Fantasy Baseball Second Half Predictions: NL East


Jul 7, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) singles during the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball is taking a break from the regular season to enjoy the festivities of the All-Star break. With the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game behind us, we just wait until Friday. As a result, there isn’t much going on fantasy wise. Here is the second-half focus on the NL East.

In case you missed it, here are the predictions for the NL WestAL WestNL Central and AL Central.

Washington Nationals

It’s about time Bryce Harper had this kind of season. Fantasy owners draft him every year hoping for this, but he ends up just disappointing. He has 26 first-half home runs. His career high was previously 22 in his rookie season. Injuries are always a concern, so keep your fingers crossed.

The other young phenom, Stephen Strasburg, is on the DL for the second time this season. This time, it’s for a strained left oblique. There is no timetable for return. So, if you need the roster spot, hold your breath and click drop. Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan are the pitchers to add in his place, from Washington at least.

Danny Espinosa is quietly having a good season, 10 home runs and 28 RBI in 78 games. He has second and third base eligibility and is a nice second-half sleeper in the corner or middle infield positions.

New York Mets

The Mets are very one-dimensional this season, but still have a chance to win the NL East. The pitching is “on fleek” as the kids say. However, the offense is a completely different story. They are 28th in runs scored, last in batting average, 26th in OBP and 29th in slugging. The point is, there is very little fantasy value on the offense. If you can, do not add anyone in the second half.

As far as the pitching, the Mets are stacked. Steven Matz looked good in his first two starts, but was placed on the DL. As a result, Dillon Gee and Noah Syndergaard are safe in the rotation for now. Gee may be traded within the next two weeks to make room for the returning Matz, but nothing has been confirmed. Jon Niese is also worth adding, five quality starts and a 2.34 ERA over the last 30 days.

Atlanta Braves

Cameron Maybin has seen a resurgence with the Braves. He has a .289 batting average with 15 stolen bases. He is a cheap option for average and speed. Veterans Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe are still hitting the ball well. The latter has four home runs in the last 15 days. Both can be picked up and used as utility options or fill-ins for when your stars take a rest.

If you are looking to add pitching depth, Matt Wisler is a name to know. He has a 3.10 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 21:9 K:BB in his first five big-league starts. He is owned in just 16 percent of leagues.

The loss of closer Jason Grilli makes room for Jim Johnson to take over the job. He has a 2.09 ERA and 1.23 WHIP this season, and is available in more than 50 percent of leagues.

Miami Marlins

Just when things were looking good, injury strikes. Giancarlo Stanton injured his wrist on June 26 and is on pace to return within four to six weeks. Which means, he could be back as soon as next Friday. That would be greatly welcomed by fantasy owners, and Marlins fan if they want to win the NL East.

In the meantime, first baseman Justin Bour is filling in quite nicely. He has four home runs and 14 RBI in his last 15 games. With Mike Morse playing left field in place of Stanton, Bour will continue to have a starting job. He is owned in just 12 percent of leagues.

It’s hard to trust Mat Latos, but if you own him you know what you’re getting. He can be dominant one start, and then be horrible the next. He ended the first half strong, so let’s hope for that momentum to carry over.

Other pitcher on the Marlins to add after the break is Tom Koehler. He has a 1.50 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in the last 15 days. He should have a good second half of the season.

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies. What can I say? Either everyone will be traded or everyone will stay. Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon are the two at the top of the “likely traded” list. Hamels had a horrific outing before the break, 3.1 innings with 12 hits, two walks, nine earned runs and four strikeouts. Maybe he sabotaged himself to stay in Philly. Fantasy owners who play in wins leagues are hoping he gets out of the NL East soon.

If Papelbon is traded, Ken Giles could become to relief pitcher to own.

There are some positives to the Phillies offense. Despite the age of some of the position players, there are younger stars making an impact. Maikel Franco is hitting .284 with 10 home runs and 34 RBI. Darin Ruf is also getting some playing time at first base. While these may not be well-known names in 2015, they have a bright future ahead of them.

My predictions on the National League finish with the NL East. The next and final article will be on the AL East.