This week is obviously the all star break, and the first game picks up tonight, but there isn’t much in terms of official stats to help give this weeks article too depth. Though there are players out there who finished the season with a strong week and deserves some recognition. Now that the second half of the season is starting, its time to start deciding with your team whether you are going to go for the title this season, or decide to sell and retool for next season.
Under 50% Owned
Brett Garnder- OF (NYY)
Brett Gardner leads this group off as he has had a hot past two weeks. In that time he hit just below .300 AVG with 4HR and 2SB. Going into the all star break Gardner was getting every day at bats, I would expect that to continue until Maybin comes back. And it goes without being said that when Stanton comes back he will take at bats away from Gardner and he will go back to a bench bat. As of right now I would view him as a fill in outfielder for your fantasy teams.
Alex Verdugo- OF (LAD)
Alex Verdugo is the guy to snag if you are in a keeper league. If he is somehow available I would do what I could to add him. Verdugo is off to a solid start for the dodgers and there is no reason to believe that it should slow down. For the season, Verdugo is hitting .303 AVG and while the home runs or stolen bases are spectacular, there is room to grow in the future. It surprises me that he is owned in less than 50% of leagues especially on ESPN where the default roster has 5 outfielders. If you play in a league where there are less, there can be reason to not roster Verdugo. He should be a solid option in your lineup, though he would unlikely be a superstar this season. There is a lot of potential for the future in this bat.
Danny Jansen- C (TOR)
Lately James McCann has been getting the recognition he has finally deserved for being a great catcher in real life and in fantasy. Though there is a second catcher who deserves the same recognition and that is Danny Jansen. Danny was a top prospect and there were many articles across the industry praising his skills in the preseason. Unfortunately, he got off to a very slow start. Though he quietly has turned it around and had a great past month. He hit over .300 AVG with 6 HR along with an OPS over .950. If he keeps it up, Jansen could finish with around 20 home runs. If you aren’t getting great production from your catcher I would see if you can snag Jansen and your league won’t know what they are missing out on.
Under 25% Owned
Jesus Aguilar- 1B (MIL)
Similar to Jansen, Jesus started out the season very slowly and has been a big disappointment after such a great season last year. Also similar to Jansen, over the past month Jesus has really turned it around to where he has hit half of his season totals in home runs (4) and done it with an average of .341. This could be a major buy low for fantasy teams that need help at first base. Now Jesus really turned it up in the final weekend before the break, but it could be a good sign of things to come in the second half. If you need some help in power and are willing to take on a high risk/ high reward then Jesus is your guy.
Jeimer Candelario- 3B (DET)
We will just continue the streak of hitters that got off to a slow start with Jeimer. Just getting called up within two weeks ago has helped Jeimer stay low on the radar. Over just 40 at bats, hes hitting .350 AVG with 4 HR and an OPS at 1.160. Coming into the season, some pegged Jeimer for a breakout and clearly the beginning of the season was not his friend. Hopefully he figured out what he needed to and can really enjoy a second half breakout. I would add him as a bench spot for now and see if the breakout continues. Jeimer can be found in most leagues as he is owned in less than 5% on both ESPN and Yahoo.
Michael Brosseau- 3B (TB)
Michael may not have been the hottest hitter this past week, he put together some really good at bats against the Yankees. Being a Yankee fan, I watched most of their games this past weekend and was very impressed with how difficult it was to get him out. With under 30 at bats, the sample size is tremendously small, but he hit 1 HR and is hitting with a .385 average. Adding him to this article is a hope to add him to your radar and see what happens. It should also be noted that while his primary position is third, he has played four games at second so it can help his value adding that eligibility.
Kevin Kiermaier- OF (TB)
If you need a little boost in steals then Kiermaier may the guy to grab off the wire. He won’t win you the category all by himself, but he can contribute. It definitely helps his value of hitting .260 over the past month and .278 over the past two weeks. If I had a choice I would grab Kevin over Gardner, due to Kevin would be more likely to steal a base.
Christian Walker- 1B (ARI)
A buddy of mine came to me a few years ago and told me about Christian Walker. He told me that while he was blocked by Goldschmidt at the time, when he got his chance Walker would be good. Well this year Walker has gotten many opportunities. It has been a little up and down overall, but that could be expected with a young hitter. He has 16 HR with a .263 AVG, which isn’t great but definitely could be worse. Walker could be owned in a deeper NL only league right now. I’m not ready for him to be an everyday first basemen on my mixed leagues just yet. Though going into the break Walker was hitting .400 with 3HR. If he can continue that start in the second half then you will see Walker gain a lot of ground and recognition.