Fantasy mailbag: Tough second-half decisions

Fantasy mailbag: Tough second-half decisions

Tweet your questions every Monday to @Fantasy411, and you could find your answer in our weekly mailbag. Here are some of the topics that are puzzling fantasy owners right now:

Who to drop? Brandon Belt, Mark Trumbo, Marcell Ozuna, Khris Davis, J.D. Martinez or Eric Hosmer? Need to move Trumbo from DL.
@cubs_corner

This problem may have already been solved by Belt's Monday trip to the disabled list. But assuming that the issue of dropping a player still exists, then the options can be narrowed down to Davis and Hosmer. Martinez is simply too hot to be dropped in any league, and Ozuna has been a solid power option who is also hitting for average. Trumbo could be a second-half disappointment, as his lengthy DL stint could mess with his timing, which is so important for a power hitter. But his upside is tremendous, so he should likely stay. Hosmer should stay on the roster, too. Forget his early-season struggles -- he has picked up at least one hit in every game this month, and he has six multihit efforts so far in July.

To his credit, Davis is certainly no slouch. He has outstanding power potential, and he drives in plenty of runs in Milwaukee's deep lineup. But because of Davis' 19-to-90 walk-to-strikeout ratio, he is the biggest batting average risk in the group outside of Trumbo, who owns more power than the other options.

Joe Mauer … Stick with him or find a replacement. 14-team league H2H format.
@ozziemork

With just two homers and 28 RBIs in 303 at-bats, Mauer was a huge disappointment prior to landing on the DL near the beginning of this month. Smart fantasy owners could see some of these issues coming, as he collected just 11 homers and 47 RBIs in 445 at-bats last season. But a drop of nearly 50 batting average points off his career mark has made Mauer a mediocre catcher option.

Despite all the negative comments registered here, the best plan is to stick with Mauer when he comes off the DL. The catcher position has been ravaged by injury and ineffectiveness this season. Players such as Devin Mesoraco, Yan Gomes and Miguel Montero are likely long gone in a 14-team league. Even backstops such as Kurt Suzuki, Russell Martin and the trio of A's (Derek Norris, John Jaso and Stephen Vogt) are likely already on a roster. When Mauer returns, he should slide back into a heavy workload, since he is now playing first base rather than suiting up behind the dish.

Mauer is a virtual lock to hit for average, and even if his power does not return, he will likely be a top-14 catcher the rest of the way. And if Mauer could smack a few homers down the stretch, he could be among the top five in the final two months at his position. Patience is difficult in fantasy sports, but the best plan is to use a replacement for the coming weeks and then slide Mauer back into the lineup as soon as he returns.

About to reach my IP limit. Need an AVG guy with decent power. A lot of people are interested in Yordano Ventura. Who should I go for?
@HVthaG

Assuming that this is not a keeper league, this is the perfect time to trade Ventura. The 23-year-old could be wearing down in his first full Major League season, as he has allowed 10 runs in 9 1/3 innings over his past two starts. Ventura walked eight batters in those two contests, and he failed to register a strikeout against the Red Sox on Sunday. Ventura's overall 2014 ratios (3.59 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) are not impressive for a mixed-league starter. Without knowing the rosters of the teams who are interested in Ventura, it is hard to give trade options. But players in the class of Torii Hunter, Christian Yelich, Kole Calhoun or Neil Walker would be an appropriate aiming point.

This question raises an interesting point. When making first-half trades, fantasy owners need to worry only about getting the better value in any deal. But in the final months of the season, owners can "lose" trades that actually yield them a greater overall return in value. Why? Because at this point in the season, most owners have certain fantasy categories in which they can best make up ground. If you can reasonably jump five spots in your steals category but are way behind everyone in saves, trading for a speedster over a closer is the no-brainer choice.

At this point in the season, fantasy owners should look at their standings to see where they can pick up the most points in the coming weeks.

With Derek Norris limited in AB's, would you drop him for John Jaso, Alex Avila, Travis d'Arnaud, Martin or none of them?
@Briscodarlin196

The playing time of all three Oakland fantasy catchers will likely be an issue for fantasy owners in the second half. Norris is definitely a productive option when he is in the lineup, but if he is reduced to playing in less than half of the team's games, it will be hard for him to be valuable in one-catcher leagues. Avila is not an option among this group, and even though d'Arnaud has shown some positive signs since rejoining the team, he is likely not ready to join this tier. Martin could be an option, but he has a long track record of mediocrity. The best option could be Jaso. Because he is a left-handed hitter, he has a better chance than Norris to rack up playing time. Also worth noting: Jaso has become a fairly consistent provider of batting average, with some occasional power mixed in.

Fred Zinkie is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.