Last week, we discussed some of the first half’s most pleasant surprises for fantasy owners. Today we turn our attention to a few players who have fallen short of preseason expectations. Will they perform better during the season’s second half?
Prince Fielder, 1B, Texas Rangers
Fielder deserves a ton of credit for coming back from a career-threatening neck injury and providing a useful fantasy season in 2015. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to build on that success this year. He’s on pace for career worst numbers pretty much across the board, and there doesn’t seem to be much bad luck involved; almost every conceivable metric we have is pointing to a decline in skill. Fielder is making less contact, hitting the ball with less authority, walking less, struggling to catch up to fastballs…you name it. June has been his best month by far, and he still hasn’t performed well enough to be worth a roster spot in most leagues. Fielder is 32 and has a body type notorious for aging poorly. As we’ve seen before with players like Mo Vaughn, Ryan Howard, and Fielder’s own father, Cecil, the decline is swift and ruthless. Sell
Justin Upton, OF, Detroit Tigers
The Tigers certainly must be thrilled with how the Fielder-Ian Kinsler trade has worked out, but Upton’s horrendous start had some wondering if they hadn’t simply signed a new albatross in free agency. The 28 year old struck out in nearly 40 percent of his plate appearances over the first two months of the season. As a result, he was among the worst players in baseball by most measures. His peripherals didn’t really seem to support those results, however, and recent returns have been encouraging. Upton’s numbers this month have hewn close to his career averages, and given his history, it’s reasonable to expect a hot streak at some point. Buy/Hold
Chris Archer, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
Archer has had a strange season. He’s retained the gaudy strikeout totals that made him a breakout star in 2015, but when batters have connected, they’ve done so emphatically. Archer’s home run rate and BABIP were both through the roof in the season’s first several weeks, and it wasn’t entirely bad luck. Both the eye test and the numbers plainly showed that Archer was getting hit hard. He was also struggling to limit walks. In his last few starts, he’s done a better job of keeping the ball in the yard and not handing out free passes. While his overall numbers are still pretty ugly, Archer does appear to be making progress on resolving whatever mechanical issues he was having early on. Buy/Hold
Kyle Bishop is a lead MLB columnist at RotoBaller.com. His articles are your secret weapon for winning fantasy leagues.