SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – If you’ve been playing fantasy sports long enough, you know it’s not the guys you pick up in round one and two that put your team in the playoffs, but those gems you added in the later rounds. Did you get laughed at when you picked up Scott Kazmir? Who is laughing now? But don’t fall completely in love with that early season steal; a few weeks of slumping could simply be reversion to the mean. Here are our picks for players to keep on a short leash in the 2nd half of your fantasy baseball campaign:
Dee Gordon, Dodgers: Dude is leading the world in steals, and he may continue to hold off Jose Altuve and Billy Hamilton in that category, but it’s no lock. He’s only swiped three bag in July and he was 4 for his last 25 at the plate heading into the break. needless to say, he’s a bit of a streaky player, so consider “resting him” if this turns into a full-blown slump. Were not arguing you should cut him loose anytime soon, maybe just deploy him at the end of the week if you are behind a steal or two.
Corey Dickerson, Colorado: ESPN says Dickerson is the 16th most valuable outfielder in fantasy baseball; Not bad for a guy you hadn’t really heard about before the season. He’s been raking it at well above .300, and stealing bags while also hitting for power. And he plays at Coors Field! Sounds like a fantasy dream, right? Maybe. But there is a reason he’s not owned in 100 percent of leagues. Most importantly, he plays in a crowded, talented outfield and may not be on the field every day. He’s certainly a player to keep an eye on in the future, but that future may not be your fantasy playoffs.
Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees: A simple DL trip was not going to be enough to force you to cut someone with this type of talent. He was nearly as effective as Kersahaw and King Felix over the first few months of the year. But back-to-back nine-plus hit outings before a indefinite trip to the DL is not what any fantasy owner wants to see. Even if he does return this season (and rumor is he could need Tommy John Surgery) he may not be as stellar as he was a few weeks ago.
Melky Cabrera, Toronto: The overall numbers are still quite respectable, but a closer look reveals that the homers have pretty much evaporated, and we aren’t banking on him getting four more steals this year. So do you hold on to a guy that will likely hover around a .300 average. Maybe if that’s the only category you need help in. Add to that the fact that his team has begun to slump and has no recent history of playing meaningful games late in the year, and it’s hard to bet on the former All-Star Game MVP.
Kenley Jansen, Dodgers: 27 first half saves is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, it’s amazing. But a .3.49 era and a 1.27 WHIP are pretty pedestrian numbers for a dude closing for the highest paid team in baseball. Now come rumors that the Dodgers are contemplating trading for a veteran like Jonathan Papelbon. If that happens and Jansen doesn’t end up closing elsewhere, it will be time to drop this very talented arm immediately.