The symbolic midway point of the Major League Baseball season gives Fantasy owners a few days to make an under-the-radar pickup (when they think no one else is paying attention) or get the trade talks rolling before the games start up again. A former All-Star can be a great midseason pick-me-up, as these players have proven to be quality performers following the Midsummer Classic.
As we are realistically 60 percent into the 2016 season, these players are what their numbers say they are at this point. If someone is having a breakout year, I’ll believe that they’re for real. If someone who has been an All-Star over the past few years is having a down season thus far, I say it’s time to buy low and trade for them — as more times than not, these players will revert back to the numbers we’ve become accustomed to.
Some of these players are coming off injuries, others are having uncharacteristically bad first halves, and the rest are simply available in a few too many leagues. These former All-Stars should all have big second halves and will improve your team coming out of the break. Each and every season, these veterans heat up at the All-Star Break, so make it a priority to snag these sluggers or pick up these pitchers as they all make worthy additions in the coming weeks.
Grab Gordon for Post All-Star Gains
Plain and simple, Alex Gordon’s first half numbers were bad. The three-time All-Star is batting just over the Mendoza line (.207) and has just 24 runs scored and 14 RBIs through 57 games. This is a player who bats 60 points higher for his career and is usually good for 90 runs and 80 RBIs in a season.
To put things into perspective, at the All-Star Break last year, Gordon had 32 runs scored, 39 RBIs and 11 homers to go along with a .279 batting average. That’s the real player Gordon is.
A freak injury derailed the outfielder early this season, but he’s now healthy and primed for a big second half for the defending champs. Owned in 40 percent of leagues, I’m actually amazed how many Fantasy leaguers have held on to despite the injury and poor first half.
Gordon should start to generate his usual value for those very patient Fantasy owners, as August is a month in which the outfielder has career highs in all five standard categories. In 198 August games, the former All-Star has put up 119 runs, 35 homers, 97 RBIs, 22 stolen bases, and a .279 batting average.
Expect numbers similar to those, but the truth is, he can only go up from here. You can either act now or wait until we get closer to the end of the month but I’d suggest picking up Gordon before the calendar turns to August.
Plan to Pluck Peralta Off Waivers
Jhonny Peralta remains a key cog in the Cardinals’ lineup. And July is Jhonny’s month, so expect him to be hot coming out of the All-Star Break. With a few extra days to rest his ailing thumb, Peralta is an infielder with the ability to jack 20 homers.
The three-time All-Star ‘s career-best months are May and July, and since he missed May during a two-month stint on the disabled list with a torn thumb ligament, that leaves Peralta with a month where he has hit .282 during his career with 45 homers and 167 RBIs in 295 games. In just 27 games played this season, Peralta has put up four homers, 12 RBIs and 10 runs scored, setting him up for a solid summer batting in the middle of the St. Louis lineup.
He will hit more home runs and have a higher batting average during the second half, just like he does every season that he stays healthy. Look for the shortstop to have lots of RBI chances batting in the heart of a potent lineup over the next 60-plus games. Grab Peralta off waivers and he’ll surely supply home runs and RBIs for your squad over the next couple months.
Secure a Swap for Sonny While Still With A’s
Sonny Gray, an All-Star just one season ago, has had an unimpressive 2016 campaign. A 3-8 record and 5.16 ERA in 16 starts put him on pace for career worsts across the board. Look for the right-hander to be more like the ace he has proven to be over the past two-plus seasons following the ASB.
Ignore his above-5.00 ERA, and focus on his career 3.38 ERA after the break. A 1.20 WHIP and 200 strikeouts in 239 innings aren’t bad either. But combine that with the fact that he’s tallied four quality starts in his last six outings and that he will likely be traded to a contender within the next few weeks, and you’ve got a potential bargain bin ace. His career 3.03 ERA and a 17-12 record away from the Oakland Coliseum makes him an even more appetizing trade option.
Buy low and try to cut a deal for Gray before the A’s ship him to a playoff contender before the August 1 trade deadline.
Dodgers’ Starter Makes Good Bet Down Stretch
In his first season in Dodger blue, Scott Kazmir finished the first half with an impressive 7-3 record, but an unimpressive 4.52 ERA. Thanks to the Dodgers being one of the best teams in baseball, the three-time All-Star was gifted a win here and there but he’s had stellar results over the past six weeks.
Since May 31, Kazmir has given up more than three runs just once (eight starts) while striking out 46 in 40 innings. Look for Kazmir to keep that up after the break, especially with LA needing someone to step in up in the wake of Clayton Kershaw’s back injury.
See if you can make a mid-level trade or if he’s available in your league (65 percent owned) as Kazmir owns a career ERA of 3.68 after the All-Star Break (he has a 4.21 ERA before the break). He also averages nearly a strikeout an inning post-break making the veteran left-hander a bounce-back candidate in the second half. I like pitchers on good teams during the stretch run of the season and making Kazmir part of your plans would be a smart summer move.
Former Closer Creates Bullpen Intrigue
Brad Boxberger led the AL in saves last season, but due to injury was supplanted as the Rays’ closer to start this season. Alex Colome, Boxberger’s replacement, has taken the job and run with it to the tune of a 1.69 ERA, 39 strikeouts in 32 innings and a perfect 19-for-19 in save chances.
With Boxberger now preparing to return (from a second stint on the DL) and the Rays already out of playoff contention, the 2015 All-Star makes for an interesting add. Because Colome has been so great, that makes him even more of a trade chip for sure-to-sell Rays.
If Colome is traded, Boxberger will slide right back into a closer’s role, which he thrived in during 2015. Even without the saves, Boxberger will still help your Fantasy team with his more than a K an inning (1.3, to be exact) and should lower your team’s ERA and WHIP as well.
Bank on Boxberger and these other former All-Stars to make a post All-Star Break impact, whether it be for their Major League squads or your Fantasy team.