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
 
 
 

By the Numbers: A second take on breakouts

  •  

The season has reached its midpoint, so what better time to look back and reflect on preseason prognostications? Enough time has elapsed to be able to judge them and enough time is still ahead of us to apply lessons learned that we can use over the remaining portion of the Fantasy season.

Back in March, I picked out a dozen players who looked primed to break out this season. They appeared to be strong candidates to significantly improve their performance, given that they showed skills in the minor leagues that hadn't yet fully translated to the majors. Some, like Domonic Brown and Everth Cabrera, have more than fulfilled my lofty expectations, but now are they due to drop off in the second half? Others, including Jesus Montero and Mike Moustakas, didn't break out so much as break down, but could a breakout still be lurking for them over the next three months?

I'm taking a second look at 11 of my 12 breakout candidates to see how their first halves have panned out and assess how they are likely to fare going forward. (Only Alex Cobb, whose future is uncertain after he sustained a mild concussion from a line drive to the head, has been excluded.) It would be easy to go on autopilot with the likes of Brown and Cabrera, given that they have improved as expected, but even when the expected happens, it never hurts to take a fresh look at players at the halfway mark. The same is true even for those players, like Montero and Moustakas, who have left a bitter taste in the mouths of many Fantasy owners.

Jesus Montero, C, Mariners
What I expected in 2013:
At least 20 home runs with improvement on last season's .260 batting average.
What has happened: Roughly one-quarter of the way through the season, Montero was on a similar home run pace to last year, but his batting average lingered just above the Mendoza line. That earned Montero a demotion to Triple-A Tacoma, where he promptly tore his meniscus.
What to expect in the second half: Montero may not have been as bad as his .208 batting average made him out to be, but he also didn't show any progress in his power or contact skills. Mike Zunino and Justin Smoak, who are blocking Montero at catcher and first base, respectively, are having struggles of their own, but while Montero recovers, they will have plenty of time to cement their positions in the Mariners' lineup. Perhaps Montero could return to Seattle late in the season, but he is unlikely to log enough time to have anything close to a breakout season.

Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants
What I expected in 2013:
A combination of increased home run power, doubles power and a high batting average.
What has happened: Belt is batting nine points below last season's .275 average, but since a slow start in his first 14 games, he is hitting .292. A power surge has materialized as well, as he has already equaled his career high of nine home runs, and 40 doubles are within reach.
What to expect in the second half: The Baby Giraffe is clearly continuing his development as a player, as he is striking out less often, working longer plate appearances and, at least since late April, hitting for more power. It's not unreasonable to expect Belt to hit .300 the rest of the way with 10 to 15 more home runs.

Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves
What I expected in 2013:
A batting average in the .280s with 25 to 30 home runs.
What has happened: With a slightly improved strikeout rate and a monstrous 32 percent line drive rate, Freeman has whacked his way to a .307 batting average, but he is behind last season's pace for home runs and doubles.
What to expect in the second half: Freeman struggled for a month after returning from an oblique injury in late April, but over his past 36 games, he has really heated up. During that stretch, Freeman has hit .328 with a .406 on-base percentage, seven home runs and six doubles. We can't know for sure if Freeman was slowed down by his injury, but given how he has played over the last several weeks, he just may be able to hit 25-plus homers on the season and keep his batting average above .300.

Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros
What I expected in 2013:
Maintain his batting average and stolen base pace from a year ago, while adding double-digit home run power.
What has happened: Altuve is matching his .290 batting average from 2012, and he's on pace to exceed his 33 steals. However, the anticipated increase in power hasn't happened, as Altuve has only 19 extra-base hits, of which three are homers.
What to expect in the second half: Altuve hasn't lost much value, if any, from last season, but he certainly hasn't gained any either. He's hitting fewer flyballs this season, so it's probably unrealistic to hope for 10-plus homers on the season, at least for this year.

Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals
What I expected in 2013:
A batting average around .260 with a minimum of 25 home runs.
What has happened: Despite an improved contact rate, Moustakas is hitting just .215, and that's even with him posting a .274 average over the past month. With five home runs and 11 doubles, Moustakas' power output has been disappointing, to say the least.
What to expect in the second half: With a .234 BABIP, Moustakas may have had some bad luck on balls in play, but a 14 percent popup rate -- which is actually the lowest of his career -- isn't helping. He doesn't hit for much power when he's not pulling the ball, and according to data from Baseball-Reference.com, Moustakas isn't pulling the ball as often this season. Perhaps with new hitting coaches George Brett and Pedro Grifol, Moustakas can get back to his power-hitting ways, but it's probably asking too much to expect a breakout in the second half.

Everth Cabrera, SS, Padres
What I expected in 2013:
An improved batting average and 50-plus steals.
What has happened: Cabrera has missed the last two weeks with a hamstring injury, but he has already stolen 31 bases and raised his batting average from .246 last year to .305. He could be back later this week, so unless he continues to be hampered by the injury, Cabrera should easily pass the 50-steals threshold.
What to expect in the second half: Cabrera had shown the potential to make more frequent contact and to hit more effectively against lefties, and he's come through on both counts this season. As long as his hamstring doesn't slow him down, Cabrera should continue on his breakout campaign.

Lorenzo Cain, OF, Royals
What I expected in 2013:
A batting average of at least .290 with a at least 15 home runs and 20 stolen bases.
What has happened: At worst, I figured Cain would maintain his homer and steals pace from last season while making notable gains in his batting average, but he is falling short in all three areas. While Cain may never be a masher, I didn't foresee that his flyball rate would fall from 34 percent to 24 percent.
What to expect in the second half: Maybe Cain is already benefitting from the change in hitting coaches, as he has hit more flyballs and with more power since Brett and Grifol joined the coaching staff in late May. He's also been striking out more, so there is still work to be done before Cain can enjoy a true breakout.

Domonic Brown, OF, Phillies
What I expected in 2013:
An increase in home run power with a decent batting average and mild steals potential.
What has happened: If Brown's torrid May, in which he hit 12 home runs with a .303 batting average, didn't signal that his breakout finally arrived, a solid June confirmed that he's no fluke. With half the season in the books, Brown is a top 10 outfielder in Fantasy.
What to expect in the second half: He may not remain in the top 10, but barring a monumental collapse, Brown will finish the season with one of the most prominent breakout performances of the year. While maintaining an average near his current .274, Brown could provide another 15 home runs.

Most Traded Players (as of 7/3)
Player Trades
1. Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers 712
2. Cole Hamels, SP, Phillies 556
3. Josh Hamilton, OF, Angels 506
4. Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers 505
5. Jose Reyes, SS, Blue Jays 481
6. Jered Weaver, SP, Angels 466
7. Matt Cain, SP, Giants 451
8. Gerrit Cole, SP, Pirates 443
9. Justin Upton, OF, Braves 439
10. CC Sabathia, SP, Yankees 436

Brandon Morrow, SP, Blue Jays
What I expected in 2013:
Close to a strikeout per inning with a mid-3.00s ERA.
What has happened: In his 10 starts, Morrow managed only 7.0 strikeouts per nine innings, and his ERA ballooned up to 5.63. He has been on the disabled list since early June with forearm inflammation and is expected to be out for at least another month.
What to expect in the second half: Once Morrow is healthy, he still has the potential to be a good source of strikeouts. Both his full return to health and a high K-rate are far from givens, though, so Morrow's breakout more than likely will have to wait another year. He'll be 29, so Morrow can't afford to wait too long to take that next step.

Matt Moore, SP, Rays
What I expected in 2013:
A K/9 rate just under 9.0 with an ERA in the low-3.00s, or possibly under 3.00, placing him among the top 30 starting pitchers.
What has happened: Through the end of May, Moore seemed to be making good on his potential with an 8-0 record and 2.18 ERA. However, Moore exhibited poor command and a mediocre swinging strike rate, and those trends continued into June, but with much worse results (2-3 with an 8.39 ERA for the month).
What to expect in the second half: Moore has bounced back with better performances in his last two starts, and those alone have restored his K/9 rate, which now stands at 8.8. However, Moore's season to date has to qualify as a disappointment, and if not for 5.8 runs of support per nine innings, he might not even be among the top 40 starting pitchers in Fantasy. If he continues to be too wild, Moore may very well finish outside the top 40.

Addison Reed, RP, White Sox
What I expected in 2013:
Improved strikeout and walk rates and 30-plus saves.
What has happened: Reed just finished a rough June, in which he posted a 7.62 ERA, but he still ranks as a top 10 closer in terms of Fantasy points. His 21 saves have a lot to do with that, though a 9.8 K/9 rate and 1.06 WHIP are also part of the equation.
What to expect in the second half: As Reed's low WHIP shows, he hasn't been putting many runners on base, but at times, he's done a poor job of stranding them. That's not a great quality for a closer, but it's not necessarily one that he will carry into the second half. He could easily maintain his status as a top 10 closer, especially if he can slash his ERA.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs . You can also e-mail us 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
Report: Angels' Hamilton likely to receive suspension
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2:05 am ET) Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton will likely be suspended for at least 25 games, according to FoxSports.com.

Hamilton met with Major League Baseball on Wednesday for a disciplinary hearing. CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reported that Hamilton experienced a drug relapse a few months ago, and confessed that relapse to MLB. 

This is technically Hamilton's second violation as a major-leaguer. Hamilton was on the Rays 40-man roster during his first suspension, making him a major-league player. Typically, players who violate their drug treatment program for the first time are subject to a 15-25 game suspension. Given that this is Hamilton's second violation of his drug treatment program, it's unclear how severe the punishment will be.

With that said, commissioner Rob Manfred is reportedly trying to be lenient with any punishment. The league has a "favorable view of Hamilton's efforts to remain sober." Since his return to the majors, Hamilton has spoken honestly about his struggles with addition.

On top of that, Manfred is concerned about making the punishment too harsh. Hamilton's past relaspes have come when he's been away from the game. Manfred reportedly is not close to making a final decision on Hamilton's punishment at this time. 

Hamilton was already expected to miss the beginning of the season due to a shoulder surgery. It's unclear how much longer he'll be out due to a suspension.


Angels, Huston Street haven't talked extension yet
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:11 am ET) The Angels and closer Huston Street have not talked about an extension yet, according to MLB.com.

Both sides are reportedly interested in a deal, but Street wanted to wait a week in order to settle in to camp. Once that happens, the two sides are expected to start negotiating a new deal. Street is entering the final year of his contract, and will make $7 million in 2015.

Street, 31, posted a 1.37 ERA over 59 1/3 innings last year.


Phillies' Ryan Howard working on his swing
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:20 am ET) Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is working on his swing, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

Howard has spent time working with Charlie Manuel during camp. Manuel was brought in as spring training hitting instructor. Manager Ryan Sandberg has noticed the change in Howard's approach already. "As far as making some adjustments there, to really zone in to something that can really be productive for him and a little bit more consistent," Sandberg said. "I think there has been a little tweaking going on there."

Howard apparently has looked different at the plate. His stance has been described as "looser" and his hands are much lower when he starts his swing. 

The 35-year-old hit .223/.310/.380 over 569 at-bats last year. 


Dodgers unsure how Grandal, Ellis will split time
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Dodgers aren't sure how they'll platoon their two catchers, according to the Orange County Register.

A.J. Ellis has been the team's primary option the past few seasons, but the club brought in Yasmani Grandal during the offseason. While Grandal has a much higher offensive upside, it's unclear how much he'll play once the regular season begins. 

"There’s nothing going to come out of this camp where we’re going to say, ‘OK, this guy is going to start 72 percent of the time’" general manager Andrew Friedman said. "It’s going to be much more about Donnie (Mattingly) writing the lineup each and every day for what gives us the best chance to win that day."

Mattingly admitted that Grandal has "tremendous upside offensively," so it's possible he could lead that way more often. While Mattingly has indicated that he doesn't want to assign any personal catchers yet, there's a sense Ellis could be used when Clayton Kershaw is on the mound. 

Grandal hit .225/.327/.401 over 377 at-bats last year. Ellis hit .191/.323/.254 over 283 at-bats. 


Giants sign Ronny Cedeno to minor-league deal
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Giants have signed infielder Ronny Cedeno to a minor-league deal, according to the PCL transactions page.

Cedeno, 32, spent most of the year in the minors. He hit .313/.368/.431 over 281 at-bats in Triple-A. Cedeno received nine at-bats with the Phillies, but failed to record a hit. 


Brewers' Scooter Gennett glad to have full-time role
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Brewers infielder Scooter Gennett is glad to have a full-time role heading into 2015, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Gennett spent last season in a platoon with Rickie Weeks, but with Weeks gone, he'll assume the full-time role. Gennett said he feels far less stressed about his position on the team this spring. "Seeing as I'm pretty much the everyday guy, that eliminated the stress, or whatever you want to call it, off my back," he said. 

"Just not having to worry about stuff out of my control. I've put myself in this position where I've earned the job, I've shown them what I can do, and now it's about consistently doing it," he added. 

Manager Ron Roenicke has already said he'll give Gennett plenty of opportunities to prove himself against left-handers. 

Gennett, 24, hit .289/.320/.434 over 440 at-bats last season. 


Cubs' Arismendy Alcantara will play all over the place
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Cubs utility man Arismendy Alcantara is going to play a lot of positions this season, according to ESPN.

Alcantara saw time in center last season, but the team's trade for Dexter Fowler will alter his role. Alcantara says he's ready for the challenge. "Mentally you have to be ready for that," Alcantara said. "They want me to play second base and the outfield." He's also expected to see some time at third base. 

Manager Joe Maddon is glad to have such a versatile player on the team. "When you get a guy like that and you want to give someone a rest, you don't feel like you're losing anything," Joe Maddon said. "And the big attraction there is also in-game. It's like having an extra guy on the bench."

The 23-year-old Alcantara hit .205/.254/.367 over 278 at-bats last year. 


Rockies ask Corey Dickerson to be more patient
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Rockies want Corey Dickerson to be a little more patient at the plate, according to MLB.com.

Dickerson had a breakout season in 2014, hitting .312/.364/.567 over 436 at-bats. He walked in 7.7 percent of his plate appearances, which was actually just above the league average. Still, the team wants Dickerson to be slightly less of a free-swinging this year.

"I talked to Corey about adding this much discipline to his game," manager Walt Weiss said. "We don't want that much, because then he wouldn't be Corey Dickerson." Weiss explained that it's difficult to deliver this type of message, as Dickerson's aggressiveness makes him effective. 

Dickerson said he would work harder to study pitchers and work on his approach during games. 

The 25-year-old is expected to open the year as the team's starter in left.


Marlins unlikely to add reliever now
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Marlins are unlikely to add a reliever now that Francisco Rodriguez is off the market, according to MLB.com.

The Marlins were involved in negotiations for K-Rod through at least Wednesday, and were reportedly willing to offer $10 million over two years. The club has been looking for a veteran reliever for some time, but may pass now that Rodriguez has signed with the Brewers.

Both Rafael Soriano and Phil Coke have been connected to Miami, but the team would likely only sign those players to minor-league contracts.


Diamondbacks' Chase Anderson a favorite for the rotation
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Diamondbacks consider Chase Anderson a favorite to break camp in the rotation, according to azcentral.com.

The club wants to create a lot of competition for the rotation, and it was initially believed Anderson would be competing for a spot. General manager Dave Stewart sort of quashed those rumors, saying he perceives Anderson as a strong favorite right now. "Chase Anderson won nine games for us last year; you have to strongly consider him as part of our rotation," Stewart said. 

Anderson is expected to pair with Josh Collmenter and Jeremy Hellickson for now. The club will determine the final two spots in the rotation during camp.

Anderson, 27, posted a 4.01 ERA over 114 1/3 innings last year.


 
 
 
Rankings