As The Clock Strikes Midnight

by Eddie Mayrose

With the MLB trade deadline nearing and rumors about which players may be moved continue to dominate the headlines, Fantasy owners in championship contention must evaluate their own rosters while making sense of the ramifications of those deals made by their front office counterparts in the Major Leagues.

At this point in the season, the most direct method to upgrade one’s Fantasy team is usually via trade; as it is unlikely, except in the most shallow of leagues, that any viable free agents still live on the free agent wire.  Unlikely, that is, in mixed leagues, as there are even fewer options in AL and NL only formats.  That said, it is critical for any owner to focus on the most productive avenue to make the most valuable transaction possible.

In a previous column, we talked about the proper mechanics of a trade; that the focus should be on the statistical impact rather than equal value.  Let’s take that a step further today and offer up some names that could be helpful over the season’s final two months.

First, a quick glance of your position in the league’s categories is necessary.  Discount BA, OBP, ERA and WHIP and any other “average” statistics, as any player that you might acquire will not significantly impact those categories in such a short time.  Rather, it is the “accumulated” categories, especially SB, S and W where your new players will give you the largest return on investment.

The same criteria should be used when scanning the free agent wire; a resource that should offer an increasing amount of help as the MLB trade dust settles.  Here are a few ideas about guys that may enjoy a breakout second half.

San Diego’s Mike Adams is in line to take the Padres’ closer position once Heath Bell is moved.  Adams has been sensational this season, posting a 3-1 record with a miserly 1.20 ERA.  The only risk involved with Adams is that his tremendous performance has made him almost as attractive as Bell and his name has also beeen floated as a possible trade candidate.

Don’t be too quick to grab Jason Isringhausen, who’s picked up two saves sinse the Mets shipped Frankie Rodriguez off to Milwaukee.  It’s likely that he, too, is being showcased; making flamethrower Bobby Parnell the more logical choice to assume the ninth inning role.

In Florida, Emilio Bonifacio has become a fixture at the top of the lineup; creatin g havoc on the basepaths since Jack McKeon returned as skipper.  He’s grabbed 15 bags in that month, as oppposed to just 5 before the managerial change, and will bolster your squad’s total in runs scored, as well, especially with Hanley Ramirez and Logan Morrison waking up behind him.

Will Venable has not had the breakout year that some had predicted coming into 2011.  He has, however, managed to steal 18 bases in little more than 200 AB and will likely get regular playing time if the Padres move Ryan Ludwick.

The Astros’ Jason Bourgeois finds himself in the same boat as Venable.  He’s a terrific SB guy, (17 in 103 AB) and could be installed as a regular if Hunter Pence is granted a new address.

Danny Valencia has emerged as the answer for the Twins’ long standing 3B question.  As Minnesota continues its under-the-readr charge from 16 1’2 back in the AL Central, look for Valencia to play a huge role.  He’s better than his .232 average and probably has 9 HR and 40 RBI left in his pocket.

Don’t know why, and never like to recommend a turnaround for a 39 year old, but there’s no denying that Raul Ibanez’s bat has awakened from its season long slumber. We don’t hold out much hope for his BA to improve, but the HR potential in the Phillies’ Little League stadium cannot be ignored.  Keep an eye on the Beltran situation, though.  If the Mets’ RF heads south on the turnpike, Domonic Brown and Ibanez will compete for AB.

Eddie Mayrose, a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, appears weekly on SiriusXm’s Fantasy Sports Network, Sirius CH 210, XM CH 87.

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