Second Half Push writer’s Ivan Berliant and Blake Chadwick talk about the A.L. division races and the Wild Card race of 2010. See who we like coming out of the A.L. East, West and Central. This is a two-part video so please watch them both!
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By Ivan Berliant
For the first time since 1996, the National League won the mid-season classic and FINALLY regained home field advantage for this years N.L. representative in the World Series.
And apparently not too much of America seems to care.
Tuesday night’s showdown rendered the lowest viewers for an All-Star game EVER. Yes, I said EVER. Perhaps the typical fan is more American League oriented and wanted to see a slugfest, and well after all, “chicks dig the long ball.” But this year’s contest had none of that, and was dominated by much of what we’ve seen for the first half of the season, lights-out pitching.
Personally, there is nothing I like more than a pitching duel, and that’s one of the reasons I will be in attendance for tomorrow’s Marlins game featuring the young phenom Stephen Strasburg and one of my personal favorite pitchers, Ricky Nolasco. Plus, c’mon, it’s STEPHEN STRASBURG… who wouldn’t go!?
Needless to say, I enjoyed Tuesday’s pitching display, which featured some of the greatest young arms in the game. And for those of you who did tune in, you got to see first hand what type of talent fantasy owners have drooled over all season.
Moreover, fans who happened to watch the 3-1 N.L. victory as well as the previous night’s home run derby, witnessed what Marlins’ fans take for granted on a weekly basis– the amazing talents of Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson.
It was business as usual for the Marlins during the All-Star stretch, as Josh Johnson came in for two innings of shut-down ball against some of the most revered hitters the American League had to offer. JJ (as we refer to him here in South Florida) started the fourth inning by getting the Rays’ Carl Crawford to line out to third, followed by two consecutive strikeouts of Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki.
You thought that was impressive?
Well Miguel Cabrera, Josh Hamilton and Vlad Guerrero went down in order in the fifth! That’s a stretch of six hitters no pitcher would ever want to see, and Johnson made it through without the bat of an eyelash.
Josh Johnson’s talents overshadowed Hanley Ramirez’s day at the plate, who went 0-3 throughout the night, but I’m sure Hanley wasn’t too disappointed.
In fact, I believe his previous nights work at the home run derby was more than sufficient for Ramirez’s ego, as he just fell short of David Ortiz for the slugging crown. Hanley knows he’s the man and being in a small market such as Florida he was able to showcase his skills to a national audience.
I’m sure his efforts at the derby will resonate more so with baseball fans who might only be familiar with Ramirez and the Marlins due to a well documented clubhouse controversy.
The Marlins still could be buyers in the second half of the season, and with these all-star talents likely locked in the organization for some time (suprising Marlins’s fans I know), I can see the Marlins developing some momentum as they attempt to make a Second Half Push.
Hello Second Half Pushers, this is the first video segment in the series “From the Cheap Seats.” This is a five-part series looking at what each team in the N.L. East needs as we head to the second half of the season. We’ll start with the first place Atlanta Braves and finish with the current last place Washington Nationals. See what we think the Braves need to sustain their lead atop the N.L. East.
→ This is our first video so have faith in us as we continue to make the content and the production as good as possible←
Well yes, this is in fact another article about the struggling Toronto Blue Jays’ second basemen, but Aaron Hill‘s disparaging numbers and near-drop status in fantasy leagues will not be the main focus of this post.
In fact, rather, quite the opposite.
With the recent injuries to many of fantasy baseball’s high-profile first and second round draft choices, Aaron Hill has the opportunity (in my Yahoo 14-team H2H league and for my team in particular) to prove he is still fantasy relevant and a viable option at second base as many professional analysts have suggested.
“I like me some Aaron Hill, who is currently among the top 10 dropped second basemen in ESPN standard leagues. He shouldn’t be. The obvious thing is the crazy-low .191 BABIP. A career .278 hitter (with a career .298 BABIP), his average will come up; he’s already hitting .250 in June, so it’s a start. On pace for 26 home runs, the power has actually been there. Low RBI totals so far, but again, if the average heats up, so will that number. He’s hitting .240 with runners in scoring position versus .191 with nobody on. Hill screams “buy low,” said Matthew Berry in a ESPN fantasy article of 10 players not to give up on.
Yes, I too could not escape the barrage of injuries to these players unscaved, as my number one draft pick, Chase Utley, was sidelined and will be out of action until after the upcoming All-Star break. Luckily for me, I burnt my valuable waiver wire position a few weeks prior to acquire the Jays’ second basemen as soon as he was dropped by an owner with a little less patience. I had to make the move, and I did based on a few contributing factors…
- Hill’s numbers from the 2009 season: The 2009 American League Silver Slugger award winner posted a .286 AVG while slugging 36 home runs with 108 RBIs.
- Name recognition: Unfortunately, this could be a double-edged sword in the fantasy world, as many owners tend to stick with the big name guys rather than those who are performing. In this case, as we all know, the second base position is quite thin in any league. To scoop a guy like Hill, despite the numbers was still pretty exciting.
- Potential power: As stated above the kid showed last year that he could have some power at the second base position. The fact that despite his average is considerably below the Mendoza line (.187), he was still hitting for some power (11 HRs) on a team revered as one of the big-power clubs (The Jays lead baseball with 115 collective home runs).
- In a 14 team league any sexy drops need some consideration: Hill’s slumping counterpart, Adam Lind, was picked up in similar fashion before he cleared the waivers in our league, and I’m sure if players of similar stature and recognition were dropped, they would automatically get a look or two…or three.
- Professional Analyst recommendation: If what his numbers and analysts’ opinions indicate, when an eventual turn around comes, he would have some considerable trade value for a power hitting second baseman. This in conjunction with his name recognition could set me up nicely for a beneficial trade and late push towards the end of the season.
I had the spot and nothing to lose. I mean wouldn’t you?
Initially it seemed to pay off. The two subsequent days following his official arrival to my line-up, he jacked two home runs in the utility slot and assured my reasoning for the pick up. Well that bright spot was one of the few highlights of his time spent on my team, six-to-midnight. But, now I’m hoping Aaron Hill can put together a couple of weeks of decent numbers as I anxiously await the return of my first round pick.
So please Mr. Hill, can you finally turn your mediocre season around and be a solid replacement as I surge to make that Second Half Push?
Here are some recent pick-ups I made to give my team that Second Half Push:Although the injury bug seems to be contagious around the league, I happened to fall on some good fortune with the return of Jimmy Rollins and Huston Street coming off the DL in the same week. It helps that Rollins resumed his lead-off spot upon this return, as he was hitting in the sixth hole when he came off his earlier DL stint. Street seems to be rolling and found his way back into the Rockies’ closer role. This was eminent as his former replacements, Manuel Corpas and Franklin Morales, have been struggling of late. As those two came off the DL, I was quick to find their disabled replacements in Edinson Volquez and J.A. Happ. Pitchers like these are quite sexy in a 14 team league where pitching is quite thin. At one point I was streaming pitchers that have no place on a roster even in deeper leagues. No offense Jeremy Guthrie and Scott Olsen. I also made a desperate move to fill the only true hole in my batting order, third base. I picked up Pirates’ rookie, Pedro Alvarez, but that proved fruitless.
Catching the injury bug, SORRY Blake!
I should be so lucky that I have a player like Aaron Hill to replace Chase Utley. Check out some of these injuries Second Half Push writer, Blake Chadwick, sustained in the last two weeks.
- Troy Tulowitzki
- Victor Martinez
- Manny Ramirez
- David Freese
- Joel Zumaya
Definitely not what a first place team in a deep league needs as we head to the second half of the season.
Are you involved in the baseball world?
We at Second Half Push are looking for your questions and opinions for a new video segment coming soon!
- Let us know what you think about the Marlins firing former manager Fredi Gonzalez.
- Have questions about his possible replacement former Mets’ manager Bobby Valentine?
- How do you feel about Lady Gaga making appearances at the recent Mets and Yankees games?
- Should you wait on players like Aaron Hill or Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval?
We’re looking for anything and everything for a question portion appearing on our new video segment, “From the Cheap Seats.”
Please send your fantasy baseball, Florida Marlins, New York Mets and any other relevant questions to email@example.com or you can message them to our Facebook or Twitter accounts. You can even leave them in the comment section of this post.
We need your help to make this segment awesome and I’m sure you won’t disappoint.
Thanks guys and the video segments will be coming soon!
-Second Half Push
So here’s the scenario :
I’m up 10-3 in my Yahoo H2H league going into Sunday, I’m only down by one steal and only up by two runs in my closest categories. Of course I’m thinking I have this locked up and why not play Rajai Davis and Curtis Granderson in place of Paul Konerko and Carlos Lee, they could possibly capture and secure these tight categories while getting me a real nice win for the week.
Well for those of you who don’t own Konerko or Lee, each had two-run home runs. Usually I would be quite upset leaving that kind of production on the bench, but I was up significantly in home runs and RBIs. Just to note, sorry for you Ryan Braun and Andre Either owners out there, I played them and it was pathetic.
Well Davis and Granderson both had lackluster days and I didn’t steal any categories (pun intended), but the situation made me ponder a fantasy dilemma…
When should you bench power for speed, and can you really leave those home runs and RBIs on the bench?
I’m curious to know what you think, give me your strategies and let me know if you would bench power for stolen bases and runs?
Additional Sunday Notes:
- Rookie Brennan Boesch found his stroke going again, so watch for him in deeper leagues.
.381 AVG/ 1.25 OPS/1 Hr/ 4 runs/ 3 RBIs
- Rickie Weeks has a hot bat, he totally killed me with that home run yesterday against the Cardinals, and he’s hit quite a few this week including two in one game on Monday.
- K-rod continued to make me nervous, but still got the save for the three game sweep of the Marlins.
By Blake Chadwick
As a Mets fan, how could you EVER, POSSIBLY cheer for the Braves? The team that tormented us year in and year out for 14 in a row atop the NL East. The team that was on TV EVERY single day and was “America’s Team”. Then along came fantasy baseball. See, prospects have the ability to make one’s eyes very wide and take things out of perspective. As Mets fans, we know this very well.
Let me digress, this season as the Braves attempt to regain their former glory, are riding a wave of youth. Martin Prado, Yunel Escobar, Brian McCann even. Of course fantasy darling Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens locking down the rotation as well. This year, they debuted a new gun. Jason Heyward. The hype surrounding this kid was almost Lebron-esque. His towering 450 foot plus HR in Spring Training sealed the deal for me. For the first time, I was going to go out of my way to draft an Atlanta Brave. Hell, I might even cheer for him deep down. Then it all fell into my lap. In my 8 team rotisserie style league, there are 22 roster spots. In round 21, all of my hardwork scouring draft sheets and prospect lists paid off. Apparently, I was the only person outside of the person in the league with the team name “Jason Heyward” to know who he was. Well that genius didn’t pull the trigger so I went with it. Then came the shot heard round Turner Field. On opening day, I was plopped down on my bed watching the array of games. I settled on Cubs vs. Braves. Then the unthinkable happened. Heyward stepped up to the plate to a standing ovation to face Cubs fireballer Carlos Zambrano. I was locked in. I felt the energy running through that stadium. Heyward JACKED a ball to deep right field and the stadium literally shook. I jumped up in the air pumping my fist for fantasy production in the first few minutes of the season. I was sold on Jason Heyward. I was ecstatic to own an Atlanta Brave. It didn’t even phase me. Only for the love of fantasy.