C’mon, be honest with yourself. You had some teams that crushed it 2018 and some that were dead on July 1st. So, you may have started your fantasy football prep a little early. Don’t worry, I won’t rat you out. But while you were pining over wide receiver rankings, you may have missed some of these brilliant pitching performances after the All-Star break. Some came from veterans, while others from young arms that finally figured things out. Incredibly some even came from names that may have buried some of your teams in the first half! Oh, fantasy baseball, you are a fickle mistress.
So, here are 7 Second Half Pitching Performances You Missed, you should pay attention to in 2019 drafts.
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Breakout Pitching Performances from 2018’s Second Half
Cole Hamels CHC (13 GS, 2.99 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 89 IP, 76 K/25 BB)
Fantrax ADP 152
4.69. That was Cole Hamels’ career ERA at the Ballpark in Arlington. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the mound. Maybe it was the accents. Whatever it was, his ERA hated Texas! Chicago (and the NL) was a sight for sore eyes for the crafty lefty, as we were once again reminded that Hamels is still a solid starter. His career 3.40 ERA is much closer to what you should expect and his K/9 rate is still right around 9. Don’t dismiss him in 2019 drafts. At his current ADP, he’s one of the best middle of the rotation starters you can nab and you can count on 190-plus innings. How many guys can you say that about? And now, those innings will be quality ones once again.
Luis Castillo CIN (11 GS, 2.44 ERA, .96 ERA, .96 WHIP, 66 IP, 69 K/14 BB)
Fantrax ADP 115
The love affair is growing here. Luis Castillo is poised to take that next step, as I profiled last week in 7 Players That Might Save Your Fantasy Season. He will be drafted as an SP 3 in most drafts and he’s my breakout pitcher for 2019. He was electric over his last 11 starts and although I hate to extrapolate, it’s reasonable to expect 200 K from him with 185 IP and a mid-3.00 ERA or better. Yes, even in that ballpark, which ironically he does his best work in thank you. Sometimes, you have to be confident and take a shot on a guy taking the next step. This is one of those times.
Nathan Eovaldi BOS (12 GS, 3.15 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 60 IP, 56 K/12 BB)
Fantrax ADP 173
Nathan Eovaldi was one of my favorite waiver wire claims last year when he returned from injury. I spoke about him at length on my shows last summer and encouraged folks to pick him up in all leagues. If you did, then you were as pleased as I was. The trade to the Red Sox cemented him as a fantasy arm, and the fact the Red Sox re-signed him tells you they also believe in his evolution. A 3.15 ERA in the AL East over his last 12 games is a glimpse that a full, healthy season could result in 15 wins, 160 K’s. that would make him a sweet No. 4 starter in mixed leagues.
Hun-Jin Ryu LAD (9 GS, 1.88 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 52 IP, 53 K/5 BB)
Fantrax ADP 193
I’ll let the walk rate speak for itself. Five walks in his last 52 innings. That’s just stunning. Ryu has always been talented, but staying on the field has been a challenge. Still, anyone capable of dominating in that way is worth whatever risk you have to take on him, and the reward so outweighs that risk it’s not fair. The Dodger rotation will be full of constantly moving pieces thanks to Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, and others. Ryu is worth the speculation. The pace of those last 9 starts isn’t sustainable, but it’s a window at how Ryu can contribute to a fantasy crown.
Jhoulys Chacin MIL (14 GS, 3.24 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 67 IP, 68 K/24 BB)
Fantrax ADP 239
Most people forget how high the Rockies were on Chacin before his scary injury. He battled back and last year it all came together in the final months of 2018. The K/9 rate was top notch and his other peripherals were solid across the board. Yet, it seems in most drafts this year, no one cares. Well, I do dammit! And so should you! Chacin is the perfect example of when fantasy owners can’t break from the past history of a player and live in the now. His past wasn’t even all of his fault. Colorado is an unkind environment. With so many pitchers needed over a full season, you should be grateful to own him at his ridiculously cheap cost.
Anibal Sanchez WAS (13 GS, 3.04 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 71 IP, 73 K/23 BB)
Fantrax ADP 305
Last year with the Braves, somehow Anibal Sanchez became a thing. One good start followed another, and another, until when you looked up it was a game-changing second-half effort for the veteran. Sanchez has burned down more fantasy rotations than my cousin Louie from Staten Island has burned down business ventures for insurance money. But, at some point, you have to take notice of a player redeeming themselves. There was definitely some “bad luck” in his 2017 stats, but the secret to his 2018 success was keeping the ball on the ground. If he can do that again in Washington, then he can be a nice value pick as rotation depth in 2019 leagues.
Mike Fiers OAK (12 GS, 3.24 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 67 IP, 63 K/16 BB)
Fantrax ADP 324
Mike Fiers always has one or two good runs in him a year. The rest of it he pitches more like THE runs. However, his last 12 starts were of a high enough quality, and that home ballpark is enough of a reason to be interested in Fiers as a depth arm in 2019. Play the match ups carefully, and Fiers can be useful in deeper leagues.
Ready to take advantage of these second half breakouts? For more great rankings, strategy, and analysis check out the 2019 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. We’ll be adding more content from now right up until Opening Day!
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