The second half of the season has arrived, except for Ryan Braun, who has been suspended for the remainder of the season. All divisions are still up for grabs, so let the pennant races heat up! Although the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays struggled out of the gate, they are currently the hottest teams in baseball. Whether you are battling to maintain playoff contention or if you are sitting head-and-shoulders above in the standings, it is time to ramp up your team! Take a dive with me as we visit several potential adds or trade targets.
First Base – The Seattle Mariners are no longer power stricken as they sit second in total home runs this season. Kendrys Morales was a popular sleeper pick who is meeting the hype. Morales is the sixth-best first basemen over the last month and should be owned in every league. He will provide power, runs batted in and a great average.
Second Base – Unlike Seattle, the Chicago White Sox have not been an offensive powerhouse. Fortunately, second baseman Gordon Beckham has been a recent spark and worthy of attention in deep leagues. With a pair of home runs and five steals over the last month-and-a-half, he may be someone to put on the “watch list” as he can provide speed and power.
Shortstop – I understand Hanley Ramirez is owned in all leagues. However, he may be worth targeting in a trade as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ offense is finally healthy and “hitting” on all cylinders. After missing much of the first half, Ramirez has been in the zone over the last month with 22 runs, eight home runs, 23 runs batted in, and four steals. Yasiel Puig, who?
Third Base – Another Seattle Mariner has made my list! Kyle Seager has second and third base eligibility, and has been a consistent producer this season. With 18 runs, five home runs and a .383 average in July, you better add him or trade for him now as Seager will be setting career-highs this season.
Outfield – David Wright was the only offensive force for the Mets this season until Marlon Byrd’s bat heated up. Byrd has made quite a few stops in his career including Philadelphia, Texas, Washington, the Chicago Cubs, Boston, and the now the New York Mets. His 16 home runs and solid average heeds attention so scoop him up before it’s too late.
Starting Pitching: I generally do not include pitchers in my “weekly catch.” However, it is imperative to keep an eye on Matt Garza, Wily Peralta, C.J. Wilson, Jeremy Hellickson and Jhoulys Chacin, who are posting “ace-like” numbers over the last month. Garza will be heading to Texas in a more hitter-friendly park, but should see more opportunities in the win column.
Good luck and keep battling!