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Fantasy Baseball: Bold predictions for second half of 2015

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Fantasy Baseball: Bold predictions for second half of 2015

It's never fun to state the obvious.

So our CSN Fantasy crew decide to stick their necks out and make some bold predictions heading into the second half of the season. 

Call us crazy (or geniuses if/when these predictions come through), but we have a hunch about a couple players heading into the second half of the season.

[FANTASY SPORTS: Midseason awards for Stud, Dud and more

Check out our predictions here:

1. Carlos Correa will be the top-rated fantasy shortstop by the end of the year.

Maybe I've caught rookie fever again after suffering from it during Fantasy Football season. For all the talk about Kris Bryant's smooth stroke and Joc Pederson's monstrous power, Correa came up after both of those guys and has been off to a solid start start (.276/.312/.507, 7 HR, 19 RBI, 5 SB). How many rookies do you see slotted into the No. 3 spot of a team that's in playoff contention?

His main competition to take the top spot for fantasy shortstops comes from Troy Tulowitzki and Jhonny Peralta. While there's a chance Peralta has some staying power, Tulo seems to always be an injury waiting to happen. Correa has the combination of power, speed and production that will make him a superstar in the years to come and the last half of 2015 will be his time to shine. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

[LISTEN: Previewing White Sox & Cubs second half on new podcast

2. Christian Yelich will finish as a Top 25 outfielder.
 
He's 59th right now, but he was also been hampered by a back injury in the first half and was hitting .178 with a .493 OPS on May 22. Since that date, Yelich has hit .311/.389/.439 in 45 games with seven doubles, one triple, four homers and four stolen bases. Ever since a four-hit day June 27, Yelich has put up a .426/.534/.574 (1.109 OPS) line in 14 games with three stolen bases, five extra-base hits and 11 walks. And if that doesn't get you going enough, Yelich's career second-half numbers are enticing: .291 AVG, .372 OPS and 20 steals. (Tony Andracki)
 
3.  Bryce Harper wins the National League Triple Crown

At the ripe age of 22, Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is posting the best season of his young career. Through 81 games, Harper is batting a dazzling .339 with 26 homers, 61 RBI and has an eye-popping 1.168 OPS. Harper is just a tenth of a point behind Paul Goldschmidt (.340) for tops on the NL batting average leaderboard and trails only Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) for the MLB home run lead. With Stanton sidelined until mid-August, Harper has a good chance to gain a little breathing room in the home department. However, Harper has some work cut out for him in the RBI department (4th in the NL and nine RBI behind Goldschmidt), but I'm going out on a limb to predict that he passes the Diamondbacks MVP candidate, and becomes the first NL Triple Crown-winner since Joe Medwick won the award in 1937. (Scott Krinch)

 [SHOP: Buy a Kris Bryant All-Star Game jersey]
 
4. Mike Trout will hit 50 home runs
 
At this point we're talking about the things Mike Trout can't do instead of what he can. After earning a historic second straight All-Star Game MVP last week, Trout enters the second half of the season with 24 home runs and 74 games to play. He's already hit six home runs in July (and another in the Midsummer Classic), and with his eight homers in June he has 14 long balls in his last 37 games. If he keeps that pace (a long shot) it'd give him 28 home runs in the second half, and 52 for the year. He's an Angel in the outfield. Hey, it could happen. (Mark Strotman)
 
Bonus (Chicago style): Starlin Castro will finish as a Top 10 shortstop.
 
Castro is currently the 23rd rated shortstop on ESPN's ranking, but that's with a .247/.283/.321 slash line. We all know he's better than the .603 OPS he's put up in the first half. I'm expecting a much better second half for the Cubs shortstop, utilizing the four days off during the All-Star break to recharge and reset. Watch out for Starlin over the final 75 games. (TA)
 

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

The Giants' search for a successor to now-retired manager Bruce Bochy has led them to the North Side.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, the Giants are interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for their own managerial opening. San Francisco's interest is intriguing, as Venable went to high school just outside San Francisco in nearby San Rafael. His father — Max Venable — played for the Giants from 1979-83. 

Venable also interviewed for the Cubs' manager job earlier this month, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that his interest is in the "organization in general." He is one of several internal candidates for the Cubs' job, along with bench coach Mark Loretta and front office assistant David Ross.

The Cubs also interviewed Joe Girardi and are set to meet with Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.

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Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

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USA TODAY

Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

Mark Prior's big-league playing career unfortunately fizzled out due to recurring injury woes, but he's making a name for himself in the coaching realm.

With Dodgers current pitching coach Rick Honeycutt transitioning into a new role, Prior is expected to takeover the position starting next season.

Cubs fans know the story of Prior's playing career all too well. The Cubs drafted him second overall in the 2001, with Prior making his MLB debut just a season later. He went on to dominate in 2003, posting an 18-6 record, 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 30 starts, a season in which he made the All-Star Game and finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting.

However, Prior's season ended on a sour note, as he was on the mound during the Steve Bartman incident in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Prior exited the game with a 3-1 lead, but the Cubs surrendered seven more runs that inning, eventually falling to the Marlins 8-3 before losing Game 7 the next day. 

Prior struggled to stay healthy after 2003, eventually retiring in 2013 after multiple comeback attempts. While many blame his injury-riddled career on former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, Prior does not. 

While we can only wonder what could've been with Prior to the pitcher, it's good to see him still making an impact in baseball in some fashion.

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