Yahoo Fantasy analyst Scott Pianowski offers some baseball waiver and trade advice at the 2021 All-Star break.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Hey, everybody. Scott Pianowski. Second half of fantasy baseball is ready to go. Let's give you some makeover moves that can get you into contention as you look to take down that 2021 championship.
Couple of pickups I want you look at. Garrett Cooper in Miami returned two weeks ago from back injury. He's been terrific. .463 average, four homers.
He's walked 13 times. OBP almost .600. Settling into the third spot of a reasonable Miami lineup. And I know he's had injury problems in the past, and maybe that's why he's lagging at 25% rostered right now. But qualifies as first in the outfield.
OPS+ of 138. I think we got to get his tag higher. I like him. When he's on the field, he's a productive player. Just a matter of how healthy he'll be for the rest of the season.
If you want an American League hitter, how about Andrew Vaughn? He was the third pick in the 2019 draft class. [? So if ?] we're talking about a post-hype sleeper here, he's also first base and third base eligible. And he's really been swinging a hot bat, .395 with four homers over the last couple of weeks.
And the White Sox cut Adam Eaton. They want Vaughn in the lineup every day. He's got a dedicated spot. Only rostered in about a third of Yahoos leagues, so good time to get in on Vaughn.
If you're a trader, how about Michael Conforto? I mean, you look at his season, it's really ugly. He missed six weeks with a hamstring problem, and he's barely hitting over .200.
But the Statcast data defends Conforto. It says his average should be about 46 points higher. His slugging percentage should be at least 100 points higher.
Homered right before the All-Star break. The walk and strikeout rate has been good of late, and he's been an All-Star caliber player before. I think Michael Conforto is a great player to get on the cheap if you are in a league that makes trades.
Now, a couple players you might want to trade away-- I know saves are hard to give up. And I know Craig Kimbrel is somebody you probably don't want to trade. His ERA rate and WHIP are both below 1. But the Cubs have a losing record. Kimbrel hasn't had a save since June 20, and they may be sellers at the deadline.
Now, if Kimbrel gets traded, will he be a closer for a new team? You'd like to think automatically. But he's been linked to the Dodgers. They already have Kenley Jansen.
I'm not sure that Kimbrel would close for another team. I'm not sure the Cubs are going to get him a bunch of save chances if he stays in Chicago. And, of course, if you make a trade with Kimbrel involved, you'd be asking for a lot. You're surely not looking to get rid of him at all costs. But I think you might be finding the high point if you looked into a trade for Kimbrel.
And another closer I'm a little bit concerned about-- Alex Reyes has a 1.52 ERA and it does not pass the sniff test. It should be in the mid-3s, maybe even over 4. He has an awful walk rate. He's been obscenely lucky with his BABIP, with his strand rate, with his home run rate, although I don't think the Cardinals are going to take away the job of a closer with 20 saves, not if you're [? asking ?] [? for ?] an All-Star like Kimbrel was.
But I think this could be an ugly second half when these stats start to normalize. Just be realistic with Reyes, and, again, if somebody looks at that pretty ERA, they see the 20 saves, I think maybe you get overpaid in a trade.
So this is a couple of players I'd look to market. There's some moves to get you going for the second half of fantasy baseball. Keep grinding away. We want you in the winner's circle at the end of the season.