This 2nd half of the 2006 baseball season should be an exciting one! Between that dead even NL west to those ridiculous Tigers and the American League Wildcard, the rest of this year is going to produce some surprises, some setbacks, and some brand new talent. Since we are all managers of Fantasy teams that need to make adjustments as the season goes on, it will be a good time to take a look at where each team is right now and where they are going..... for the sake of our fantasy teams! So lets talk about some pitchers who could really create a spark for this second half. Think about what Zach Duke did last year as a rookie, or that El Duque went 10-0 in the second half for the Yankees last season. Whose it going to be this year.....
1. Francisco Liriano - Need I say more??? Let me just say this, he is better than Johan Santana was when Santana first came up. Nasty stuff with a 1.83 ERA, 102 K's in 88 innings with a 10-1 record thus far. He is the Real Deal!
2. Jared Weaver - Already off to a good start since going back and forth from the Bigs to AAA. Now that his brother Jeff was booted out the door, Jared is about to reign as a possible #1 or #2 fantasy starter... in time. Weaver is 6-0 with a 1.12 ERA with 7 walks and 36 K's in 40 innings. Thats incredible and better than what Duke did last year! Feel free to use a guy like Mussina, Colon, Zito in a trade to get a Jared Weaver.
3. Jon Lester- Only 4-0 so far this season with 32 innings logged with 30 K's and a 3.06 ERA. He has walked about 20 but its not a cause for concern. Consider it the first time jitters. This guy has amazing poise for such a young player. Building a keeper team?? Get this guy included in a 2 or 3 player trade deal or pick him up off the wire and stash. He has been highly touted and his time is now. Even when Wells comes back, Lester should stick in the rotation assuming he keeps up this pace.
4. Jamie Shields - The next Tampa Bay prodigy is up and running with 46 innings logged, 43 K's, 4.89 ERA and a 4-2 record. Not bad for a Tampa Bay rookie! SHields was a stud in the minors and as highly touted as Lester and Weaver. Shields is a guy you can grab off the waiver wire still and it could be in your best interest to grab him as a throw-in in trades. He is a great young prospect who is here to stay. Keep your eye on him or "Grab and Stash".
5. Chuck James - This Atlanta Braves called up their best pitching prospect who is now getting his first taste in the Bigs. So far he's 3-0, with a 2.87 ERA in 31 innings. He has 20 K's but doesnt project to be a super strikeout guy. However, this guys does have some skills. The Braves are so desperate for new talent that this guy may just do the trick. By the end of the season, I think he'll be #2 on that staff behind Smoltz!
Good Luck on the 2nd half