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Week 16 Buy and Sell Hitters for Fantasy Baseball

The shortened week after the All-Star break is always a breeding ground for exaggerated storylines. Although there have only been a few games played, everyone is speculating upon whom will have the better second half of the season.

It's been proven time and again that the second half can be a whole new world. Some of the top sluggers from the first few months will see their production plummet for months to come, seemingly for no reason. Conversely, some of the slackers will finally find their groove after a refreshing few days off to clear their heads.

For now, all we can do is speculate and overreact to small sample sizes. The slightest sign of second half proficiency can be taken advantage of on the trading block. Let's take a look at the last week and see what moves can be made to get your team poised for second half success.


Sell High Hitters for Week 16

Adrian Gonzalez (1B, LAD)

Gonzalez was the biggest sell high candidate of the season after a stellar April, during which he posted a slash line of .383/.432/.790 and clobbered 8 HR. Naturally, he took a bit of a dive in May and June, regressing to his still-impressive career norms. In July, he's back at it again. He's already got another 8 HR this month and sports a .788 slugging percentage, eerily similar to his April numbers.

For us deep-thinkers, it would be reasonable to expect this high level of production to drop off again to mid-level 1B standards. Still, the numbers speak for themselves and the combination of April and July have made Gonzalez's 2015 numbers striking overall. Try to make a deal for Gonzalez before his dominance at the plate begins to drop yet again.


Robinson Cano (2B, SEA)

After a horribly disappointing first half, Cano blasted two homers in his first game back after the break. As expected, the sports media jumped on the opportunity to make grandiose claims of Cano's second half comeback. Although, in regards to recent revelations, there may be plenty of reason to believe that the star second baseman will rebound to his true value. It was recently revealed that Cano has been battling a stomach ailment since late last year that has been hindering his play. Well, it appears all of that may be behind him now.

After batting .248 with 5 HR and 27 RBI in the first three months, Cano has been looking like his old self in July. He's slashing .328/.366/.612 with 5 HR this month and has been firing in the few games since the break. On one hand, it would seem foolish to doubt Cano in light of his obvious star power. On the other hand, it would also be foolish to believe that he can just turn it around at the drop of a hat. Right now, Cano will likely hold a hefty value on the market. Get rid of this nightmare before you have to endure the lousy production for another half of a season.


Matt Kemp (OF, SD)

It has not been a good season for Matt Kemp. His .257/.301/.408 line at this point in the season are all the lowest in his career. However, there a few bright spots in Kemp's production this year. His 20 doubles so far are on pace to break his career records and he's found his power in recent weeks. In July, he's sporting a 1.044 OPS with 4 HR, raising his season total to double digits. Still, Kemp could not be further from his MVP-caliber self in his first season with San Diego.

Park factors can't really be blamed, seeing as Dodger Stadium and Petco Park are nearly identical. Remember - Kemp showed a strong second half last year after a disappointing first half. Be sure to remind that to your fellow owners as you try to get rid of Kemp. Just because he was able to turn it around last season doesn't mean he can do it again with a much worse club.


Buy Low Candidates for Week 16

Mookie Betts (OF, BOS)

In the Red Sox past seven games, the likes of Betts, Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia are a combined 0-for-44.  That is a shocking and telling symbol for how the Sox season has been going. we all know how talented all three of those guys are. The fact that none of them have collected a hit since the break is likely irrelevant. However, it's usually enough to make some owners nervous and prone to hasty decisions.

Ramirez and Pedroia are both proven stars who won't be quickly judged for brief slumps. Betts, on the other hand, is in his second year and has been a streaky player in terms of his offensive production. At the end of the day, Betts is a budding young star and a bit of inconsistency is natural. He is almost guaranteed to put up 20 HR 20 SB seasons for years to come. if you're in a dynasty league, Betts is one of the most underrated characters on the market. Try to snag him now while his value is low.


Jacoby Ellsbury (OF, NYY)

Since the break, Ellsbury is a measly 1-for-12 with no counting stats at all. In fact, since returning from his injury, he's posted a .208/.250/.294 line without any of his signature stolen bases. Of course, it takes some time to regain confidence on the base paths after returning from injury. Fortunately, many fantasy owners are short on patience.

Don't get it mixed up - Ellsbury is one of the most valuable fantasy outfielders out there, especially when he's able to put up some power numbers. No intelligent owner will forget about Ellsbury's capabilities too quickly. But, it is likely that the speedy outfielder is coming at a hefty discount right now. Try to capitalize on his recent woes and reap the benefits once he becomes fully healthy.


Nelson Cruz (OF, SEA)

Word on the street is that Cruz is struggling from fatigue in the midst of the marathon MLB season. After seeing 60 percent of his starts coming in the outfield, Cruz has seen his production drastically drop. Cruz shocked all the critics by swatting 14 HR by May 4 in the most pitcher-friendly ballpark in the league. Since then, last year's home run leader has only hit 7 home runs in 65 games and has not been keeping up with the league's top sluggers.

Here's the good news - The Mariners are making an effort to give cruz many more starts at DH so he can save all his energy for blasting homers. If I were a betting man, which I am, I would bet that the home run surge will start flowing again soon and Cruz will come close to his 40 HR total from 2014, if not surpass it. It's also a nice added bonus that he's batting .301 on the season and most people will overlook that. Cruz is more than just a home run machine.


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