Yoenis Cespedes NYM – BUY LOW
Cespedes has had a solid season at the plate so far (116 wRC+), but there’s reason to think that he could be in line for a major power outburst. Due to the hamstring injury that hampered him earlier in the season, Cespedes has played in just 42 games this year. He’s hit nine homers so far; not bad given the number of games played. However, given Cespedes’ low HR/FB rate, he could be due for a sharp increase in homers. His 13.2 percent HR/FB rate is almost seven percentage points lower than his xHR/FB rate of 19.9 percent (according to FanGraphs). Cespedes’ 41.6 percent hard-hit rate and 36.8 percent pull should lead to a higher number of his fly balls leaving the yard. When you factor in his monstrous 56 percent fly-ball rate, a positive regression in HR/FB rate should lead to 20 plus homers for Cespedes after the break. If you’re looking for monstrous second half upside for a less than exorbitant cost, making a play for Cespedes would be a wise move.
George Springer HOU – SELL HIGH
Springer is an All-Star Game starter and one of the key cogs in an Astros team that sits atop the AL with 60 wins and a ridiculous run differential. He has blasted 27 home runs so far this season, second in all of baseball to Aaron Judge. Given that his career high is 29 in 2016, many would likely expect him to slow down at least a tad in the second half. Springer’s incredibly high 31.4 percent HR/FB rate is one concrete reason to support that notion. While Springer does have the benefit of the short porch in left at Minute Maid Park and does have sky-high hard hit and pull percentages, it does seem that his HR/FB rate will have to dip eventually. Also, his .310 batting average is helped greatly by a .339 BABIP and likely won’t be able to stay that high through the second half given his 22 percent K-rate. All in all, Springer is one of the elite outfielders in baseball, largely thanks to his power. If that power falls off a tad, his value will diminish. Consider trading him for a huge return before any potential decline.
Kyle Seager SEA – BUY LOW
Seager is stuck in the middle of a mediocre season, putting up just a 93 wRC+ so far in 86 games. He’s hit just 10 home runs so far, and is on pace for less than 20, which would be a career low for a full season. This can mostly be attested to a minuscule 7.8 percent HR/FB rate, another full season career low. He isn’t pulling the ball as much this season, which is a factor in that number dipping, but it isn’t the full explanation. If Seager gets a positive regression in that area, he could be in line for a monster second half power-wise given his career-high 48.3 percent fly ball rate. More balls leaving the yard in the second half will cure just about all of Seager’s ills. Making a move for him before they start to do so could lead to a huge payoff.
Keon Broxton MIL – SELL HIGH
Broxton is the classic all-or-nothing hitter, racking up 14 home runs while striking out more than 36 percent of the time this season. However, there is reason to believe that some of the “all” could be less prevalent in the second half of the season. Broxton has posted a 25.5 percent HR/FB rate, which is high, but also nearly identical to the number he put up in 75 major league games a year ago. However, his pull percentage is down from 40 percent to 33.5 percent, while his hard-hit rate has dipped from 43.3 percent to 32.9 percent this season. If his HR/FB rate doesn’t stay up, Broxton can become a big-time negative rather quickly, even given his stolen base ability. Getting something of value for Broxton now would be a wise move. If not, you could be dropping him for nothing later.
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