Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Di Fino: Six daring second half predictions

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

The road to Fantasy stardom is lined with the Scott Hairstons of the world: shrewd pickups who quietly hit 12 first-half home runs and go largely unnoticed -- and unheralded -- on Fantasy rosters. Go scan your own roster: it's not all about All-Stars. Omar Infante, Dillon Gee, and Michael Brantley all could be plugged in to teams and left to produce. True, their numbers didn't jump out at anyone, but they provided the base on which your Fantasy superstars could stand in the first half.

Plenty of leagues have some players floating around on the waiver wire who could do some big things for them, if everything breaks the right way. So, as the Post-All-Star Game stat period begins Friday, here are six somewhat daring predictions for players who have yet to be owned universally:

Don't Just Play, Play to Win!
Fantasy Baseball Today Be sure to catch Fantasy Baseball 360 LIVE at 5 p.m. ET every weekday to dominate your Fantasy leagues. Our writers will have the latest news, analysis and roster trends each afternoon.
Fantasy Baseball TodayCheck out the latest episode!

1. J.P. Arencibia will finish the year with 25 home runs.
Owned in: 65 percent of leagues
Ummmm: Yeah, he has 13 right now, so we just stretch that out to the full year, and ... 25. Amazing, right? But it's a little more complicated than just some quick math. Even though he's just 26 years old, Arencibia has a "catcher of the future" breathing down his neck: the currently injured Travis d'Arnaud. While d'Arnaud probably won't be ready to play until September -- and there's no guarantee he will get called up, although plenty of signs/rumors/posturing/assuming point to an eventual promotion -- the move could lead to either a trade of Arencibia, a shifting of Arencibia to first base or a splitting of playing time.
Chances He Hits 30 Home Runs: 33%. Arencibia hit 23 last year in his first full season at the major league level, so there's a pretty nice chance he could build on that number. The Blue Jays could also remain in contention for a Wild Card, which would likely lead to them not giving d'Arnaud as much playing time, if any at all.
Chances He Hits 20 Home Runs: 15%. Arencibia isn't 36, he's 26. And he has plenty of power (just not a lot of batting average) in his bat. For the Blue Jays to insert d'Arnaud as even a part-time catcher in September, Arencibia would have to be pushed aside to some degree. And to do that to a player with 30-home run potential, especially in homer-happy Toronto, doesn't make a lot of sense.

2. Huston Street will finish the year with 33 saves.
Owned in: 75 percent of leagues
Wait -- San Diego is last in MLB in runs scored!: But in the last three years, Heath Bell had 42, 47, and 43 saves. In that span, the Padres ranked 29th, 22nd and 28th, respectively, in runs scored. Bad teams tend to score fewer runs, a scenario that puts them in close games, giving their closers plenty of opportunities to get saves.
But Street Only Has 13 Saves: He also missed a month of the season with a lat injury. In that month, Dale Thayer recorded five saves. Getting 20 saves in the second half for a team that recorded 19 in the first (Joe Thatcher snuck one in) isn't an impossible task.
What If Street Gets Traded?: His most likely destination, according to rumors and questions he's addressed directly, has been the Mets, a team that could insert him in the closer role the rest of the season. Although trading for a reliever and inserting him as closer isn't a regular move, it has been done before -- most recently with Matt Capps in 2010 when he had 16 saves for the Twins after being traded to Minnesota by the Nationals.
Furthermore: Street's 2013 contract allows for a $500,000 buy-out option, according to Baseball Prospectus , so, even though rumors are floating that he's on the trading block, San Diego isn't necessarily rushing to move a gigantic contract for 2013. If the right deal doesn't come along, they can just exercise the buy-out, and Street is off the books.

3. Mike Aviles will join the 20-20 club this year.
Started in: 64 percent of leagues
He's Never Even Joined The "20" Club ... On Either Side: But he's gotten close. And he's never had more than 424 at-bats in a season. Aviles has twice stolen 14 bases (in 2010 and 2011) and already has nine home runs and nine steals in just over half a season in 2012.
I Need More Proof: Take a look at his home run landing spots. Eight of his nine home runs have been hit to left field. All eight of those home runs fit comfortably over the Green Monster in Fenway Park. In a different stadium, he could have lost as many as three home runs. With plenty of remaining games at Fenway, Aviles needs to hit just 11 home runs and steal 11 bases to reach 20-20.
And he'll have history on his side?: Over his career, Aviles' average jumps 60 points after the All-Star Game, his slugging percentage rises 63 points and his caught stealing percentage takes a huge dip.

4. A.J. Griffin will have better second half numbers than Chris Capuano.
Owned in: 28 percent of leagues
Blasphemer!: Griffin came up with very little fanfare, and being owned in just 26 percent of leagues, he seems to still be flying well under the radars of most Fantasy owners. But, after three starts, he's put together a nice stat line: 1.50 ERA and 0.72 WHIP. In standard leagues, he's compiled 52.5 points despite not having registered a win. Capuano, meanwhile, is traditionally a poor second half pitcher (4.97 ERA after the All-Star Game), with a 4.84 ERA in July, 5.22 in August and 4.73 in September.
Capuano is owned in...: 96 percent of leagues.
What Makes Griffin So Special?: Griffin put together a pretty impressive stat line in the minor leagues. A converted reliever, he climbed through four levels in 2011, compiling an 11-7 record with a 3.47 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. He also struck out about a batter per inning. The K-rate dropped a little bit across 15 starts in the minors this year -- and continued to drop in the majors -- but it's a minor trifle. In 66 minor league games, Griffin had a 1.01 WHIP. And that kind of control could carry over nicely to the majors across the second half of the season, especially in a home ballpark as friendly to pitchers as the Coliseum.

Check out our Fantasy Baseball podcast!
Stay a step ahead of your competition in 2014 by checking out our popular Fantasy Baseball Today podcasts. Adam Aizer, Scott White and Al Melchior will entertain you and help you dominate all season.
Latest episode | Subscribe!

5. J.D. Martinez will finish the season with a .300 batting average.
Owned in: 50 percent of leagues
You're insane: Maybe. But just hear this one out. In 1,118 minor league at-bats, Martinez had a .342 batting average. That's not a small sample size and it's not unrealistically inflated due to any blazing speed he possesses. He can hit. He's currently hitting a full 100 points below his career minor league average. .
Do The Math For Us, Fatboy!: Let's assume he finishes the year with 570 at-bats. For Martinez to reach .300 by year's end, he will have to go 103- for-287 the rest of the way, which is a .359 batting average.
That Can't Be Done!: Of course it can. First of all, consider that by September Martinez will be seeing plenty more minor-league call-ups pitching to him as rosters expand to 40 players. On top of that, a host of players hit .359 -- or better -- in the second half of last year, including Mike Napoli (.383), Nick Hundley (.367) and Mark DeRosa (.367)
Yeah, but it still seems unlikely: Sure. But what fun would it be if we just predicted he'd hit .274?

6. Everth Cabrera will finish the year with 45 stolen bases.
Owned in: 17 percent of leagues
Did you mean 30 stolen bases? Because, By Doubling What He Has Now...: No. Cabrera is at 15 right now. And he stole 15 in 34 games at Tucson before his call-up. That's 30 right there. So if he can steal 30 after the All-Star Break, he's at 45. The magic of math!
Pshaw!: Cameron Maybin, Brett Gardner and Michael Bourn all stole 25 or more bases after the All-Star Game last year. Emilio Bonifacio, Coco Crisp, Ben Revere and Eric Young all stole 23. It's not outside the realm of possibility for a speedster like Cabrera to steal 30.
More Remedial Math!: In 155 at-bats this season, Cabrera has 15 steals. Say he gets 280 at-bats in the second half. That puts him on pace for 25.2 steals. Mix in the fact that he will likely pick up five additional steals with more major league seasoning, and... there's your 30.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Angels' Jered Weaver bulked up during offseason
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:57 pm ET) Angels pitcher Jered Weaver decided to bulk up during the offseason, according to MLB.com.

Weaver went from 199 pounds to 224 pounds during the offseason. He said the goal was to get bigger and stronger so that he can pitch deeper into games next year. The 32-year-old Weaver posted a 3.59 ERA over 213 1/3 innings. 


Brewers have discussed Francisco Rodriguez
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:15 pm ET) The Brewers have discussed reliever Francisco Rodriguez, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The news shouldn't come as a major surprise. Rodriguez has been linked to the club since the team traded Yovani Gallardo, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. Brewers owner Mark Attanasio basically confirmed the news, saying agent Scott Boras contacted the team following the Gallardo trade in order to try and convince them to sign some of his players. Attanasio didn't rule out the move, and said general manager Doug Melvin is considering everything. "Frankie [Rodriguez] had an 89 percent save percentage and the guy has never been on the disabled list," he said. "We know he likes Milwaukee."

Rodriguez posted a 3.04 ERA over 68 innings last year. 


Twins' Mike Pelfrey feels 'normal' heading into camp
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:59 pm ET) Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey feels "normal" heading into camp, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The 31-year-old Pelfrey was knocked around in five starts before undergoing elbow surgery last season. He's been able to rehab during the offseason, and should be 100 percent heading into spring training. Pelfrey said he started throwing Dec. 1, and admitted he feels "normal" now. 

Pelfrey posted a 7.99 ERA over five starts last season.


Mariners sign Endy Chavez to minor-league deal
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:06 pm ET) The Mariners have signed outfielder Endy Chavez to a minor-league deal, according to the Tacoma News Tribune

The 36-year-old has been linked to the club recently, and finally decided to return. He spent the first month of last season in the minors, but joined Seattle in late May. Chavez hit .276/.317/.371  over 232 at-bats. The deal includes an invite to spring training. 


Brewers' Scooter Gennett prepping for full-time role
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(5:52 pm ET) Brewers infielder Scooter Gennett is prepping for a full-time role in 2015, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Gennett had a bit of a breakout season in 2014, but platooned with Rickie Weeks. With Weeks now a free-agent, Gennett is looking at a full-time role. "When it comes to playing every day and facing lefties, I’m looking forward to that," he said. "It has been a while. I can finally get back to my game."

Gennett admitted that he doesn't think it will be that hard to adjust to seeing left-handers while at the plate. "For me, it doesn’t matter what side it is coming from if I’m getting consistent at-bats," he said. 

The 24-year-old Gennett hit .289/.320/.434 over 440 at-bats last year.


Twins' Alex Meyer willing to pitch out of the bullpen
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(5:44 pm ET) Twins reliever Alex Meyer is willing to pitch out of the bullpen, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press

The 25-year-old Meyer is considered one of the team's better prospects, and started 27 games last season at Triple-A. Meyer posted a 3.52 ERA over 130 1/3 innings. While Meyer could compete for a rotation spot during spring training, he said he would be open to pitching out of the bullpen if that will put him in the majors faster. "Whatever it takes to help the Minnesota Twins," Meyer said. "If it’s me being a left-on-left guy, I really don’t care."

As long as he stays healthy, Meyer is expected to make his major-league debut at some point in 2015.


Brewers GM not looking to add another starting pitcher
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:09 pm ET) Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said Sunday the team is not looking to add another starting pitcher to replace Yovani Gallardo.

"I don't think we have room for a notable starting pitcher," Melvin said. "We'd like to add a pitcher that could be a spot starter."

Milwaukee currently has Jimmy Nelson as their fifth starter, who went 2-9 in 2014 with a 4.93 ERA and 57 strikeouts for the club.


David Murphy's role unclear for Indians heading into season
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:53 pm ET) Indians outfielder David Murphy is heading into his second season with the club and is trying to figure out what his role will be with the team.

Murphy said Sunday he got the chance to speak with general manager Chris Antonetti when the team traded for Brandon Moss in December.

"Communication is huge just in general in this game," Murphy said. "It's nice to go into the season knowing how he feels, and I'm sure he's speaking for the front office and the coaching staff. Just having an idea of how they feel about it, and giving me a chance to voice my opinion in how I feel about it, the lines of communication are open. I definitely think that's a good thing. It's kind of hard to know at this point how things are going to fall into place."

Murphy, who hit .262 with eight home runs and 58 RBI in 2014, knows being traded is one option to find playing time.

"I think everybody can logically see that there's only so many spots out there for so many players," Murphy said. "I'm prepared to lose playing time, but not to the point where I'm going to get 150 at-bats. If that's the case, and that's the best-case scenario for them and for me, I'm open to [a trade]. But I feel like this team has a great chance to win, and for that reason, I would love to be here."

Indians manager Terry Francona said recently Murphy will be the right fielder in Cleveland to open the year.

"Well, it's hard to say right now, because we don't know how healthy Swish or Moss are," Francona said. "So right now, Murph's our right fielder. I don't know if that's going to change in the next month or not."


Brewers' Tyler Thornburg thankful to avoid serious injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:23 pm ET) Brewers pitcher Tyler Thornburg was lucky to avoid Tommy Joh surgery in 2014. After being place on the disabled list in June, Thornburg was diagnosed with a wrist flexor strain. However, after a few more starts, doctors determined Thornburg injured his UCL. Thankfully for Thornburg, rest and time off was enough to allow the injury to heal.

"I feel great," Thornburg said. "Honestly, the best thing ever was the timing of everything. Right now and I’m very optimistic and if it works out I definitely feel very blessed for not having to go the other route. We had time; that was the biggest thing. We gave it as much time as possible to heal.

"The way we have it scheduled now, I would be ahead of everyone, " he said. "So it’s just in case of a setback, then I would be perfectly on schedule. But what we have planned right now, if I’m not having any setbacks then we can just kind of scale it back a little bit.

Thornburg finished 2014 with a 3-1 record with a 4.25 ERA in 29 2/3 innings.


White Sox 3B Conor Gillaspie bulks up
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(2:52 pm ET) White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie says his offseason weight training program has enabled him to add 15-20 pounds of muscle, "which should translate into driving the ball harder," reports ESPN.com.

“Honestly I’m hoping that by taking the same swing that I did last year, because I’m stronger, I’m hoping that translates into more power,” Gillaspie said, per the website. “It may or may not. We have enough guys that do hit for power on this team now. There are quite a few of them, so truthfully, I think I might be just as valuable getting on base, drawing walks, moving runners.” 

Gillaspie hit .282 with seven homers and 57 RBI in 130 games last year.


 
 
 
Rankings