Fantasy baseball owners need to pick their spots all season, and the start of the second half provides prime timing for capitalizing on inflated value. KFFL.com spotlights some of the most noteworthy sell-high candidates who should be flipped before your trade deadline.
Geovany Soto, C, Chicago Cubs
Catcher is a shallow fantasy position, but the much-hyped Soto could land you help at another, more significant roster spot. Soto hit .271 in May and .250 in the last two months; he has combined for just seven homers and 18 RBIs in the last two months. You could find a replacement on most waiver wires while using Soto to give you a player with a better track record.
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, San Diego Padres
A-Gon could start to receive more of the "Barry Bonds" treatment; the rest of the Fathers' offense couldn't support a feather right now, and pitchers might not give Gonzo much to hit. His PETCO Park home already hinders his offense (.242 average compared to .317 on the road). He has just one homer in July (along with a .228 clip) and seven since the start of June; he might have trouble matching his 30 homers from last year now that he's the lone reliable threat.
Brian Roberts, 2B, Baltimore Orioles
Roberts has been an atrocious second-half player in his career, holding a career .266 average after the break. He hit .281, .251 and .214 in the last three months of '07 while also hitting just three dingers combined in the last two. In the last three years, he hasn't come close to revisiting his .314-18-73 career performance of 2005, and he hasn't stolen more than 36 bases in a season other than last year's 50-swipe campaign. Sure, he has 27 stolen bases this year, but if you have other second basemen, keeping his speed might not be worth the potential damage to your other categories.
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston Red Sox
Pedroia does the little things right, but what happens when those stats go away? His batting average is nice (.320) for a shallow position, and he has already topped his home run total from last season. However, flipping him for a slumping slugger could be the way to go here, even with Pedroia's place in the dangerous Boston order. Pedroia serves a great role on a fantasy team, but you could probably convince someone else to overpay for his services.
Chipper Jones, 3B, Atlanta Braves
Larry has made an effort to hit strictly for contact from the right side, which gives hope that he could at least sniff his batting average pace for the rest of the season. However, he has fought through a quadriceps injury for much of the season, and his injury history is long. A trade of first baseman Mark Teixeira would slash his lineup protection. How much longer can the 36-year-old keep up his .372 average? You might want to let some other owner deal with these issues.
Troy Glaus, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals
Glaus (.286-18-66 for the year) is in the middle of a 21-for-40 (.525) stretch in his last 10 games as of Monday, July 21. He's one of the hottest batters over the last month, but the career .256 hitter is playing slightly above his head when it comes to making contact. The soon-to-be 32-year-old has only hit above .262 once in his career (.284 in 2000), so the odds of him helping your team in batting average for the rest of season are remote. He's still good for upwards of 30 homers, though.
Carlos Quentin, OF, Chicago White Sox
One of the most pleasant surprises of 2008, Quentin has flashed the all-around raw tools that scouts loved about him as a prospect with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The lack of history is the concern here, as non-keeper league managers might want to acquire a more reliable bat for the rest of the year. He has hit a combined .262 with just 10 homers since the end of May, and numerous injuries prevented him from realizing his potential in Arizona to begin with.
Justin Duchscherer, SP, Oakland Athletics
Duchscherer has long passed his career high in innings pitched (115 2/3) for a single season in the majors, but the former reliever has done nothing but dazzle his opponents and fantasy owners (10-6, 1.87 ERA and 0.89 WHIP). However, his low strikeout total (70) might catch up to him if his command falters. The 30-year-old should be expected to come down from his low-ratio, 10-win cloud as the season progresses, making him prime trade bait.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP, Boston Red Sox
"Dice-BB" has shown control issues despite posting a 10-1 record with a 2.65 ERA this year. He has 55 walks in 88 1/3 innings, though, so he's receiving plenty of help from the Sox offense. The dangerous lineup couldn't help him when he blew up last second half to the tune of a 5.19 ERA and a 5-6 record. Use his 0.49 ERA in July as a sales pitch to rectify other areas of need this season.
Joe Saunders, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The soft-tossing southpaw has had a breakout season (12-5, 3.05 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) in which he hasn't posted a monthly ERA above 3.77. He has just 64 strikeouts in 127 frames of work this year, though, for a paltry average of 4.54 per nine innings. Like Duchscherer, he might not have much of a grace period left if he doesn't post pristine control. His stuff doesn't inspire confidence that he will be ace-like for the rest of the season.
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.