Players to Target for the 2nd Half

18 players for which to trade or add for the second half.

As we wrap up All-Star festivities and the first half of the regular season, it’s time to shift our focus to setting up our fantasy teams for a strong second half. There are many ways we can take advantage of this time of year, but the biggest are targeting underperformers and players that may become more appealing following a trade at the deadline.

With that in mind, I set out to uncover players who should be targeted over the next two weeks to improve your chances of securing a fantasy title belt when all is said and done. To make sure everyone’s needs are met, I split things up by position.

At each position, you’ll find a player to acquire via trade and a player that is readily available to add off the wire. Waiver wire pick-ups had to be rostered in fewer than 25% of Yahoo! leagues to qualify.

Here are 18 players to target for the second half.





Keibert Ruiz (Yahoo! Rostership: 35%)

2023 Stats (305 PA): .226/.279/.360, 24 R, 9 HR, 31 RBI, 0 SB, 5.2%/9.2% BB/K, 72 wRC+

Ruiz owns the second-best strikeout rate in the Majors among qualified hitters, trailing only Luis Arraez. His aversion to strikeouts pairs beautifully with his career-high barrel rate (7.8%).

Being a poor defensive catcher on a team that is likely to have a weaker lineup post-trade deadline has already sent him to the waiver wire in many leagues and will probably make him an easy trade acquisition.

His most appealing feature is that he’s been the league’s biggest Statcast underperformer with a 54-point difference between his actual and xBA, a 94-point difference between his actual and xSLG, and a 59-point difference between his actual and xwOBA.


Pick Up

Patrick Bailey (21%)

2023 Stats (150 PA): .293/.324/.493, 14 R, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 0 SB, 3.3%/26.7% BB/K, 120 wRC+

You’d think a young catcher with poor plate discipline and a .375 BABIP would be due for regression. Well, think again! Statcast backs up everything Bailey has done thus far and the switch-hitting 24-year-old is just getting started.

Bailey has taken over for Joey Bart as the heir apparent to Buster Posey, displaying highlight-reel defense plays from behind the dish while being one of the most clutch members of a strong San Francisco lineup.

He continues to climb the batting order and rounded out the first half in the three-hole, providing him plenty of opportunity to be a difference-making addition for the second half.


First Base



Pete Alonso (99%)

2023 Stats (348 PA): .211/.310/.497, 50 R, 26 HR, 61 RBI, 3 SB, 9.5%/21.4% BB/K, 123 wRC+

How could the slugger with the third-most homers in baseball possibly be underrated? Alonso is sporting the lowest BABIP (.186) among qualifiers in the big leagues which, in turn, has created an immense disparity between his average and his xBA.

The 45-point difference between those two metrics is currently the third-largest among players with at least 100 balls in play and forecasts a fortunate future of base hits in the second half. The power is here to stay and Alonso is due for substantial regression that will result in a monster post-break surge.


Pick Up

Seth Brown (15%)

2023 Stats (173 PA): .201/.266/.384, 16 R, 8 HR, 24 RBI, 2 SB, 8.1%/31.2% BB/K, 83 wRC+

Brown has had back-to-back fantasy-relevant campaigns, producing a very helpful 25 home runs and 11 steals for savvy fantasy managers in 2022. An injury kept the lefty slugger out for nearly two whole months, however, he’s been unable to get things going on the offensive end enough to resurface on the fantasy radar.

Once his luck evens out, you’ll be sorry you didn’t grab him sooner. Brown’s barreling the ball at the best rate of his career (14.3%) and is sporting impressive Statcast metrics across the board. His Savant lollipops haven’t dropped yet because he’s not a qualified hitter, but once they do, managers will be scrambling to the wire.

Add in the possibility he’s traded to a contender with a stronger lineup and you’ve got yourself an ideal second-half sleeper candidate.


Second Base



Gleyber Torres (90%)

2023 Stats (375 PA): .251/.325/.413, 50 R, 13 HR, 36 RBI, 8 SB, 9.9%/14.1% BB/K, 107 wRC+

One of the few Yankees hitters with respectable offensive numbers this year, Torres is being propped up by a hot first two months. After batting .268 with nine homers and a 119 wRC+ through May, Torres has batted .223 with just four dingers and an 84 wRC+ since then.

However, this may have just been a stretch of bad luck as he has some of the best Statcast metrics of his career thanks to an improved approach at the plate that has led to a career-best strikeout rate that stuck around during his cold spell.

With a new hitting coach and an influx of offensive talent likely to be injected into the lineup at the deadline, Torres has got a lot going his way.


Pick Up

Adam Frazier (15%)

2023 Stats (297 PA): .232/.299/.397, 39 R, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 7 SB, 8.1%/11.8% BB/K, 93 wRC+

I discussed Frazier during Episode #121 of On The Wire, so if you’d like a more in-depth breakdown, give it a listen. The long and short of it is that he has been unbelievably unlucky this year, yet hasn’t been slowed down in many departments.

He’s already tied his career-high in long balls and is just four shy of his high-water mark in steals. He’s walking at the second-highest rate of his career while striking out at the second-lowest rate of his career.

Despite those noteworthy feats, Frazier is the second-biggest batting average underperformer as he currently has a 47-point difference in actual and xBA because of a .233 BABIP (.303 entering 2023).

As long as the O’s don’t promote another infield prospect to take away his playing time, the hits will be flowing off of Frazier’s bat in the late summer.


Third Base



Matt Chapman (89%)

2023 Stats (369 PA): .259/.344/.463, 48 R, 12 HR, 39 RBI, 3 SB, 10.8%/27.9% BB/K, 124 wRC+

Chapman looked like an MVP candidate in the early going, batting .384 with five long balls and a 218 wRC+ in April. Since then, he’s underwhelmed with a .204 AVG, seven homers, and an 83 wRC+. While the cratering average is supported by Statcast metrics and a strikeout rate not conducive to high averages, the power is well below expectations.

Chapman’s Statcast metrics are off the charts. He’s in the 93rd percentile or better in average exit velocity (94.1 mph), max exit velocity (114.3 mph), and barrel rate (18.4%) and currently tops all qualifiers with his 59.2% hard-hit rate.

There are only six qualified batters with a barrel rate of at least 18% and Chapman is the only one that has yet to leave the yard at least 19 times. With Home Run Derby Champion Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as his teammate, there’s going to be a baseball barrage in the Toronto bleachers during the second half.


Pick Up

Josh Donaldson (4%)

2023 Stats (112 PA): .152/.232/.465, 13 R, 10 HR, 15 RBI, 0 SB, 9.8%/27.7% BB/K, 85 wRC+

This was definitely the most difficult group to pick from, so I settled with a controversial pick.

Donaldson has been boom or bust this year with 10 of his 15 hits leaving the ballpark. With so few balls in play, he owns just an .083 BABIP that is all but guaranteed to rise despite his litany of fly balls.

He may drag down your average but his power is unmatched and is completely supported by an insane 21.4% barrel rate that trails only Aaron Judge among hitters with at least 100 plate appearances.

This level of power production is going to stick and it’s only a matter of a larger sample size that’s preventing him from posting a batting average that isn’t below his weight.





Tim Anderson (59%)

2023 Stats (290 PA): .223/.259/.263, 29 R, 0 HR, 13 RBI, 9 SB, 4.8%/21% BB/K, 43 wRC+

Anderson is the poster boy for first-half underperformers. He’s yet to hit a home run and owns the lowest qualified wRC+ by nearly 20 full points. A potential 2024 free agent with a club option looming this offseason, Anderson is likely to be one of the most recognizable names on the trade block at the end of July.

A change of scenery may be exactly what he needs as he owns the fifth-largest difference in wOBA and xwOBA (47 points), yet is still well below average in the latter category (7th percentile).

The White Sox might be selling low, but there will be plenty of teams knocking on their door looking to capitalize on Anderson’s second-half rejuvenation.


Pick Up

Zach Neto (7%)

2023 Stats (199 PA): .259/.338/.431, 24 R, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 5 SB, 5.5%/18.6% BB/K, 114 wRC+

Neto is currently on the IL, but as soon as he returns, his roster rate will skyrocket. The 22-year-old got off to a slow start during his first week in the big leagues, but he’s batted .278 with all of his homers and steals since then. This comes after a 2022 campaign in which he batted .320 at Double-A mere weeks after being drafted.

In a lineup that features MVP winners and All-Stars when fully healthy, Neto’s ability to hit for average while adding enough power and speed to help out fantasy managers makes him an appealing candidate available in more than 90% of leagues.





Tommy Pham (40%)

2023 Stats (234 PA): .277/.350/.485, 25 R, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 10 SB, 10.3%/21.8% BB/K, 130 wRC+

At this point in the season, the Mets are on the verge of selling. If they don’t decide to go into full-on sell mode, they’ll definitely ship out some of their rentals. One man that fits that label is Pham who has a gorgeous, blood-red Savant page.

He’s posting career-best marks across the board and has already begun tapping into his storage of good luck. Since May 28th, he’s batting .331 with six long balls, seven swipes, and a 170 wRC+ and there’s no sign of him slowing down.

If he gets traded to a contender, they’ll be hard-pressed to reproduce a lineup as deep as the one in Queens, but either way, Pham is going to continue to hit the snot out of the ball. It’s not too late to buy low.


Pick Up

Trent Grisham (4%)

2023 Stats (324 PA): .209/.320/.375, 37 R, 8 HR, 25 RBI, 8 SB, 13%/28.4% BB/K, 97 wRC+

While his spot in the nine-hole in the batting order isn’t ideal, Grisham makes up for it with quality over quantity. He’s already been a solid producer of power and speed with only his batting average and counting stats holding him back.

All of a sudden, though, he’s barreling the ball up better than ever (14.4%, 90th percentile) and has been one of the league’s biggest power underperformers. He and Matt Chapman are the only players with a barrel rate that high that haven’t reached the 16-homer mark yet.

So while the counting numbers will be low, the star-studded top of the lineup will make up for it and Grisham should pair more power with more than a few chip-in steals.


Starting Pitcher



Zack Wheeler (98%)

2023 Stats (104.1 IP): 7-4, 4.05 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 26.9%/5% K/BB, 93 ERA-

It’s been a more-than-solid 2023 campaign for Wheeler, but it should’ve been better. Not only does he own the second-largest discrepancy in ERA and FIP (2.83), but he’s also one of just seven qualified starters with a FIP below 3.00. Spencer Strider’s 3.44 ERA is the highest among those other six, and he’s nearly half a run higher than Zac Gallen at 3.04.

Wheeler does everything well and PLV absolutely adores him, rating him as the second-best pitcher in terms of overall PLV. He is headed for a hot second half on a surging Phillies ballclub.


Lance Lynn (62%)

2023 Stats (103 IP): 5-8, 6.03 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 27.9%/8.1% K/BB, 142 ERA –

It’s been a disastrous season not only for Lynn but for the entire White Sox team. We’ve seen glimpses of Lynn’s dominance this year, like when he set the season high with 16 punchouts in Seattle in mid-June. Just below Zack Wheeler on the ERA vs. FIP difference, Lynn has even more appealing ERA estimators than his fellow second-half target.

A 3.74 xFIP and 3.73 SIERA indicate that Lynn has been beyond unlucky and that he’s still the pitcher he’s always been. With a similar contract structure to Tim Anderson, Lynn has a club option this offseason, so he too could be acquired by a contender, ultimately changing his fortunes.


Pick Up

JP Sears (24%)

2023 Stats (99.2 IP): 1-6, 3.88 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 23%/5.7% K/BB, 97 ERA-

If Sears wasn’t on the worst team in baseball, he’d have a significantly higher roster rate. He’s got just one win, but his K/BB ratio is borderline elite and since mid-May, he’s pitched to a 2.89 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 62.1 innings. Those are acelike numbers reminiscent of what Marcus Stroman is currently producing, and he’s currently rostered in 93% of leagues.

PLV loves Sears, rating his 5.32 overall PLV in the top 10 among starters. If he could get some run support, he’d be even more appealing, but without it, he should still be rostered in the majority of leagues.


Michael Lorenzen (16%)

2023 Stats (87 IP): 3-6, 4.03 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 18.9%/5.7% K/BB, 97 ERA-

While Lorenzen may not have been the most deserving All-Star selection, that shouldn’t take from away the fact that he’s having a solid season. He’s a Toby, but he’s been worth the stream against weak offenses. On top of that, he’s one of the clearest trade candidates with his pending free agency looming.

Landing with a more competitive team could be a big boon for Lorenzen’s second-half production and will definitely put him on the radar of a larger swath of fantasy managers. This will be your chance to get ahead of the game before he becomes a more appealing streaming option following a trade to a contender.


Relief Pitcher



Jordan Hicks (57%)

2023 Stats (36.2 IP): 1-5, 7 SV, 3.93 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 32.9%/13.8% K/BB, 94 ERA-

Hicks may be the clearest trade candidate on the Cardinals. The flamethrower is a free agent after this season and is having one of the best seasons of his career. So, on top of being shipped to a team that will have more victories to close out, Hicks is also a more appealing fantasy option than ever before.

In a similar vein to Brusdar Graterol, Hicks’ unmatched velocity hasn’t led to the number of strikeouts you’d expect from someone that throws as hard as he does. Everything has changed this year as he’s striking out significantly more batters than ever without sacrificing in other departments.

The walks will be an issue, but when you’re this dominant, it won’t matter much.


Pick Up

Tanner Scott (16%)

2023 Stats (43.1 IP): 4-2, 2 SV, 2.91 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 37%/9.8% K/BB, 69 ERA-

It feels like it’s just a matter of time before Scott claims the closer role in Miami. The current ninth-inning man, A.J. Puk, has stumbled recently and has produced a 5.02 ERA since returning from the IL on June seventh. Currently in playoff contention, the Marlins won’t mess around when it comes to finishing off wins, and Scott is the man for the job.

Since mid-May, he’s been untouchable with a 1.38 ERA (26 IP), a 1.04 WHIP, and a bonkers 41.2%/7.8% K/BB. With three other southpaws in the pen, the Marlins have already proven their willingness to use a lefty as the closer, so that won’t be a factor in preventing Scott from taking over.

This may be the most under-the-radar addition that has the ability to provide massive dividends in multiple pitching categories in the second half.

Jake Crumpler

A Bay Area sports fan and lover of baseball, Jake is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in English Literature. He currently writes fantasy articles for Pitcher List, is the lead baseball writer at The Athletes Hub, and does playing time analysis at BaseballHQ. Some consider his knowledge of the sport to be encyclopedic.

One response to “Players to Target for the 2nd Half”

  1. Mike Honcho says:

    Any hope for Josh Bell in 12 teamers?
    I’m lower third in steals. Need cheap speed.
    Who are your top targets?
    I just grabbed Neto, also have M.Garcia.

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