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Week 16 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Stock Market: Second-Half Sells – Hitters

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis
Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis

Jul 6, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (19) hits a two-run home run against the New York Yankees during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Since there haven’t been any real changes since this week’s waiver wire rundown, I thought it’d make more sense to dedicate this week’s stock market column to some sell-high candidates that have second-half drop-off or just flat out dud written all over them. Let’s take a look at some players you will never get as much in return as you will now and a few sells necessary to merely cut your losses the rest of the way.

Chris Davis: The numbers that Davis has put up through his first 95 games have been purely ridiculous. He also ready has 37 HR, 93 RBI, and 27 2B along with a .315/.392/.717 line in 95 games compared to .270 BAA, 33 HR, and 85 RBI over 139 games last season. He’s definitely become a ferocious hitter but he’s on a pace unseen since Barry Bonds. I have no doubt Davis is here to stay but he’d have to add another 26 HR and 66 RBI in the next two and a half months to continue to produce at his current pace. That’s unlikely but I wouldn’t be that shocked if he came close to that. More importantly than a likely second-half drop-off is that there are more than a few owners willing to sell the farm for him right now and you can definitely get two or even three good fantasy producers for him. Even if he does put up 26 homers the rest of the way, you can get a ton more back from him to fill out the rest of your roster. Besides, there are plenty of first basemen to plug in so you’re not losing that much compared to Davis’ production.

Paul Goldschmidt: I’m quickly becoming a huge Goldy fan but, like Davis, he has significantly bested his 2012 output (.286/.359/.490, 20 HR, 82 RBI) as he’s put up a .313/395/.557 line with 21 HR, 77 RBI, and 60 R. While his growth has been amazing, he seems to be developing into a first-half player. Last season, Goldy batted .302 with 12 HR with 42 RBI, and 25 2B in his first 74 games. Over his next 71, Goldschmidt batted just .371, saw his slugging drop from .552 to .431 and hit just eight homers and 18 2B. He may already beginning his drop off – putting up just two home runs and 10 RBI in 14 July games after averaging 6.6 HR per month in the first three months. Again, one train of logic is that it’s crazy to trade away an MVP candidate. The other is the multiple All-Stars you can bring in by moving a highly touted guy like Goldy, even if he does keep going at his current pace the rest of the way.

Brandon Phillips: After batting .291 over the past two seasons, Phillips is batting just .266 this season. His steals are down from 15 last season to just one swipe this year. His OPS has dropped from .810 in 2011 to .750 to .733 this year. Regardless, Phillips is one pace to match the 18 homers he has put up in each of his last three seasons but has far exceeded his typical run production. He did drive in a career-best 98 back in 2009 but has since driven in 59, 82, and 77 – all full seasons. This year, Phillips already has 74 RBI which is simply unsustainable for a guy who has driven in more than 77 just three times in his last eight seasons and never more than 98. I like Brandon Phillips but he’s no Allen Craig.

Nelson Cruz: Cruz is a good player but a wildly fluctuating one.

In 2012, likely his best season, Cruz hit 19 of his 24 home runs over the course of 92 games – meaning he hit five home runs over the remaining 67. After putting up a .276 BAA, 18 HR, and 48 R through his first 77 games, he batted .244 with six homers and 32 RBI over the remaining 81 games.

In 2011, Cruz hit 10 of his 22 home runs in the first two months. Actually, he hit five in the first eight games of the season, didn’t hit a home run the subsequent 13 games, hit 10 HR over his next 26 games, didn’t hit a homer the next nine games, hit five over his next 10, hit two over his next 21, and has hit seven in his last 37 games.

After a very good first three months, Cruz seems to be falling back on old habits with just two homers in 13 games in July.

Raul Ibanez: This one seems like a no-brainer. His .267/.414/.578 line with 24 HR, 56 RBI, and 38 R is stellar for anyone, much less a 41-year-old outfielder who was dismissed as a bench player at best. Even more impressively, his 24 HR came in just 73 games, about 20 less than most full-time players. That having been said, we know what Raul Ibanez’ ceiling is as well as his propensity for red-hot and ice-cold streaks.

Domonic Brown: I had expected a big Brown breakout this season but even I didn’t anticipate 23 HR, 67 RBI, 43 XBH, and 49 R by the All-Star break. He even has eight steals. Brown was the fourth-top prospect in the league a few years ago and is finally starting to hit his potential but just how high is that ceiling, especially his season?

It took him a while to develop his power, understandable for a guy who signed as a teenager. He his four homers in his first Single-A action (77 games), nine over 114 games the following year at Single-A, 14 over 106 games between High-A and Double-A in 2009, and finally found his long anticipated power as he put up 20 homers, 69 RBI, and a .327 BA over just 93 games. Unfortunately, the next two seasons would be split between the Majors and the minors, disappointingly so. Coming into this season, he had put up a .236/.315/.388 line with 12 HR, 58 RBI, 57 R and 93 K over 433 MLB at-bats.

To be sure, the 25-year-old is growing into the superstar the baseball world envisioned when he was ranked the league’s fourth-best prospect. At the same time, he has never hit this many home runs, has never played more than 114 games (even in the minors) and has never seen more than 450 at-bats. Longevity is a massive factor over a 162-game season and while he’s become a terrific power hitter I have many doubts about his ability to sustain over his very first full season.

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