Second Half Bold Predictions (Fantasy Baseball)
After a short All-Star break, things are going to pick right back up here. Throughout the first half, there have certainly been a few surprises. Before the season, if someone told you Aaron Judge would be the hottest thing in all of baseball at the end of the first half, you would probably have laughed.
No one is laughing now except his owners who are probably near the top of the home runs category. So with that in mind, we set out to provide a few predictions for the second half. Take a look at what our featured experts are bold enough to exclaim.
Q. Please give us one bold prediction for the second half of the season.
“Now that he’s off the disabled list, Trevor Cahill is a top-25 starter during the second half. This wouldn’t be bold had the 29-year-old righty stayed healthy, as he registered a 3.38 ERA, 11.19 K/9, and 59.5 ground-ball rate in nine first-half starts for the San Diego Padres. His 13.6 swinging-strike rate ranks 10th among all starters with at least 50 innings pitched, and only Corey Kluber and Robbie Ray have induced a lower contact rate. A midseason trade to an unfavorable destination may diminish his luster, but Cahill is currently poised to make his mark down the stretch.”
– Andrew Gould (Bleacher Report)
“Kevin Gausman will be a top-20 pitcher in the second half of the season. Gausman has been horrible in the first half of the season, nobody is denying that. It is so bad for him, you can find him on waivers in a lot of leagues right now. A closer look at his numbers and you see there are so many places that just have to improve. For one his BABIP is a career worst, .371, which tells me he is getting a bit unlucky. Second, his strikeouts are down almost a complete strikeout per nine from last season and two from the second half of 2016. On the positive side, his home runs per nine are right at his career average and his FIP is lower than his ERA, always a good thing. To add to that, three of his last four starts we have seen significant improvement. I believe that carries over into the second half and we see the pitcher that we all thought we were going to get entering the 2017 season.”
– Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)
“Byron Buxton was the 93rd ranked outfielder in the first half, per ESPN’s player rater. I predict Buxton will be a top-50 outfielder in the second half. His strikeout rate has dropped every month (37.2% in April, 31.3% in May, 28.0% in June, and 21.9% in July), and he’s sporting a season-high 9.4% BB% this month. His combo of patience and improved contact has resulted in a robust .379/.438/.483 slash. The toolsy outfielder has stolen 16 bases in 17 attempts despite an ugly .288 OBP in the first half. I think he’s capable of greatly bumping up his AVG and OBP, and more times on base means more stolen base opportunities. It also means he won’t be as detrimental to AVG.”
– Josh Shepardson (Fantasy Cruncher)
“The Nationals trade for David Robertson, who’s a top-five fantasy closer from there on out. Tommy Kahnle is also dominant in his role after he becomes Chicago’s new closer. ”
– Dalton Del Don (Yahoo! Sports)
“Alex Avila will be even better at the plate in the second half than his surprising start with a .299 BA and 11 homers in 184 at-bats. Among all hitters with as many plate appearances, he has the only hard-hit rate above 50% and his is a whopping 55%! If that wasn’t enough, he also leads all hitters in line drive percentage. He should be regarded as a top 4 catcher for the rest of the season, behind only Buster Posey, Gary Sanchez and Salvador Perez.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)
“The Rockies will trade for Justin Verlander. They’re holding fast to the second wild card spot despite some poor play recently, and now they have to make a move to ensure they hold off any surging teams (the Cubs just made a blockbuster deal themselves). Verlander will cost a pretty penny, but he’s controllable for a couple more years and the Rockies have pieces to give (Brendan Rogers, Tom Murphy, David Dahl, Riley Pint, etc).”
– Jamie Calandro (Fantasy Team Advice)
Good luck to everyone in the second half and thank you to the experts for contributing their bold predictions. Give them a follow on Twitter for more great advice.