As we approach the All Star break, this is the time to bring in some reinforcements for your fantasy team. Mixing up your team with trades in the middle of the season is crucial, whether you need to make up some serious ground in the standings or just trying to crush all the hopes and dreams of the teams beneath you. I’ve highlighted 6 players to target in trades for the second half, all of whom finished in the top 70 of ESPN’s player rater in 2016. Grab ‘em now before they catch fire!
The first half of this season has been a nightmare for Villar compared to his magical 2016 breakout season. He posted an ugly .626 OPS before he landed on the DL. This has to be the best possible time to buy last year’s fifth best player in ESPN standard leagues. Now that he’s back, he should return to his normal role at second base for the Brewers. He is still secure in providing in one of the most coveted categories… stolen bases. What sets him apart from the other speedsters out there in fantasy leagues is the fact that he showed a full season where he mixed in avg and power. If he does anything remotely close to what he did last year the next few months, he’ll skyrocket back up to the top of that player rater once again.
One of the best second baseman in the game the last DECADE is getting little attention this year. Granted, he is off to a slow start by his standards and his age is climbing into the upper thirties as well, but the end of year stat lines are always pleasing to fantasy owners. He hasn’t finished with a batting avg under .275 since 2012, so his current .243 is bound to rise. With the slow start, the counting numbers have been low, but he is capable of contributing in all major categories the rest of the way. In the power crazed era, 5 category players like Kinsler are especially valuable.
Last season, we saw the first flash of 20 home run power from the young shortstop. He’s solidified as one of the better pure batting average players in the game, but people expect much more than 5 homers at this point in the season. That one category is distracting from the fact that he is still on pace to score about 100 runs and 75 rbi, not to mention about 20 steals. He’s already having a valuable season, so imagine how good he’ll be when he adds the power back to his game.
Okay, so Cargo is the probably the least valuable fantasy asset on this list, considering he finished 70 on the player rater. However, he might be easiest player to buy low on with the biggest return. His numbers this year are awful and he’s got a horrible track record health wise, so he’s about as low as can be without being injured. This is the perfect time to recall his 2015 season where he slugged 40 homers. He torched 30 homers from July onward! He’s a notoriously streaky hitter, but still in the right ballpark to go on an insane hot streak. You probably won’t even have to give up that much to get him, so he is pretty low risk in that regard. Swing it like it’s 2015 Cargo!
Finished in the top 20 pitchers on the player rater in 2016 because of wins, so people dismiss his season as fluke. This season, however, pitching overall has been so atrocious that he still could finish around the same place without winning 20 games. He’s still limiting damage every start a 1.18 WHIP and 3.74 ERA while striking out a batter per inning. He also limits walks as well as anyone, sporting a 5.66 K/BB ratio (would be 6th highest among all SP if he qualified). Get Happ on your team before everyone realizes he could be a top 20 pitcher again.
The number 3 starting pitcher last season is not pitching as well as we are used to. Not an awful season by any means, but he is an aging veteran who people assume is declining. People neglect the fact, however, that he is one of the best second half pitchers in the game. His post all-star game era going back the last 3 seasons is 0.72 lower than his first half era. Much of that is driven by last year where he was arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball the last few months. I will reiterate that pitching this season has been awful, so there aren’t many starters poised to have a strong second half. Everybody needs more pitching in fantasy, so getting the deal done for Lester is much easier now than it will be going forward.