The following are 10 fearless predictions for the second half of the major league baseball season:
1) Delmon Young will be a monster – It’s already starting. After a .310 June, Young has posted a line of .391/.408/.500 during July. The K/BB ratio is still ugly, but the slugging is continuing to improve, and he’s also showing a greater propensity to run. Don’t forget just how good of a prospect he is.
2) Yovani Gallardo will be a difference maker in your fantasy league – The Brewers want to limit his innings, understandably, but Ben Sheets is already hurt, and the back-end of the rotation isn’t that great to begin with. Gallardo, meanwhile, has been fantastic – just one HR allowed, 27 Ks over 28.2 innings and has a great offense supporting him.
3) Pedro Martinez will have a triumphant return to the mound, Chris Carpenter will not – Carpenter’s condition appears to be arthritic, and it’s almost time to write him off until 2008. Martinez, on the other hand, has seen his rehab progress seamlessly. Remember, it wasn’t Tommy John surgery, so while he won’t be back firing 95 mph fastballs, Martinez is crafty enough to get by on a lot less. You could get a pretty effective 50 innings out of him before it’s all said and done. R.I.P. Pedro’s little friend.
4) Chris Burke will be worth using again in deep fantasy leagues – One of the bigger busts through the first half of the season, Burke is finally set to get more playing time again, at least when Houston is on the road. The fact the Astros put a personal accomplishment (Craig Biggio’s 3,000 hits) before team goals is one of the worst stories of the 2007 season. Maybe a move back to his original position at second base will help get Burke’s bat going. He can get on base, has decent power and can run well.
5) Jeremy Guthrie will come crashing back down to earth, while Jered Weaver will pitch like an ace – Guthrie has been one of the biggest surprises over the first half, posting a remarkable 0.99 WHIP in 105.2 innings. A former first round pick, this Stanford product is due for a major correction in ERA, with an unsustainable BABIP and pitching in the AL East. Send him packing. Weaver, meanwhile, has a disappointing 1.42 WHIP after walking one fewer batter while pitching 50 fewer innings this season compared to last. The injury suffered in spring training got him off to a slow start, as he’s been really good since May ended. Go get him.
6) Rocco Baldelli will return to Tampa Bay’s lineup on September 1st – Before his first at-bat, his hamstring will literally fall off the bone while taking practice swings in the on-deck circle. He’ll never be heard from again.
7) Albert Pujols will crush 25 homers after the All-Star break – If you were able to buy him 85 cents on the dollar one week ago, congratulations, because that opportunity is now gone.
8) Alex Rodriguez will become the first right-handed Yankee ever to reach 50 homers, while also knocking in 165 runs - The AP will consequently give the MVP Award to Magglio Ordonez, who finishes with 25 home runs for the first place Tigers.
9) Carlos Zambrano will be one of the three most valuable fantasy pitchers from here on out, while Johan Santana wins the pitching triple crown.
10) The NL rookie class is so good, Hunter Pence will finish third in the ROY voting, behind runner-up Tim Lincecum and winner Ryan Braun.