Although we are past the midpoint of the 2019 MLB season, there is still plenty of time for the fantasy landscape to undergo dramatic changes. And gamers who get too comfortable with the current hierarchy of assets are going to get burned when some players soar or sink.
Although each of the predictions listed below is far from a sure thing, here are a handful of bold predictions that I can envision for the second half.
Ronald Acuna will be fantasy’s No. 1 post-break asset
Acuna has been a stud thus far, posting a .292 average and ranking among the top-20 players in homers (21), runs scored (68) and stolen bases (13). His bat has been trending in the right direction, too, as he hit .331 with nine homers, 21 RBI and 28 runs scored during June. The 21-year-old’s legs are also getting busier, having collected 11 steals since the beginning of May. My guess is that Acuna continues to regularly stuff the stat sheet, while the contending Braves make their lineup even deeper by the end of July.
Cleveland will come back to win the AL Central
Heading into the season, most observers believed that the Cleveland Indians had a great pitching staff and a mediocre lineup. Well, they were correct about the lineup, which ranks 21st in the Majors with 396 runs scored. But the good news is that their biggest need is in the outfield; a position that should be ripe with trade deadline options. Lengthening the lineup should have a positive impact on the fantasy value of Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, and Carlos Santana.
The Tribe’s bullpen leads the Majors with a 3.45 ERA, but their star-studded rotation has been beset by injuries. My prediction is that the starting quintet eventually returns to form, and the club rips off a winning streak behind Corey Kluber, Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber, Trevor Bauer and possibly Danny Salazar.
Ken Giles will lead the Red Sox in saves
You can count me as fully skeptical about the Red Sox plan to use oft-injured right-hander Nathan Eovaldi in the ninth inning. My guess is that Eovaldi quickly leaves Boston wanting for more, at which time the organization will pivot on their plans and add an experienced closer at the deadline. Giles fits the bill quite well, as he is having success within the division and is under team control at a reasonable salary for multiple seasons. And with the Blue Jays far from contention, they will have no issues with furnishing the roster of one of their division rivals.