Now is not the time to become complacent. If you’re at or near the top of your Fantasy League, Reinforce, reinforce, reinforce! If you are towards the middle or back of the pack, now is the time to Reinvent, reinvent, reinvent! Virtually no league is locked up and every owner can still capture their title if they have the Fantasy heart to do so.
Time to pay attention to the MLB Standings. As teams drop out of the pennant race, hot-prospects will be given extended shots at proving they belong in the Big Show. So many Fantasy owners (non-keeper leagues) hate to carry players who are still in the minors. Be aware of who the hotties are and store them on your bench before they arrive. Timing is everything, so read the local dailys DAILY! Two gems that will, and I repeat WILL be called up very soon are Andy Marte of the Indians and B.J. Upton of the Devil Rays.
Their Time Is Coming SOON!
Marte was the booty Cleveland got from Boston for Coco Crisp. Aaron Boone’s days are numbered as Cleveland nears the edge of the plank and begins preparing for next season. Marte is one of the hottest hitters in the International League. After a rough start to the season, Marte is hitting .301 with 11 home runs over his last 33 games. This 22-year old is beginning to fulfill all the hype that he built while playing in the Atlanta Braves’ system. Just as first-time pitchers are hard to figure out at first when they come to the majors, the same holds true for young hitters. He could do for a fantasy team this summer what Chris Shelton did in 2005.
Aubrey Huff is in Houston, and that means B.J. is on his way. Upon dealing Huff, Tampa Bay immediately moved Upton to third base at Durham (AAA). They say as soon as he gets comfortable playing the hot-corner he will be called up. Two-weeks is a realistic arrival time. Though he has struggled of late at the plate, Upton has swiped 37 bases for Durham and could benefit immensely from the protection of a major league lineup. In certain leagues he will also remain SS eligible.
You need a Closer? Don’t forget about Seth McClung. At 6’6", supersized Seth packs a pretty hard punch. About a month ago the Devil Rays sent him to Durham to prepare him as their closer for the near future. In 10 Innings since the move, McClung has struck out 16 men and has a 2.70 ERA with a 0.90 WHIP. If you have Brian Meadows on your team, don’t get too comfortable, McClung’s day is coming soon.
Stay A Step Ahead
Remember, treat the second-half like the beginning of a season. Pay more attention to what players have done over the past month then their overall stats. Players like Bill Hall and Nick Swisher might look good now, but their second-half value should be adjusted accordingly. And please pay attention to the trade rumors as the trade deadline approaches. There are many new-bloods on the precipice of a major league opportunity. Pitchers like Francisco Carmona and Logan Kensing could have major value if closers Bob Wickman and Joe Borowski are dealt. Howie Kendrick is an Adam Kennedy deal away from becoming the Angels starting second baseman. Don’t be surprised to see Stephen Drew at shortstop for the D’backs if someone bites on Craig Counsell. The key is to stay a step ahead, so keep your eyes peeled, read your dailys and don’t be afraid to store a player on your bench who is presently an NA (not active because they’re still in the minors) on your Waiver Wire.
And Finally, think of how far back in the standings the Yankees were in July 1978 or where the Astros stood last July. With a little heart, your team could become the Fantasy version of the 1951 Giants. As Yogi Berra once opined, "It ain’t over ’till it’s over!"
Carl the Cabbie