A look at what took place this past weekend on the fantasy baseball diamond.
It's All-Star week, so even though the fantasy action won't resume until Friday, Athlon Sports is here to catch you up on what took place over the last seven days. In addition to breaking down last week's top hitters and the hottest starting pitchers, our fantasy junkies have indentified some batters that could be worth picking up to help your team make a second-half charge.
Top 25 fantasy baseball hitters of last week (July 8-14):
|9.||Alejandro De Aza*||OF||CWS||7||2||4||0||0.414||1.262|
* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues
As MLB takes a break for the All-Star game festivities, we thought we would use our Weekly Waiver Wire section to indentify some hitters that are less than 70 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues that could benefit your lineup as we enter the dog days of summer and the competition in your fantasy league heats up.
Weekly Waiver Wire:
Jason Castro, C, HOU (47% owned in Yahoo! Leagues)
The Astros' lone All-Star representative, Castro is currently the No. 8 fantasy catcher. The 26-year-old appears to be fully recovered from the devastating knee injury that wiped out his entire 2011 season. He is thriving in his first full season as the starter, showing plenty of power (12 HR in 297 AB) and offering solid production in other categories (40 R, 31 RBI, .269/.806), especially considering the lineup support around him.
Others worth considering: J.P. Arencibia C, TOR (50% owned), Jonathan Lucroy, C, MIL (68%); Jarrod Saltalamacchia (34%)
Kendrys Morales, 1B, SEA (60%)
Morales is back to his slugging ways, as he gets farther and farther away from the horrendous broken ankle he suffered back in May 2010. The switch-hitting slugger has helped solidify the middle of the Mariners' lineup, as he's already hit five home runs and driven in 12 runs through the first 12 games of July. Hitting at Safeco Field hasn't been a problem either, as Morales has made himself right at home and taken full advantage of the smaller dimensions to the tune of a .310-6-30 clip in 184 at-bats.
Others worth considering: Chris Carter, 1B/OF, HOU (26% owned); James Loney, 1B, TB (55%); Daniel Nava, 1B/OF, BOS (66%)
Jedd Gyorko, 2B/3B, SD (45%)
The rookie spent more than a month on the DL with a groin strain, but he returned for the Padres' final three games before the All-Star break. He went 0-for-11 from the plate in those games, but this is somewhat understandable considering his lengthy absence. Still, any second baseman that has 20-home run potential like Gyorko is worth keeping an eye on. Prior to suffering the injury, Gyorko had produced a .284-8-25 line with 36 runs and 17 doubles in 232 at-bats.
Others worth considering: Omar Infante, 2B, DET (38% owned, currently on DL); Daniel Murphy, 1B/2B, NYM (63%); Dan Uggla, 2B, ATL (62%)
Chris Johnson, 1B/3B, ATL (39%)
It's easy for Johnson to get lost in an Atlanta lineup stacked with big bats like Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and others, but one could argue that the third baseman has been the Braves' most consistent hitter not named Freeman to this point. Johnson won't hit for a tremendous amount of power, but he does have six home runs already and is batting .358 in July. Johnson's early success is one of the reasons the Braves traded Juan Francisco to Milwaukee, as he's been able to hit both lefties (.360) and righties (.318) this season.
Others worth considering: Brett Lawrie, 3B, TOR (64% owned); Trevor Plouffe, 3B/OF, MIN (18%); Mark Reynolds, 1B/3B, CLE (57%)
Erick Aybar, SS, LAA (55%)
Like many of his teammates, Aybar's bat has started to come around. After batting just .252 with six runs scored in May, the switch-hitter raised that to .306 with 19 RBIs in June and is hitting .325 in July so far. Aybar's primary value is tied to average and runs scored, two categories he should be able to contribute solidly in if the rest of the lineup keeps mashing like it has been. Anything else Aybar can give you in RBIs, stolen bases and home runs as a middle infielder is icing on the cake.
Others worth considering: Alcides Escobar, SS, KC (54%), Alexei Ramirez, SS, CWS (54%); (Andrelton Simmons, SS, ATL (41%)
Michael Brantley, OF, CLE (41%)
He doesn't hit for a lot of power (7 HR in 333 AB) and he's not a speed demon on the bases (10 SB), but what Brantley can do is provide respectable contributions across the board. The Indians' outfielder has driven in 48 runs already, compared to 60 all of last season, and has scored 46. He's currently batting .279 and his ability to make contact (42 K in 91 G) should help keep his average around that range. Put it all together and you have a guy who is knocking on the door of being a top-30 fantasy OF.
Raul Ibanez, OF, SEA (63%)
As hard as it may be to believe, Ibanez has a chance to homer his age this season. The 41-year-old is fourth in the AL in home runs with 24 and is on pace to finish the season with 41 on the nose. Regardless of whether he gets there or not, his overall production (.267, 36 R, 56 RBIs) cannot be ignored. Sixteen of his home runs have come at Safeco Field and the left-handed slugger has held his own against southpaws (.263-8-17) when he's gotten the chance to face them this season.
Gerardo Parra, OF, ARI (50%)
While it's clear that Parra has cooled off considerably from his hot start (.308-4-13, 34 R in April and May combined) and the Arizona outfield is somewhat crowded, I still believe he should be owned in more than just half of Yahoo! leagues. With seven home runs already, he needs just two more to set a new career high and he's well on his way to doing the same for runs scored and hits. Given his success against right-handers (.301-7-24), there's no reason to think he won't get a fair amount of at-bats near the top of the Diamondbacks' lineup in the second half.
Others worth considering: Marlon Byrd, OF, NYM (21%); Chris Carter, 1B/OF, HOU (26%); Matt Joyce, OF, TB (25%), Daniel Nava, 1B/OF, BOS (66%); Colby Rasmus, OF, TOR (33%); Jayson Werth, OF, WAS (65%)
Top 20 fantasy Starting Pitchers of last two weeks:
* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues
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