League Fantasy Sports, and each season gets better than the previous. 2016 was very emotional for Cubs fans alike. After 108 years, they finally scaled the mountaintop! "Baseball been berry, berry good to me!"

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