Athlon Sports helps get you ready for the second half of fantasy action on the diamond
The All-Star break is over, so it's time for the pennant races, both on the field and in fantasyland to start heating up. With just three games being played this past weekend, Athlon Sports is here to catch you up on who some of the hottest hitters and starting pitchers over the past month have been. Our fantasy junkies also have identified some arms that could be worth picking up to help your team make a second-half charge.
Top 25 fantasy baseball hitters of last 30 days (June 22-July 21):
* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues
Last week, we used the Weekly Waiver Wire section to focus on those hitters that are less than 70 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues that could benefit your lineup for the stretch run. This week we turn to the mound and identify those starting pitchers who could give your rotation a boost.
Weekly Waiver Wire:
Chris Archer, SP, TB (36% owned in Yahoo! Leagues)
All the 24-year-old has done is string together four straight quality starts, including tossing a five-hit, complete game shutout against the Astros on July 14. Archer has just added to the Rays' embarrassment of riches when it comes to starting pitching, as he helped the team maintain its momentum even after David Price and Alex Cobb both went on the DL. Price is back in the starting rotation and Cobb could return by the middle of August, but even then there's no reason to think Archer won't stick around.
Wei-Yin Chen, SP, BAL (32%)
After spending nearly two months on the DL with an oblique strain, Chen has been very effective in his first two starts. He has allowed just two earned runs over 13 2/3 innings, defeating the Rangers twice. The left-hander won't strike out a ton, but he generally does a good job of limiting the walks and total base runners, and has allowed more than three earned runs just once in 10 total starts so far this season.
Scott Feldman, SP, BAL (39%)
After toiling in relative obscurity with the Cubs to start the season, Feldman was traded to the Orioles in early July. Having started his career with Texas, Feldman is no stranger to pitching in the American League and has managed the return trip back fairly well so far. He's 1-1 with the Orioles with two quality starts, although his former team roughed him up to the tune of seven earned runs in 5 1/3 innings two weeks ago. That's the most runs Feldman has allowed in any start this season and his overall numbers (8-7, 3.86 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) are more than serviceable.
Jeremy Hefner, SP, NYM (23%)
Hefner got tattooed by Philadelphia (10 H, 8 ER in 2 IP) on Friday, but that shouldn't completely erase the solid work he had been doing on the mound. Prior to his last outing, Hefner had put together 10 straight quality starts and gave up three earned runs just once during this stretch. Since June his ERA had been 1.74 until the Phillies hit him hard, and his WHIP (1.22) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (85:28) are both more than respectable. He may not be Matt Harvey or Zack Wheeler, but this young Mets' right-hander shouldn't be ignored.
Kyle Lohse, SP, MIL (58%)
The veteran was horrendous in May (0-4, 6.51 ERA), but has turned things around nicely. He went 2-0 with a 2.34 ERA in June and has already won three games in July. Since June he's given up more than three earned runs in a start just once and he tossed six shutout innings against the Marlins last Friday. He's not a big strikeout guy, but he usually doesn't walk many either, which helps his other stats, such as his WHIP (0.97 since June 1).
Ricky Nolasco, SP, LAD (41%)
Nolasco is going to have his share of rough outings, but the fact that he is now in a Dodgers uniform and no longer with the Marlins alone enhances his fantasy appeal. The Dodgers are one of the hottest teams in all of baseball right now, as the offense has energized this team and finally provided consistent support to its starting pitchers. Nolasco will benefit from this, as well as pitching his home games in Dodger Stadium. He's 1-1 with a respectable 3.11 ERA in three starts with his new team so far.
Chris Tillman, SP, BAL (62%)
Yes Tillman is the third Oriole on this list (along with Chen and Feldman), and to be honest, I like him the best of the trio. His ERA (3.84) may be a little too high for some people's tastes, but he's also 12-3 on the season and has 96 strikeouts in 119 2/3 innings. He should get plenty of support from the Orioles' offense, so as long as he limits the walks (44) and home runs (21 allowed), he should be able to help just about any fantasy rotation.
Jacob Turner, SP, DET (25%)
I was high on Turner before the season started, and was a little surprised when the Marlins sent him down to Triple-A before the end of spring training. Well whatever he worked on in the minors has paid off, as the 22-year-old has returned and looks like he's here to stay. Turner is 3-2 in nine starts with a sparking 2.44 ERA and just three home runs allowed in 59 innings pitched. He's allowed more than three earned runs in a start just once and had four straight no-decisions in June during which he gave up a total of seven earned runs over 25 innings. Run support and wins will be an issue since he pitches for the Marlins, but don't let those shortcomings prevent you from giving this young righty the chance to help out your rotation.
Top 20 fantasy Starting Pitchers of last 30 days:
* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues
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