Fantasy Baseball 1st Half Reactions: NL East


Jul 12, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher

Max Scherzer

(31) high fives right fielder

Bryce Harper

(34) after defeating Baltimore Orioles 3-2 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

With regular season games taking a backseat to All-Star festivities until Friday, I think it is an interesting exercise to identify certain events or players that have caught your attention so far this season. Some guys may have disappointed or surprised you, but taking note of your reactions can be a benefit as the season progresses or for future seasons to come.

We will go division by division throughout the week, up until we get back to regular season action, and back to the grind of the regular season.

NL East

Washington Nationals- After basically being hailed as the “team to beat” going into 2015, expectations both in fantasy and reality were set at a high bar. After a rocky start and a bevy of injuries, the Nationals have seemed to right the ship and are currently atop the division. With injuries affecting many of the main fantasy contributors, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, and Jayson Werth, therein lies a first-half reaction itself. But, the main fantasy storyline so far has to be the monster breakout season Bryce Harper is in the midst of.

I know Max Scherzer has been magnificent, but to see the hype around Harper finally intercept with his talent, it is something to definitely behold. We all know that Harper has the talent, but as fantasy owners, we have all tried to guess which year he would stay healthy and produce the stats we all know he is capable of. So for the owners that stayed patient and snagged Harper this year, what more could you ask for so far?

Honorable Mentions: Stephen Strasburg’s struggles and Ian Desmond’s horrid start

New York Mets- The Metropolitans have had quite the interesting year so far. They have shown some promise, especially anchored by their ridiculous rotation. As many Mets fans have witnessed though, the offense has been downright anemic so far. I could very simply write about any of the Mets rotations pieces as invoking the biggest fantasy reaction for the first half, but I rather look toward a RP that has really embraced his role and broke out.

In 2014, Jeurys Familia was an electric and young, gas throwing RP that showed he could have the potential to be the Mets future closer. It seemed as though Familia’s role in 2015 was going to be the set-up man, but an unforeseen suspension to Jenry Mejia left the closing gig in Familia’s hands. Many fantasy owners were hesitant to jump on board initially with Familia as he had limited experience closing games and he proved in 2014 that his save chances can become rocky experiences.

Familia has undoubtedly silenced the critics with 27 SVs, 43 Ks and a minute 1.25 ERA. Somehow he was left out of the All-Star game this year, but he has certainly been a star RP for those fantasy owners that decided to take stock in him.

Honorable Mentions: Jacob deGrom‘s dominance and Lucas Duda‘s struggles

Atlanta Braves- Even though the Braves sit below the .500 mark at the break, they have put up a valiant effort this year after their offseason fire sale. They brought in a lot of spare parts and prospects that did not figure to have much of a fantasy impact in 2015, but some diamonds in the rough have surfaced.

One of the more remarkable rejuvenations of the 2015 season so far has to be Cameron Maybin. Maybin’s career has never lived up to the hype that followed him early on in his days with the Marlins. We have seen some glimpses of his ability here and there, but injuries have normally been what has derailed Maybin from ever really reaching the next level. So far this season, he has a .289/eight HR/44 RBI/15 SB line, which could certainly parlay itself into his breakout season.

Maybin has certainly been a pleasant surprise and nice waiver wire find, so the rest of the season will prove to be interesting if he can stay healthy and further his solid all-around performance.

Honorable Mentions: Freddie Freeman’s injury and Alex Wood’s inconsistent start

Miami Marlins- The Marlins have the making of one of the more up and coming teams in baseball, so this season seemed like the season where they could make the next step in progression as they brought in and retained some key pieces. Unfortunately, that has not been the case and after truly dismal start, they are 11 games back.

From a fantasy standpoint, fantasy owners should not be surprised by the power that Giancarlo Stanton showcases and his 27 HRs before his injury were a testament to just that. However, it seems that there is always a caveat that derails Stanton from truly having that monster season we all expect. Therefore, my initial reaction to their first half is the sustained success that Dee Gordon has been able to carry over from last season.

Gordon had a career season last year but slowed down after the break, leaving many owners wondering if it was a mirage or not. I know some may have avoided him in the draft. But so far this season he has cemented himself amongst the top fantasy 2B in baseball. Fantasy owners should monitor if he can maintain the success through the break unlike last year. If he can, he will produce an unbelievable season.

Honorable Mentions: A.J. Ramos’s success and Steve Cishek’s disaster season

Philadelphia Phillies- It is abundantly clear that the Phillies sport the worse team in baseball, so it is a moot point to try to rationalize what or how fantasy owners should feel at the break. Even though they severely lack talent, there has been one bright spot fantasy wise so far.

It has proven to be a questionable personnel decision, Maikel Franco had been largely ignored in fantasy circles as he was being blocked by Cody Ashe. But, since his promotion and installation in the everyday lineup, Franco has not disappointed. He currently sits with a .284/10 HR/34 RBI/.834 OPS line, which has been a boost to those owners that picked him off the waiver wire.

Honorable Mentions: Cole Hamels‘ desperate need for a change of scenery and Chase Utley’s disappearance