Make sure to double-check how your season-long fantasy baseball league handles the All-Star break. Some add the limited games to the previous week, some to the following week and others count them as a separate week entirely. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to do it, but it definitely makes a difference in your strategy for adjusting your roster heading into the coming week.
Every team in Major League Baseball has Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off for the All-Star festivities. The Astros and Rangers play Thursday to start the ceremonial second half, while the rest of the league returns to action Friday. The two Texas teams end up with four games while everyone else has three this week.
The All-Star break is a good time to step back an evaluate your season-long fantasy baseball team before gearing up for the stretch run. Depending on how your league manages transactions, it could be a chance to make some extra moves as well. As you rearrange your roster, check out these four additions who are widely available and are set up for a strong second half. If you have specific questions about your roster and your league format, I’d be happy to answer them on Twitter @ZT_Sports. If these four players don’t quite fit your need or are already owned in your league, check out the extra additions listed at the bottom of the page who are also worth considering.
1B/3B ROBEL GARCIA, CHC (VS. PIT)So far this year, there have been several call-ups that have made immediate fantasy baseball impact. Garcia could be next in line after making his Major League debut on Wednesday. The switch-hitting 26-year-old can play almost any position and played 1B, 2B, 3B, SS and the OF in his time in Double-A and Triple-A this season.
He has started the past three games for the Cubs and hit his first Major League home run on July 4 against the Pirates. Overall, he has gone 4-for-11 with a triple, two home runs and a pair of walks. In the minors this year, Garcia hit .285 in 72 games with 21 home runs, 58 RBI and an impressive .958 OPS. Manager Joe Maddon loves versatile options and will continue to find ways to get Garcia playing time if he keeps crushing the ball like he has at all levels. His positional versatility should also help him fill in various needs around the diamond for your fantasy baseball squad.
OF BRETT GARDNER, NYY (vs. TOR)With all the Yankees’ injuries in the first half, Gardner has been one of the team’s steadiest contributors. He is hitting just .242 but has 14 homers, 40 RBI, 10 doubles and a .782 OPS. Gardner hit three home runs in his previous seven games coming into Sunday and hit .311 with seven homers and a 1.008 OPS over his previous 24 games.
Gardner opens the second half with a three-game set at Yankee Stadium against the Blue Jays. The Yankees lineup is so packed with power that as long as he’s starting he should continue to be a source of runs, RBI and power numbers. Playing at Yankee Stadium in the sweltering summer months should also boost his power production.
SP DANNY SALAZAR, CLE (vs. MIN)The Indians are trailing the Twins in their division after a disappointing start for the defending AL Central Champions. The rotation has suffered the loss of Corey Kluber (arm) and Carlos Carrasco (illness), but help is on the way since Salazar is working his way back from a shoulder injury that has kept him sidelined all season. Salazar last pitched in 2017 when he had a 4.28 ERA in 23 games with 145 strikeouts in 103 innings.
He has suffered multiple setbacks on his road back to the big leagues, but is progressing well on his current rehab. He struck out five in his 1 2/3 innings in his most recent outing and is expected to make one more appearance before moving to Double-A. He still has a ways to go, but he has a ton of upside and makes a great swoop and stash addition if you can make space on your roster this week. Especially if you have an open DL spot, Salazar makes sense to hold on to due to his high strikeout rate when healthy.
C DANNY JANSEN, TOR (AT NYY)Jansen is viewed as the Blue Jays’ catcher of the future, but got off to an absolutely brutal start at the plate this season. He dipped to a low-point of .163 after the game on May 29 and was hitting under .200 until a big game July 4 pushed him over that mark for the first time all season.
Recently Jansen has started to realize the potential that made him a late-round pick in many fantasy baseball drafts this season. In his previous 11 games before Sunday, he went 15-for-40 (.375) with three doubles, a triple, six home runs and 12 RBI with an impressive 1.340 OPS. Jansen will hope the break doesn’t cool off his hot bat, and he’ll get a good matchup at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium to start the second half. If you need to upgrade the always-tricky catcher spot on your roster, Jansen’s hot streak makes him a good option to ride for a while coming out of the break.
Other options worth watchingBATTERS
- C Christian Vázquez, Boston Red Sox
- 1B Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks
- 1B/OF Jay Bruce, Philadelphia Phillies
- 1B/3B Renato Núñez, Baltimore Orioles
- 1B/2B/3B Michael Chavis, Boston Red Sox
- 2B/SS Freddy Galvis, Toronto Blue Jays
- 2B/SS Kevin Newman, Pittsburgh Pirates
- 3B Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers
- OF Ramón Laureano, Oakland Athletics
- OF Kevin Pillar, San Francisco Giants
- SP Andrew Cashner, Baltimore Orioles
- SP Sonny Gray, Cincinnati Reds
- SP Jordan Yamamoto, Miami Marlins
- RP Taylor Rogers, Minnesota Twins
- RP Diego Castillo, Tampa Bay Rays
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.