There have been many disappointing performances in the first half of the Fantasy Baseball season. I examine a few players who will be better the rest of the way and in many cases can be acquired at a discount.
Jason Kipnis (Indians/2B): Kipnis has been one of the biggest disappointments considering he was drafted in the first three rounds of most drafts. Coming off a .284 batting average, 86 runs, 17 home runs, 84 RBI and 30 stolen bases, many thought he would exceed those numbers. He started slowly and then spent time on the disabled list with an oblique injury. It’s possible he came back too early from the injury since the power has been absent. Kipnis is batting .255 with 34 runs, three home runs, 24 RBI and 13 stolen bases. Kipnis has a 4.6 home run/fly ball ratio, which is below his career average of 10.8 percent. Kipnis hasn’t homered since returning from the disabled list, but he has been better this month, batting .294 with 10 runs and five stolen bases.
J.J. Hardy (Orioles/SS): Hardy was one of the more perplexing players in the first half. The one aspect of his game that you can count on is power. In each season he has played at least 129 games, Hardy hit at least 22 home runs. Surprisingly, in 328 at-bats Hardy has hit just three home runs and didn’t hit his first homer until June 21. Since joining the Orioles in 2011, Hardy has hit 30, 22 and 25 home runs. Hardy has an extremely low 2.9 home run/fly ball percentage and his career average is 10.8 percent. Look for more home runs in the second half.
Wade Miley (Diamondbacks/SP): Miley is 5-6 with a 4.18 ERA and 1.24 WHIP and a recent surge has helped those numbers. Miley has a 22.4 percent strikeout rate, 7.2 percent walk rate, a 48.8 percent groundball rate and a 10.2 percent swinging strike rate. Coming off a June with a 4.85 ERA that had many owners giving up on Miley, he has rebounded in July with a 1.25 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, and a 22:4 K:BB ratio in 21 2/3 innings.
Chris Davis (Orioles/1B): It wasn’t difficult to see that Davis was one of the first-round players that would disappoint, but a .199 average is surprising. A .252 BABIP is well below his .326 career average even though he has a career-high 26.6 percent line drive rate. Davis had 15 home runs and 48 RBI before the All-Star break, so he hasn’t been awful but the expectations were higher. Davis will be much better the rest of the way.
Mike Minor (Braves/SP): Minor has been awful lately. He’s giving up a ton of home runs and getting hit hard. Minor returned from the disabled list in May and had a 3.41 ERA before a 5.90 ERA in June and a 6.23 ERA in 17 1/3 innings this month. Left-handers have a .553 slugging percentage against him and he has allowed 14 home runs in 83 1/3 innings. Minor has a 21.4 percent strikeout rate, 6.5 percent walk rate and a .343 BABIP. Minor is worth a shot if you need some pitching help at a discount.
Kole Calhoun (Angels/OF): Calhoun was a player I had on my undervalued list before the season. While he’s not as disappointing as some of the players listed above, the perception of his performance might be low. He got off to a slow start, going 20-for-88 (.227) over the season’s first two months, and he spent time on the disabled list. At times, he has been bumped from the top spot in the order and even sat against some left-handers. Calhoun turned it around in June, batting .346 with 20 runs, four home runs and 13 RBI, and he’s continued to hit this month with a .333 average, 13 runs, three home runs and six RBI in 13 July games. Overall, Calhoun is batting .295 with 49 runs, 10 home runs, 25 RBI and three stolen bases. Expect Calhoun to stay in the lead off role and put up excellent numbers in the second half in a good lineup.
All stats entering Thursday July 17.