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Fantasy Baseball Wrap-Up: All-Star Break 2010

Adam Lind and Aaron Hill

As the second half of the season begins, it is time to look back at the first half and see what has happened. Stephen Strasburg’s debut was everything it was hyped up to be and more as he fanned 14 Pirates, young guns like Ubaldo Jimenez and David Price came into their own, and Albert Pujols…is still a fantasy god.

Just like every single season, we have the players who surprise us and the ones that let us down. What’s that? I think I hear a list coming! Yes, oh yes I do! I’m going to break down five of the biggest busts of the first half as well as five of the biggest surprises. Like a hot transsexual, it’s the best of both worlds. Hey, don’t judge me!

Top 5 Surprises

Corey Hart (RF), Milwaukee Brewers

What is Corey Hart’s career best for home runs in a single season? The answer is 22. How many did he have at the break? That would be 21!

To say the least, this came out of left field (well, right field in Hart’s case). He was seen as  20-20 guy at best, AT BEST. What’s the secret? Well, Hart has increased the amount of fly balls with a career-best 46.4 FB%. The REAL secret? A ridiculous 19% of his fly balls are going for home runs.

The odds of him keeping this momentum for this season are very good. The odds of it happening next season? Well, just look at Aaron Hill (which we will do later).

Aubrey Huff (1B, LF, RF), San Francisco Giants

Huff is just one year removed from a dismal .241/15 HR/59 RBI season between Baltimore and Detroit. He would have been lucky to find an everyday gig.

Instead, he has been a huge boost to the Giants young offense as Huff flashed a line of  .295/17 HR/54 RBI before the break. Many thought the power would be gone after a move to San Fran, but Huff is actually posting a near identical split between home and road with .297/9 HR/27 RBI at home and .307/8 HR/27 RBI on the road.

Ubaldo Jimenez (SP), Colorado Rockies

Raise your hand if you saw this coming… LIAR! He has always had electric stuff, but he has put it together with otherworldly results.

Despite some recent struggles (17 ER in three starts), Jimenez is still sporting a 2.20 ERA to go with his 15-1 record. He is inducing a lot of groundballs and he has actually been pretty lucky with the drops as he is sporting a .248 BABIP, resulting in an opponent batting average of .195.

Matt Latos (SP), San Diego Padres

San Diego’s hot, young prospect is currently on the DL, but that’s only because the Padres don’t want him to exceed a set number of innings pitched this season. The Padres want him rested since he is their best starter with a 10-4 record and 2.45 ERA.

Latos is currently the 5th best pitcher in Yahoo! Fantasy, and he could be the best surprise of the season if he keeps the momentum going after his DL stint.

Not bad for a guy who probably went undrafted in almost every league.

Jose Bautista (3B, LF, RF), Toronto Blue Jays

Jose Bautista is the major league leader in home runs. Yeah, I said it without laughing.

Bautista’s 25 home runs are already a career-best, but we should have seen this coming. He showed signs of power at the end of last season when he launched 8 HR with 18 RBI last September. We let this fly under the radar and now we are paying for it.

Top 5 Busts

Ian Kinsler (2B), Texas Rangers

Ok, he’s hitting .306, but where is our elite power/speed second baseman? Kinsler should be a 30-30 threat, but so far he put together just 4 HR and 9 SB.

Playing in Texas will ensure plenty of run scoring opportunities, but unless he can start using his speed to be productive, Kinsler will continue to be a bust.

Joe Mauer (C), Minnesota Twins

So much for being a legitimate first round pick. Mauer is currently sitting on only four home runs. To put that in perspective, he had more home runs in May of 2009 than he does this season at the break.

He’s not even hitting like Joe Mauer. He’s hitting under .300. Yes, hitting in the .290’s isn’t bad, but if you invested a top pick in Mauer hoping for power and a possible batting title, then you are desperately wanting your money back.

Aaron Hill (2B), Toronto Blue Jays

This is what you get for investing in an out-of-the-blue career season. Hill’s 2009 produced 36 HR, 108 RBI, and a .286 avg.

Hill’s 13 HR and 34 RBI alone point to a major disappointment, but if you want to be truly convinced, then look no further than the sub-Mendoza .195 avg.

Dan Haren (SP), Arizona Diamondbacks

Haren’s career ERA before the break is 3.29. This year, he is rocking a 4.36 before the break. He is supposed to implode in the second half, but for some reason, he has chosen to let himself go in the first half.

I know what you’re thinking. You think that he is just doing the opposite of what he normally does and now he will be an elite starter in the second half. Well, if his first start since the break is any indication (5 IP, 6 ER), then I would look to sell Haren NOW!

Adam Lind (LF), Toronto Blue Jays

What is in the water in Toronto? Aaron Hill and Adam Lind are terrible while Jose Bautista and Alex Gonzalez are flourishing. Well, not Alex Gonzalez anymore, he packed up and went to Atlanta, but that’s not the point.

Lind was very high on my draft board, so high in fact that I drafted him in the 3rd round of all of my leagues. Lind’s 2009 was nearly flawless with 35 home runs, 114 RBI and a .305 avg. He threw in 46 doubles for good measure, giving him a total of 81 XBH.

Lind has stunk up my season, thus making his inclusion here a personal vendetta. For my faith in Lind, I have received a .216 avg, 12 HR, and 42 RBI.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Lind is riding a 9-game hitting streak where he has 3 HR. I’m not getting my hopes up, so for now, Lind is a bust.

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