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Buy and Sell: Biggest First Half Disappointments for Fantasy Baseball


You were pretty excited and confident after your draft.  You bragged to your buddies about your awesome fantasy baseball team full of sleepers and counted your winnings before the first pitch.  Now, with the All-Star break upon us, you’re left thinking, why me?

If you feel this way, you probably drafted one or more of the below players who make up RotoBaller's 1st half All-Disappointment team. Some of these players could breakout and have huge second halves, some may be available on your wavier wire and could be savvy pickups, but others you should just cut loose before they drag you down further.

 

Will these 1st Half Disappointments Be 2nd Half Saviors?

 

First Base - Chris Davis (BAL)

By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Chris Davis") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsSurely you didn’t expect 53 HR and 138 RBI again, but I bet you expected a little more than his average hovering around the Mendoza line (.205) and an absolutely ridiculous strikeout rate (30.9%).  His month of June was just awful--he hit .175 in the month (fifth worst in MLB) and struck out 36 times (seventh most in MLB).

He has hit 14 HR and driven in 45 runs, but he will need a monster second half to come even remotely close to 2013 numbers.  On the plus side, Davis's BABIP is at a ridiculous low level, so we expect his average to rise, and the more balls he's hitting, the more RBIs and Runs he'll rack up as well. Davis is a nice buy-low right now.

 

Second Base - Jedd Gyorko (SD)

A foot injury shortened his first half of 2014, but I'm sure the Padres weren't complaining considering what they saw out of Gyorko in the first half.  He hit a dismal .162, hitting 5 HR and driving in 24.  If you drafted him hoping for a quality everyday second baseman, those are severely disappointing stats. He's also hitting way too many ground balls this year (GB% of 44.4). It is worth noting that he has been unlucky this season, with a BABIP of .192.  He’s simply not meeting expectations, and I’m sure Josh Byrnes was second guessing the six-year, $35 million deal he signed Gyorko to. In fact, it may have contributed to him being let go.  Don't expect big things from Gyorko in the second half - even if he gets it going, the Padres offense and ballpark make it impossible for him to return positive value on his dismal season.

 

Shortstop - Jean Segura (MIL)

It’s hard to speak poorly about Segura considering what he is going through in his personal life.  I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in his shoes with his infant son passing away, and hope I never have to.  With that said, his first half was not what was expected of him.  Segura is currently hitting .232 after finishing 2013 at a very solid .294.  After being caught 13 times in all of 2013, Segura was thrown out stealing eight times in the first half. He's on pace for only 25 SB this season, after finishing 2013 with 44. Regression was to be expected, but not to this extent on either the average or stolen base front.  If you can still deal Segura for Alcides Escobar, do it.

 

Third Base - Ryan Zimmerman (WSH)

While he used to be a gold glove caliber third baseman, Ryan Zimmerman now stinks at defense anywhere you put him.  He also happens to be having his worst year of his career at the plate.  Yes, 2014 has been injury-plagued, but he is hitting only .273 with 4 HR and 30 RBI.  He is supposed to be a run-producing third basemen, and in that regard he's been as reliable as Lindsey Lohan staying clean.  If you are relying on him to anchor you at 3B in the second half, good luck making the playoffs.  Zimmerman might have a good stretch in him, he usually does, but don't bank on him fully turning it around.

 

Outfield - Domonic Brown (PHI)

rotoballer-fantasy-baseball-advice-Dominic-BrownBrown was a 2013 NL All-Star after breaking onto the scene in Philadelphia.  My oh my what a year has done to his status.  After finishing last year with a .272 AVG with 27 HR and 83 RBI, much was expected of Brown this year.  He has disappointed those who drafted him as he sits at .224 with 6 HR at the break.

His line drive rate is down about 6% while his ground ball rate is up about 11%.  You put that together with his scary .279 OBP, and you have a very disappointed fantasy owner if you thought that keeping him or drafting him was the right move.  Brown might get lucky for a 2 week stretch and club 8 HR, but generally speaking his peripherals do not support an above-average fantasy player. He's safe to drop in shallow formats and we would encourage you to trade him for, well, just about anything in deeper formats.

 

Outfield - Shin Soo Choo (TEX)

This guy was a second-tier outfielder during the pre-season, as he was expected to produce even more moving down to Texas.  The first half has been unsettling to say the least for Choo.  He was 3rd in the majors in runs scored in 2013 with 107, and it was widely expected that the move to the power-hitting Rangers would improve that number.  Well, Choo only has 47 runs scored so far, and although his OBP (.362) is good, he is not stealing when on base and has been battling a balky ankle.  He only has three SB after having 20 last year.  If the all-star brak gave Choo some time to regroup, and the Rangers offense can get into its usual Summer strut, we like Choo's chances to have a big second half with his normal production. Hopefully, the Rangers' infirmary empties and a healthy lineup helps Choo produce more - he's a good buy low candidate right now.

 

Outfielders - Bryce Harper (WSH) and Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

Injuries have plagued these two, and they have played nowhere near their draft position.  Both have the ability to rebound in the 2nd half, but only if fully healthy. There may be hope yet!

 

Starting Pitcher - Justin Verlander (DET)

rotoballer-fantasy-baseball-advice-justin-verlanderWhat the %&#@ happened to Verlander?  He went from one of the best starting pitchers in the game to well below average in fantasy (and that might be generous).  At the break, he is 8-8 with an ugly 4.88 ERA and 1.49 WHIP.  Those are numbers that get you sent back to AAA.  Since 2011, his velocity has dropped 1.7 MPH on average, and subsequently his K% has dropped from 25.8% to 16.9%.

He’s just not dominating hitters like he used to do.  He has become a middle-of-the-road fantasy starter who puts up numbers that you can find on the waiver wire.  Sad, but true.  While we believe in Verlander long term (a lot of guys who lose their velocity learn how to "pitch" better as they age), we don't see him finding that magic as soon as the second half. Verlander is a strong sell.

 

Closer - Jim Johnson (OAK)

Billy Beane is a genius in so many ways, but he's also made some mistakes. Signing Johnson to be his closer for $10 million dollars was a big one. Johnson has been a dud since he put on the A’s uniform. After having 101 saves over the last two years, he has a grand total of two in 2014.  After having a sub-3.00 ERA his whole career, he now boasts a whopping 6.18 to go along with his 1.96 WHIP.   He has gone from a must-draft to a waiver wire mainstay.  Hey, at least he’s rich! And at least Billy Beane can admit his mistake and banish his shiny new pitcher from the closer role, something many other GMs wouldn't have done for another few weeks.

 

These are just some of the disappointments of the 1st half, and I'm sure many of you have been burned by others.  Maybe you can find that one guy in every league gullible enough to trade for one of these guys.  If not, you wasted a pretty good draft pick on a role player (if not bench player). If your season is already beyond repair, remember that we do fantasy football too here at RotoBaller!