The theme this season in fantasy baseball has been injuries to pitchers and that continued as the second half began. New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom landed on the injured list with forearm tightness and will miss at least the next two weeks. This is the second time deGrom has been placed on the injured list, but he has dealt with other injuries throughout this season.

There’s no doubt deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball, but he’s not helping any fantasy owner if he’s constantly dealing with an injury. This will be a huge blow for those fighting for a championship, as this injury could keep deGrom on the sideline longer than the others.

Three Up:

1. Los Angeles Dodgers Outfielder Mookie Betts — There have only been a few games since the second half had resumed and Betts has made the most of it. The outfielder collected 10 hits while hitting two home runs and scoring eight runs. For the season, Betts is batting .271 with 14 home runs and 40 RBIs and is once again having a solid year. It should be noted Betts had to leave the Dodgers’ game July 17 with hip irritation, but it doesn’t appear to be a long-term issue. This is still worth monitoring as we have learned this year.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers Infielder David Fletcher — It was a big weekend for Fletcher, as the infielder drove in 10 runs while collecting 10 hits. The hot streak has lasted for a while, as Fletcher was riding a 26-game hit streak before going hitless July 18. The hit streak helped Fletcher raise his batting average from .255 to .313. Sometimes after a streak like this we see a hitter then go into a slump so we’ll see what happens to Fletcher, but it’s been a nice run for fantasy owners.

3. Houston Astros Starting Pitcher Lance McCullers — The right-hander is one of the most talented pitchers in baseball, but injuries have limited his ceiling throughout his career. However, when he’s healthy, he is able to help fantasy owners. In his last start, McCullers pitched seven innings while striking out 10 and allowing only two hits. For the season, McCullers is 7-2 with a 2.80 ERA in 15 starts. If McCullers can stay healthy for the remainder of the year, he will be a difference maker.

Three Down:

1. Boston Red Sox Designated Hitter J.D. Martinez — The slugger struggled this past weekend, collecting only two hits while striking out six times. Martinez was spotlighted as an undervalued candidate back in March, and he has delivered for fantasy owners. The right-handed power hitter is hitting .296 with 19 home runs and 63 RBIs this season and well on his way to hit more than 30 home runs and drive in 100.

2. New York Yankees Designated Hitter Giancarlo Stanton — It has been a forgettable July for Stanton, as the slugger is batting .200 with only one home run and four RBIs. That is just not getting it done. The overall stats are fine, as Stanton is hitting .258 with 15 home runs and 43 RBIs. But the struggles in July have really put a damper on what was becoming a strong offensive season.

3. Los Angeles Outfielder Cody Bellinger — If anyone needs a huge second half, it’s Bellinger. The outfielder has been limited to 37 games due to injuries and is struggling when he is actually in the lineup. Bellinger is batting .168 with only four home runs and 19 RBIs. There’s no doubt the injuries have played a major role in Bellinger’s struggles. Fantasy owners need to first hope he remains healthy and then I believe the success will start to come down the stretch. Bellinger is too good of a player to be struggling this badly, so I’m predicting a big August and September.

Phil Backert

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