With the second half of the MLB season underway, wise fantasy managers need to start focusing on specific categories in order to move up the standings. These may not always be the categories where a team is weakest, but rather the categories that are tightly bunched.
Acquiring superstars is usually the fastest way to improve, but many teams may not be able to make such a move. Here are some other names who should be easier to acquire and could move teams up the standings in specific areas.
Home Runs and RBIs
Joey Gallo (OF, TEX)
Gallo has both the recent success (10 homers since June 20) and long-term track record (two 40-homer seasons) to suggest that he will be among the home run leaders in the second half. Gallo is the perfect fit for those who can handle a low batting mark.
Salvador Perez (C, KC)
Many managers can make great strides by adding a productive catcher. With 20 homers and 51 RBIs, Perez has been among the best at his premium position this year.
Adam Duvall (OF, MIA)
Duvall has always been a powerful slugger and produced 16 long balls in 190 at-bats last season. This year he has already gone deep 19 times and has driven in 60 runs, despite playing for a Marlins club that lacks offensive punch. In a perfect world, Duvall gets traded this month to a contending team with a hitter-friendly home park.
Eduardo Escobar (2B/3B, ARI)
Escobar has bounced back from a down year in the shortened 2020 season to display the power that led to 35 round-trippers in 2019. His name has been popular in trade rumors of late, with the strongest rumor representing a perfect fit with a talented White Sox team.
Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, LAD)
Bellinger has been awful this season, batting .192 with a .624 OPS across 29 games. His long-term struggles (he posted a mediocre .789 OPS last year) should make the slugger easy to acquire. This one requires some guts or desperation, but there is a chance that Bellinger could get on track and flash the power that has led to previous homer totals of 39 and 47.
Tommy Edman (2B/3B/SS/OF, STL)
On pace for 30 steals and nearly 90 runs scored, Edman can make a major difference in those two categories. However, the multi-position asset has been mediocre in the batting average category (.264) and has produced little in the power areas (four homers, 23 RBIs).
Isiah Kiner-Falefa (C/3B/SS, TEX)
Kiner-Falefa is especially valuable in Yahoo formats, where he is the only catcher-eligible player who can produce a game-changing steals total. For those who need to really move up the steals category, the Rangers infielder should be their primary target.
Myles Straw (OF, HOU)
One of baseball’s fastest players, Straw offers plenty of stolen base potential but little else. He should be the easiest player on this list to acquire.
Michael Brantley (OF, HOU)
Hitting .338 with five homers, 31 RBIs and zero steals, Brantley is the definition of an empty batting average in fantasy circles. In a perfect world, those who need batting average acquire Brantley now before the veteran produces power numbers at a greater rate in the second half.
Adam Frazier (2B/OF, PIT)
Frazier has been a great table-setter for an otherwise weak Pirates lineup, hitting .325 with 52 runs scored. But the contact hitter has done little in terms of power (four homers) or speed (four steals), which could make him easy to acquire. There is a strong chance that Frazier could be traded to a contender this month.
Alex Kirilloff (1B/OF, MIN)
For those who want to take a gamble on someone with batting average upside, Kirilloff is the perfect target. The rookie is hitting just .269, but he ranks seventh in baseball in Statcast’s expected batting average metric (.316). With some improved luck, Kirilloff could shoot up the fantasy rankings this summer.
Mark Canha (1B/OF, OAK)
Currently on the IL with a hip injury, Canha could be acquired for a very reasonable return right now. The A’s leadoff man has scored 55 runs in 74 games and should return from the IL shortly following the All-Star break.
Alex Verdugo (OF, BOS)
Verdugo sits 18th in baseball in runs scored, and he should be somewhere between consistent and spectacular the rest of the way. The left-handed hitter holds the No. 2 spot in an outstanding Red Sox lineup, hitting directly in front of J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers.
Jake Cronenworth (1B/2B/SS, SD)
Cronenworth has scored 61 runs in 87 games, regularly batting out of the three-hole in a talented Padres lineup. With three eligible positions, he should easily slot into the lineup of any Yahoo team that acquires him.