We are officially at the halfway part of the season, with every team playing at least 81 games, though the All-Star games is still a week away. No fear though gamers, there is plenty of analysis to be done, but what I want to take the time to unpack right now are a few impact players that are returning from the DL, and whether or not you should make your bid to obtain them or sell high on them.
I have been banging the Milwaukee Brewers drum since spring training because they have a nice top of the line up, a good mixture of youth and experience and a solid bull-pen. Right now the Brewers are three games up in the NL Central, but you and me both no the Cubs will be in first by the end of July. The begs the question…. Will the Brewers be sellers or buyers. My guess is that they will be neither which is going to piss of the fan base, but they don’t really have too many trade pieces to offer up. Braun will likely stay put, and should have RBIs opportunities with every AB, given the fact that Villar and Sogard will be batting in front of him. He’ll get nice pitches to hit all season long as long as he’s in front of Travis Shaw. There’s no more pitching around Braun, which makes him a must hold or must acquire in that line up. Strike while the iron’s hot, as he’s been a little slow since coming off the DL.
Speaking of slow out of the gates, Rich Hill has been average this season, after being banged up earlier. I’m all in on Hill though, in that offense, in that ball park, and with that defense behind him. By season’s end he will be a bonafide ace, as he was last season. He slayed in his last start giving up ZERO runs in seven innings while striking out 11 batters. He looked dominant so you’re going to have a hard time prying him from the fingers of a current owner. In the daily game he’s worth the price, and he was likely a cash game and GPP dream this past Saturday night. If his K rate holds up, he is a must own, and match up proof.
If you can get anything for Cole Hamels you should. His ratio stats are decent, not all world, but serviceable, but he’s not moving the needle. His K rate is not great either, but he’s still a #2 starter on most teams. His experience and finesse is invaluable, but those qualities simply don’t translate to fantasy. The Rangers are way behind last year’s pace, and aren’t likely to win 90 games like they did last year. Hamels rolled up a sweet W last night against the White Sox, giving up only 2 hits and 2 earned in 6.2 innings. His K rate left more to be desired, but if he riddles of one or two more starts of the quality nature, dump him as fast as you can.
Ok he’s not back yet, but his return is so exciting to me. I’m not a huge Trout fan or an Angels fan for that matter, but I love what he’s done thus far in his career, and he represents the game so well. I am predicting two ting with his upcoming resurgence. One, the Angels make the playoffs as a wild card team. No way their getting by Houston, but they have the same amount of wins as the Yankees and division leaders Cleveland. Two, Trout will win the MVP, and though he may not lead the league in HRs or RBIs, he will close so much ground, that time missed will be factored in. Don’t forget the actual injury either… it was a brutal ligament tear in his thumb that impacts hitting, running and defense. We always talk about players that can impact lines, and Trout is one of them. His presence in the line up has a direct impact on over/unders and total wins. By the end of the season, regardless of where he sits statistically, he will crush it in Wins Above Replacement (WAR)… a major factor considered by MVP voters.