We've made it. With the All-Star break just days away, we are officially past the midpoint of the 2013 season. Below you will find some options to bolster your team going into the break and others who should provide value during the second half. But before we get to that, I'm going to unveil my Waiver Wired MVP and Cy Young Award winners for the first half.
MVP - Jean Segura SS, Brewers
Mentioned in the second edition of Waiver Wired this season, Segura has proven to be one of the most valuable position players in fantasy leagues so far. Through 88 games, the 23-year-old shortstop is batting .319/.355/.485 with 11 home runs, 36 RBI, 27 stolen bases, and 50 runs scored. That's a legitimate five-category stud. Segura has inevitably faded since the end of May, hitting .263 with just five walks over his last 170 plate appearances, but he's still doing enough in counting stats to be one of the top fantasy shortstops out there. I have him on a tier below the likes of Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, and Jose Reyes, but that's still a pretty good place to be.
Cy Young - Patrick Corbin SP, Diamondbacks
I didn't recommend Corbin until the fourth Waiver Wired of the season, but that's mostly because I didn't want to overreact to a small sample size. Well, we're now halfway through the season and the 24-year-old southpaw ranks fifth in the majors with a 2.40 ERA and is tied for fourth in the National League with 10 wins. That's good enough for him to be sixth among pitchers on Yahoo's player rater. As good as Corbin has been during the first half, his strikeout rate (7.20 K/9) is barely above the league average for starters and he has also benefited from a .238 BABIP (batting average on balls in play). I still think he'll be valuable in mixed leagues the rest of the way, but don't be surprised to see some regression as we move along here.
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Logan Morrison 1B/OF, Marlins (Yahoo: 20 percent owned)
Morrison has been very productive for the Marlins since returning from knee surgery, batting .304/.382/.557 with four home runs and nine RBI in 22 games. This includes an 11/9 K/BB ratio. He had an underwhelming .230/.308/.399 batting line in 93 games last season, so I understand the hesitation on the part of some fantasy owners, but there's reason to believe that the long-awaited breakout could be coming if his nagging knee issues are truly behind him. While it feels like Morrison has been around forever, he's still just 25 years old. There isn't a ton of help around him in the Marlins' lineup, but I think he can be useful in most formats the rest of the way.
Jedd Gyorko 2B/3B, Padres (Yahoo: 44 percent owned)
Gyorko appeared primed to rejoin the Padres two weeks ago, but he ended up being shut down again after he suffered a setback with his groin during a rehab stint. The Padres have been extra cautious with him since, but he was able to restart his rehab assignment on Wednesday night and could be activated as soon as this weekend. The 24-year-old was really hitting his stride offensively prior to the injury, so hopefully he's ready to pick up from where he left off during the second half. With his multi-position eligibility, he should be owned in all formats.
Evan Gattis C/OF, Braves (Yahoo: 42 percent owned)
Gattis has been sidelined since June 17 due to an oblique strain, but he took batting practice for the first time Wednesday and should head out on a minor league rehab assignment soon. If all goes according to plan, the 26-year-old slugger should be activated right after the All-Star break. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is going to have to pick his spots for Gattis, but there's no question that he can provide value in fantasy leagues. Even after three weeks away, he's currently tied for second among catcher-eligible players with 14 home runs and is also tied for 12th with 37 RBI. Grab him if he's still out there in two-catcher leagues.
Brandon Beachy SP, Braves (Yahoo: 37 percent owned)
Beachy's return from Tommy John surgery hit a temporary snag last month due to some inflammation in his elbow, but he resumed a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday, allowing two runs over three innings in a start with Triple-A Gwinnett. The 26-year-old right-hander figures to need at least two more starts in order to get stretched out again, but he could be an option for the Braves' rotation shortly after the All-Star break. It's unclear how they'll find room for him there, but don't worry about that right now. Remember, Beachy owns a 3.07 ERA in 41 career starts. Keep him stashed.
Marlon Byrd OF, Mets (Yahoo: 11 percent owned)
The Mets weren't quite sure what they would get from Byrd after a lost season in which he served a 50-game PED suspension, but he has surprisingly been the team's best hitter outside of David Wright, batting .268 with 15 home runs, 49 RBI, and an .818 OPS through 76 games. The 35-year-old outfielder is already five home runs away from tying his career-high. He's getting there thanks to a huge spike in his fly ball rate. It's worth noting that he has never had a home run-to-fly ball rate quite like this, so it's fair to expect his pace to slow down somewhat. That's especially the case if he is traded somewhere and finds himself in a semi-regular role. But his ownership number is way too low based on his current situation and level of production.
Eric Stults SP, Padres (Yahoo: 27 percent owned)
I haven't been a big believer in Stults in the past, but it's hard to argue with what he has done so far this season. Through 19 starts, the 33-year-old has a 3.50 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 74/25 K/BB ratio over 121 innings. This includes a complete game victory over the Rockies in his most recent start on Tuesday. Not surprisingly, Stults has enjoyed most of his success at home, compiling a 2.56 ERA at PETCO Park compared to a 4.31 ERA on the road. The southpaw will close out the first half with a start against the struggling Giants at home, so he makes for one of the more appealing streaming options out there.
Brian Dozier 2B/SS, Twins (Yahoo: 16 percent owned)
Believe it or not, Dozier has been one of the most productive middle infielders in fantasy leagues over the past six weeks, batting .269/.380/.485 with seven home runs, 22 RBI, and four stolen bases over 41 games. The 26-year-old has pulled his batting average up from .197 to .233 in the process. While he was really struggling to make contact in the early part of the season, he has an impressive 21/20 K/BB ratio during this 41-game span. He had a 184/154 K/BB ratio over 365 games in the minors, so perhaps he just needed some time to get comfortable at the major league level. If Dozier can continue to make contact and get on base at a high clip, the Twins figure to stick with him near the top of the order. That could result in some sneaky value the rest of the way.
Yonder Alonso 1B, Padres (Yahoo: 10 percent owned)
Out since the end of May with a broken bone in his right hand, Alonso is 6-for-11 (.545) with two RBI through three rehab games with Triple-A Tucson. Back to full health, he appears on track to be activated this weekend against the Giants. The 26-year-old first baseman was hitting .284 with six home runs and 29 RBI in 54 games prior to the injury, so he should be a useful CI (corner infielder) in most formats moving forward. Kyle Blanks has really come back down to Earth over the past few weeks, so playing time shouldn't be an issue.
Hector Santiago RP/SP, White Sox (Yahoo: 13 percent owned)
Santiago has quietly been very useful as a member of Chicago's rotation, posting a 3.36 ERA over 11 starts while strikeout 67 batters in 61 2/3 innings. Only Matt Harvey, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, and Yu Darvish have a higher K/9 among those who have thrown at least 60 innings as a starter. Walks are an issue for Santiago (4.6 BB/9 in 155 2/3 innings), but opposing batters haven't made him pay yet. The 25-year-old southpaw figures to head back to the bullpen when Jake Peavy returns from the disabled list after the All-Star break, but he's a solid streaming option against the Phillies this weekend.
Shopping at the five-and-dime:
(Players owned in under 10 percent of Yahoo! leagues)
Grant Green SS, Athletics (Yahoo: 3 percent owned)
Green earned his first call-up to the majors this week after batting .318/.374/.500 with 11 home runs, 49 RBI, and four stolen bases through 81 games this season with Triple-A Sacramento. Selected No. 13 overall back in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Green has regularly hit for average in the minors while also providing some pop and speed, but he has struggled to find a permanent position due to his defensive shortcomings. The 25-year-old is expected to platoon with Eric Sogard at second base in the short-term, but he could quickly become a regular if he gets off to a hot start. Of course, he's 0-for-6 with four strikeouts thus far, so he's not off to a great start on that end. Still, those in need of MI (middle infielder) help should at least consider him as a speculative add.
Wilson Ramos C, Nationals (Yahoo: 9 percent owned)
Ramos has been red-hot since returning from the disabled list, hitting .450 (9-for-20) with two home runs, two doubles, and 10 RBI in six games. The 23-year-old backstop has had some awful luck recently from a health perspective, as he required season-ending knee surgery last May and has been limited to just 20 games this season due to hamstring issues, so it's easy to forget the promise that he showed back in 2011. The presence of Kurt Suzuki complicates things a bit, but I think Ramos will have the edge in playing time during the second half. He should be owned in most two-catcher leagues.
Aaron Hicks OF, Twins (Yahoo: 3 percent owned)
Hicks was a popular sleeper in mixed leagues after his promising showing during spring training, but he began his major league career with a miserable slump and soon found himself dumped on the waiver wire. While that's understandable, it might be time to give him another chance. The 23-year-old outfielder is hitting .344 with six extra-base hits (one home run) two RBI, two stolen bases, and nine runs scored in nine games since returning from a strained left hamstring. I wouldn't look for the batting average to continue at this lofty level, as Hicks still strikes out way too much, but he has enough pop and speed to help in deeper formats. He could get a nice boost in value if the Twins give him another shot out of the leadoff spot soon.
Blake Parker RP, Cubs (Yahoo: 4 percent owned)
With Kevin Gregg on the trade block, Parker is someone who should be on your radar. The 28-year-old right-hander has pitched well since his call-up in June, posting a 2.12 ERA and 16/5 K/BB ratio over 17 innings, leading Cubs manager Dale Sveum to say that he could turn to him as a replacement at closer if Gregg is dealt. Part of his reasoning is that Parker has closed in the minors (he has 66 saves in seven seasons), but the Cubs are also encouraged by the development of his splitter as a legitimate out-pitch. James Russell and Pedro Strop could also figure in, but Parker appears to be next in line at the moment.
Christian Yelich OF, Marlins (Yahoo: 2 percent owned)
One of the top outfield prospects in the game, Yelich recently returned to action after missing nearly a month due to a lower abdominal injury. The 21-year-old outfielder got off to a solid start his year before going into an extended slump just prior to the injury, so the Marlins will likely want to see him get on a hot streak before calling him up, but scouts are pretty enamored by his smooth swing from the left side of the plate. I think we'll see Yelich at some point during the second half, especially if Justin Ruggiano is moved before the trade deadline. Feel free to pick him up if you have the roster flexibility in deeper leagues.
Carlos Torres RP/SP, Mets (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
Torres has been a nice find out of the Mets' bullpen this season, posting a 0.51 ERA and 15/2 K/BB ratio over 17 2/3 innings, but he'll get a chance in the starting rotation now that Shaun Marcum is done for the season due to thoracic outlet syndrome. The 30-year-old right-hander has never enjoyed success like this during his previous stints in the majors, so it would be dangerous to take the small sample too seriously, but his improved control (both with the Mets and during his time with Triple-A Las Vegas) is very encouraging. Jon Niese could be back in a month, but Torres is worth a short-term look.
Jeff Francoeur OF, Giants (Yahoo: 1 percent owned)
The Royals cut ties with Francoeur last week after he batted just .208/.249/.322 in 59 games, but the Giants quickly scooped him up in an effort to save their season. OK, just kidding about that. The 29-year-old will spend some time with Triple-A Fresno in order to get some work in left field and could join the big club at some point after the All-Star break. The Giants would be best served to use Francoeur strictly against left-handed pitching, but he has a knack for getting off to hot starts with new teams and earning regular at-bats as a result. Those desperate for outfield help should take a chance.
Jarred Cosart SP, Astros (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
The time has come. After compiling a 3.29 ERA and 93 strikeouts over 93 innings this season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, Cosart will be called up to make his major league debut Friday night against the Rays. Acquired from the Phillies two years ago in the Hunter Pence deal, the 23-year-old right-hander throws in the mid-90s with his fastball and induces plenty of grounders. While control has been an issue for him (4.8 BB/9 this year), the Astros believe he's ready to make the jump. I see Cosart as more of a wait-and-see option in mixed leagues right now, especially against a red-hot Rays team, but he makes for a no-brainer pickup in AL-only formats.
Danny Duffy SP, Royals (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
In his first season back from Tommy John surgery, Duffy owns a 4.85 ERA and 42/18 K/BB ratio in 42 2/3 innings through nine starts and one relief appearance between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. His control isn't all the way back yet, but that isn't unusual for a pitcher after this type of surgery. The good news is that his velocity is right where it should be. The Royals aren't going to rush him, but it's probably just a matter of time before he rejoins the starting rotation. The 24-year-old southpaw could be a nice sleeper during the second half.