As I prepare to watch the annual Home Run Derby tonight, I can only hope that Chris Berman will be providing the "back, back, back, back...oh juuust missed..." commentary again this year. Some people hate Berman, but I kind of enjoy him in a sick way. On some level he has to know that he comes off as an egotistical blowhard, but I don't think he cares. According to his bio at Brooks International, he has appeared onstage with Huey Lewis and the News "over half a dozen times" (why not just say seven?) as well as twice with Eddie Money. Who amongst us can make that claim? None of us? That's what I thought. Anyway, here are guys I think will blow up in the second half. Trade for them if you can. Pray for them to get injured if you can't.
Mark Teixeira - 1B - Atlanta Braves - Tex is a classic second-half monster. In 2007 he hit 18 of his 30 home runs and 64 of his 105 RBI in the second half. And that's nothing compared to 2006 when he hit a whopping 29 home runs in the second half. He may end up a Yankee or a Red Sock, which may not improve his numbers as much as you might think, as he has a nice little spot hitting after Chipper and before McCann, but it certainly can't hurt to be in a lineup with A-Rod or Man-Ram/Large Father. The downside of trying to trade for Teixeira is that it's pretty much common knowledge that he's a second-half stud. You'll probably have a tough time acquiring him, but if you're already an owner, hang on for a huge rest of the season for Tex.
Grady Sizemore - OF - Cleveland Indians - Considering the fact that Grady Sizemore has already nearly reached his career-highs in HR's and SB, this actually a pretty bold prediction, but I think this is his big breakout year. He has not been a huge second-half guy in the past, but he is running wild this year, and I think the power numbers are legit. Last week I predicted 40/40 for Grady and I'm sticking to it. And, yes, I am a card-carrying member of Grady's Ladies.
Miguel Cabrera - 3B/1B - Detroit Tigers - Awww, poor you. You used your first draft pick on Miguel Cabrera and he only gave you a .284 BA, 16 HR, 57 RBI & 43 R in the first half (AKA, nearly the identical numbers he had last year in the second half). Not to fear, Miggy is still in a potent offense that is starting to pull it together and he will have a big second half. Worst-case scenario, he matches his first-half numbers and ends up with 32/114/86, but I would project closer to 38/125/100 with a BA around .300. It's worth a try to make an offer on him, especially in a keeper league.
Javier Vazquez - SP - Chicago White Sox - Javier has been striking guys out in near obscurity for years now. Starting your career in Montreal tends to have that effect (see also: Cabrera, Orlando). There was the unfortunate stint in pinstripes in 2004, but since then he's been pretty solid. He's a good pitcher who can catch fire and become your fantasy ace at any moment if you'll just let him. Last year he was 9-3 in the second half with a K/BB ratio of 105/24. He's on a contending team this year and he will continue to get the K's. I think he'll rack up the wins also and I'm buying.
A.J. Burnett - SP - Toronto Blue Jays - I actually picked the Blue Jays to win the AL East this year. Yeah, I was the guy. The main reason was I loved the rotation of Halladay, Burnett and McGowan. Well, Halladay has been good, but the other two have been pretty brutal. But Burnett is a guy who really helped me down the stretch last year, and I had him on this list even before his performance last night against the Yankees. I can see him getting traded to a team like the Cardinals, which would be awesome for him. He's got all of the tools, and if he stays healthy I can see a huge second half for A.J. I think there is enough reward potential there to take the risk in trading for him if you need a SP for the second half.
Others to watch:
Nick Markakis - OF - Baltimore Orioles, Kevin Youkilis - 1B/3B - Boston Red Sox, Sean Gallagher - SP - Oakland A's, Matt Holliday - OF - Colorado Rockies
COMING SOON - Top Five Projected Second Half Bums