Buy, Sell or Hold These Home Run Sluggers for the Second Half
This year’s Home Run Derby reminded America why we are forever fascinated by the long ball. Power also holds a certain mystique in Fantasy Baseball, with elite power hitters often times being valued above their true market worth. We all know the Derby has had ill effects on the second halves of many participants, so setting aside the debate over whether that is myth or fact, here’s five sluggers from this year’s Home Run Derby and what you should do with them as your league’s trade deadline approaches.
[caption id="attachment_108853" align="alignright" width="465"] Can Giancarlo Stanton keep up the hot hitting fresh off his HR Derby win. Photo Credit : Steven King/Icon Sportswire[/caption]
Giancarlo Stanton (OF, Marlins) - We have been hearing about Stanton’s 50 HR power potential since he debuted back in 2010. While he does likely have the best raw power in today’s game, injuries and the surrounding lineup has certainly held down his numbers thus far. He has hit 37 HRs twice, in 123 and 145 games respectively. He has had only one season of more than 87 RBI (105 in 2014). Already this season, Stanton has again missed time to injury and went through a brutal five week stretch from May to mid-June that saw him strike out 50 times in 114 at-bats while hitting just .158 with two HRs and seven RBI in 32 games. Stanton won’t turn 27 until November and we have yet to see the best of his abilities. Fresh off of his mammoth display at the Derby, Stanton will look to continue his hot July hitting. He’s a hold for seasonal leagues, as a torrid second half could propel your team in the HR and RBI categories. Buy him if someone in your league is looking to sell.
Wil Myers (OF/1B, Padres) - Talent has never been a question, but injuries almost wiped Myers right off the Fantasy map heading into this season. For those that snagged him in the late rounds or off of the waiver wire, they are enjoying a beastly three months of production. He’ll have a new career high in games played with 89 by the end of the week while already setting career highs with 19 HRs, 15 SBs, 61 Runs and 60 RBI. Myers is just 25 years old and is finally healthy, which makes this a great time to trade him off in seasonal formats. Even if he stays off of the disabled list, it is going to be very tough to keep up this pace. Send a league-wide email that you are shopping him, but make sure you don’t trade him just to ship him out. You need to find someone to overpay and give you proven talent to fill multiple needs. I would be far less interested in moving him in a keeper format where he is extremely affordable for the foreseeable future.
Todd Frazier (3B, White Sox) - The pride of Tom’s River, NJ is off to a fast start in the power department with 25 dongs and 57 RBI at the All-Star Break. While it is not a sharp decline, Frazier has historically been more productive in the season’s first half than the second. In the first half, he has hit a HR every 17 at-bats, but in the second half it has dropped to one in 24. The power is very real and he has a great shot at hitting 40, which would exceed the career-best 35 he had last season, as he hit 16 dingers after winning the Home Run Derby as a member of the Reds. However, this year he is striking out at a higher rate and his .213 average is only masked by his home run total. I do expect the average to rise a bit (he does have a very low BABIP right now) and the power to stay, but I am still selling if I can parlay him and another player into an upgrade.
Mark Trumbo (OF/1B, Orioles) - Trumbo launched 95 homers in his last three years with the Angels, but found himself traded to the Diamondbacks prior to the 2014 season before finding his way to Camden Yards. He’s always been a low-average power hitter that strikes out a ton, but will give you the HR and RBI totals you’ve been looking for. He struggled to get back to previous form in 2014 and 2015, but Trumbo is on pace for career highs across the board. The most surprising stat has to be his .288 average. Perhaps it won’t stay at that level, but even a .250-.260 average with his type of power makes him an elite option in the category. Given his track record, it may be best to keep Trumbo and ride the wave in the second half.
Adam Duvall (OF, Reds) - Duvall had a track record of power throughout the minors, so it should not be quite as much of a surprise that he popped 23 HRs before the All-Star Break, including a span of 15 games in late May and early June where he mashed 10 round trippers. He has struck out in almost a third of his at-bats and is fairly allergic to walks. His overall numbers have been solid thus far and his .249 average is forgivable, thanks in part to his HR production. The big question is whether or not Duvall can keep this pace up in the second half. It is not likely, but the HRs should still be there. The problem is not many believe in him and that certainly keeps his trade value down. Should you be able to find someone in desperate need of power, then by all means capitalize on that and show him the door. The worst case if you cannot find any takers means you have to keep Duvall and deal with the power spurts while also contending with his mediocre batting average.
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