Friday, March 05, 2010

The All "Second Half" Team

Before we get to today's entry, I already want to thank readers for the tremendous interest shown in being involved with our fantasy auction experiment.  Within hours after posting yesterday's blog entry, we were flooded with emails from people willing to participate and we'll continue to accept emails for this up until Thursday March 11th at 11:59 PM.  Apparently, some readers made extensive cases for why they should be chosen and so I must remind that the choice of who gets to participate will be entirely random with every email address receiving an equal chance.  It's great to see that some strong players have already volunteered but we want this to be an entirely random process so I'm sorry for those who don't get picked but it's going to be a draw from a hat.  Also, if we detect duplicate emails such as one sent from the same IP address, that will disqualify the entry - please, we're asking readers to act in good faith and send no more than one email and we'd be very disappointed to detect otherwise.

Continuing our fun of identifying certain themed fantasy teams, here's one that doesn't have dollar values because it's more about what could happen rather than what's projected to happen.  Also, we just couldn't fill out complete fantasy rosters with today's criteria.  This list is entirely made up of players who for whatever reason (e.g. injury, need to win a job, uncertainty) are likely to produce more in the second half of the season than the first half.  Some aren't projected to be instant superstars but all have in common that their peak value is more likely to come in the second half of the season.

I know there are some other obvious contenders I've left out (e.g. Buster Posey) but these are the guys who most jumped out at me as having at least semi-clear paths to a big league regular role by the end of the year.

Carlos Santana, c, CLE: I'll be surprised if he isn't Cleveland's regular catcher by the All Star break.

Brett Wallace, 1b, TOR: Admittedly, unlike most of the other players we're listing here, we're actually not forecasting him to be a regular by the end of the year but it could happen, especially if the Blue Jays can find a trade involving Lyle Overbay.

Freddy Sanchez, 2b, SF: Almost certain to open the season on the DL, he's not likely to be too far behind.

Pedro Alvarez, 3b, PIT: Everyone knows about him but you also need to know that barring a terrible first half in the minor leagues, he'll be Pittsburgh's regular third baseman by July.

Jose Reyes, ss, NYM: In addition to questions about his recovery from a torn hamstring, we now hear reports about concerns over his thyroid.  We're hoping it doesn't delay his return but it wouldn't surprise us if the Mets play this one extremely cautiously and we don't see the "real" Reyes as early in the season.

Carlos Beltran, of, NYM: It could be a month or more into the season before Beltran is back, this as he recovers from more knee surgery.

Michael Brantley, of, CLE: Before Russell Branyan was signed, we had expected Brantley to be a regular outfielder with Matt LaPorta at first base.  Now that he's facing competition from LaPorta for essentially one job, it's not unthinkable that Brantley gets sent down for the start of the season and shows up as a regular later in the year when the first player goes down because of injury.

Jason Heyward, of, ATL: Still young enough to end up back in the minors, he's got a shot to make the Braves as a regular out of spring training.  If not, he still may be a regular in the majors by the end of the season.

Desmond Jennings, of, TB: He had a brief scare already this spring when his elbow was hit by a pitch but he's apparently okay.  He's very unlikely to start the season in the majors but depending on how Tampa Bay does this year, he could be a regular in the lineup by mid-season.

Michael Taylor, of, OAK: Taylor may very well end up as a regular outfielder for Oakland right out of spring training but if he doesn't, he has a good shot to be there by mid-season.

Eric Bedard, p, SEA: He's out at least the first couple of months but he was so good the last time we saw him pitch that he's definitely worth a gamble.

Matt Latos, p, SD: He still has a shot at a rotation spot out of the gate but regardless, he almost certainly will be a member of the rotation by season's end.

Brad Lidge, p, PHI: Admittedly, he's a gamble given last year's struggles but for now, it's not clear if he'll be healthy in time for the start of the season.  He may very well end up being the cheapest 20+ saves you can buy on draft day.

Ted Lilly, p, CHC: There was briefly talk this spring that he would be ready to go from day one but most reports now revert to what everyone was saying a month ago and that is that he won't pitch until mid to late April at the earliest.

Stephen Strasburg, p, WAS: Okay, you don't really need us to say anything here.  Our only remark is that he's likely to be more of a second half than a first half contributor.

Edinson Volquez, p, CIN: His return may be much later than most of the other names we've mentioned here but he was at least tolerable the last time he pitched and is only a year removed from an excellent season.