Pounce on early surgers Encarnacion, Cabrera
It’s only been a few days since the All-Star
break, but already hitters are either making names for themselves or reemerging
from the fantasy abyss. If you missed the boat on Franklin Gutierrez, this may
be your last chance to grab these second-half surgers:
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B, Reds: Encarnacion went
7-for-7 with a pair of homers and six RBIs in his first two games back from the
break. Injuries wiped out his first half, but a healthy return combined with the
favorable environment of Great American Ball Park has Encarnacion primed for a
Gordon Beckham, SS/3B, White Sox: For a guy
drafted eighth overall one year ago, it’s a wonder Beckham isn’t getting more
waiver-wire attention. Pushing Josh Fields to a permanent bench spot, the
22-year-old shortstop-turned-cornerman appears to be gaining steam after a
tough first few weeks in the bigs. With seven extra-base hits this month
and good momentum coming out of the All-Star break (5-for-10), Beckham could be
in contention for the American League Rookie of the Year Award by season’s
Miguel Montero, C, Diamondbacks: Acting
Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch has leaned on Montero more and more since
taking over for Bob Melvin, and the decision is clearly paying off. Montero is
thriving with fellow backstop Chris Snyder out of action, batting .380 with four
homers, five doubles and 10 RBIs in his last 16 games, including a 7-for-12 stretch
and a pair of long balls since the All-Star break.
Orlando Cabrera, SS, A’s: Cabrera delivered a
pedestrian first half, but he’s hitting .371 with two homers and six stolen
bases this month. The well-traveled shortstop has a history of heating up after
the break and could be dealt to a contender before the Trade Deadline, so don’t
let his overall numbers sway you from plugging him in your lineup.
Nyjer Morgan, OF, Nationals: Who knew D.C.
could bring out the best in someone? Since arriving in a trade from Pittsburgh
on June 30, Morgan has taken his pesky offensive approach to the next level,
hitting .367 with a Major League-leading 10 stolen bases in 14 July games, including
four swipes since the All-Star break.
–Alex Cushing, MLB.com