Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Top Five Projected Second Half Bums - Brandt Edition

Now, it is time to visit to the dark side. (No, not there). Let's see who I think will fail in the 2nd half.

Dan Haren - SP - Arizona Diamondbacks - Haren had a great 1st half in his NL debut, gaining 8 wins, 112Ks and a 2.72 ERA. Of course, Haren always has a great first half, but it is his traditional 2nd half achievements that place him on this list.

Haren's 2007 1st half = 10-3, 101 Ks, 2.30 ERA.
Haren's 2007 2nd half = 5-6, 91Ks, 4.15 ERA.
Haren's 2006 1st half = only 5 wins, but 98Ks, 3.52 ERA, 1.13 WHIP.
Haren's 2006 2nd half = 8 wins, but with 78Ks, 4.91 ERA (including 5.80 in September) and a 1.31 WHIP.
Prognosis - Sell high while you can.

Kevin Youkilis -1B/3B - Boston Red Sox - The legendary "Greek God of Walks" had a great first half this season with a line of .314, 14, 63 equaling a .933 OPS (Yes, I know your league does not count OPS, but it is a great indicator.) These figures are better yet similar to Youkilis' 1st half line from 2007 of .328, 9, 44 with a .920 OPS. What did Youkilis' 2007 2nd half look like? How about .238, 7, 39 with a .747 OPS. How about 2006? .258, 3, 29 with .728 OPS. Unless you are using him as sub due to his 1B/3B eligibility, you might want to sell him before he realizes the All-Star game is over.

Josh Hamilton - OF - Texas Rangers - I want to be wrong. I want to be wrong. I want to be wrong. But I can't see how Hamilton does well this half. First, his 1st half was so amazing - .310, 21, 95 - that a regression must be due. Second, due to past his drug issues, if he gets hurt (played only 90 games in 2007), Hamilton will have to recover without the help of painkillers. My brain says sell high; my heart says Hamilton for 2008 MVP.

Rich Harden/AJ Burnett/Ben Sheets - Disabled List - On the other end of the spectrum, I have no problems calling these guys bums. With the Oakland A's, Harden went 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA and an impressive 92Ks in only 77 innings. Yet Billy Beane shipped him out as soon as he could. Does Billy Beane ever end up on the wrong end of trade? Exactly.

AJ Burnett has not been awful (10 wins, 126Ks), but he hasn't been great either (4.96 ERA, 1.46 WHIP). Don't get delusions of grandeur when you hear mentions of him going to a contender. Move him now, or move him as soon he goes to a contender.

Ben Sheets is a bit of a conundrum to me. He is always hurt (averaging only 134 innings from 2005-2007), but Sheets is in his contract season, which might prevent him from collapsing until the Yankees give him Kevin Brown's old contract next season. Regardless, tread lightly, as you might jar lose Sheets' shoulder if you step too hard.

Ryan Ludwick - OF - St. Louis Cardinals. Yes, he went .289, 21, 65 in the first half. Yes, he is also 30 years old, had 28 career HRs coming into this season, and you never heard of him before this season. Come sell away, come sell away, come sell away with me ....

Other bums - John Danks - SP - Chicago White Sox, Joe Saunders - SP - Los Angeles Angels, Chone Figgins - 2B/3B/OF, Milton Bradley - OF - Texas Rangers

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