We looked at second-half rebound candidates yesterday, so we'll use today's post to review some sell-high guys. Let me know if you think anyone was missed.
Chris Sale, SP, White Sox - Sale has been fantastic, with a 10-2 record, a 2.19 ERA, a 0.95 WHIP and 98 strikeouts against 25 walks in 102 2/3 innings. However, his workload is a concern for two reasons. First, he threw just 71 innings last year, and never threw more than 144 1/3 as a collegian. Second, in case you forgot, the Sox moved Sale to the bullpen in May, when he had a tender elbow and pitching coach Don Cooper said it was the "best way to keep him healthy and strong." Just because the Sox reversed field after a week doesn't mean the move - and the rationale - never existed. Maybe the team's concerns about Sale won't manifest themselves until next season (if they do at all), but for now, I see a big, flashing SELL sign around Sale's neck.
Stephen Strasburg, SP, Nationals - How many starts does Strasburg have left? The Nats seem set to limit Strasburg's workload, with his innings likely to be capped somewhere in the 160-170 range. Unless they come up with a very creative way to stretch out those innings through the end of the season, at his current average of 5.82 innings per start, Strasburg should hit the magic number on or before a September 10-12 series against the Mets. That would leave your fantasy squad ace-free for the final three weeks of the season. If you can get an ace-level return for Strasburg now - or better yet, three weeks from now - take it.
A.J. Pierzynski, C, White Sox - Pierzynski has always been a solid fantasy backstop because of his batting average (career .284), but he's already two homers away from his career high of 18. Pierzynski's homer-to-flyball rate of 21.1 percent is the best of his career by a lot, and that number often indicates some luck. At age 35, it's likely that his unusual first half was a fluke. Check to see if another owner has bought into Pierzynski's power surge.
Josh Hamilton, OF, Rangers - I'm always a wet blanket when it comes to Hamilton, so why change now? I love watching him play, and he's obviously a tremendous hitter, but since becoming a full-time player with the Rangers in 2008, Hamilton's number of games played are 156-89-133-121. He's had a non-traditional career path, but at age 31, Hamilton has played more than 133 games in a season as a professional (minors and majors) exactly once. Do you trust him to stay healthy in the second half? I don't.
Carlos Beltran, OF, Cardinals - Speaking of health concerns, the 35-year-old Beltran hasn't played a full season since 2008. He had knee surgery in January of 2010, and though he didn't miss any time because of it in 2011 (when he had a wrist-related DL stint), he sat out a few games earlier this season due to soreness in the knee. Beltran had a terrific first half (.296 BA, 20 HR, 65 RBI, 50 R, 8 SB), but seems like a risky proposition moving forward. And before you ask, no, I'm not a doctor.
Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees - Is it still possible to sell high on Jeter? Since his outstanding April (.389 BA, 4 HR, 1.012 OPS), Jeter's production has fallen off quite a bit - he's batted .279 with three homers, 12 RBI, 31 runs and six stolen bases in 61 games. Jeter's overall 2012 stats suggest that he should be a fantasy starter in any format, but that probably won't be the case over the season's final 12 weeks. He's 38 years old, and in decline. There's no place in fantasy baseball for sentimentality.
Tomorrow, we'll get back to the usual fantasy news and notes.