Fantasy Baseball: Good second half hitters

Each year, the MLB All-Star break gives players a much needed period to rest and rejuvenate in the midst of baseball’s 162-game season. For some players, the All-Star break provides a surge of power, allowing them to perform even better than they did in the first half of the year. For others, the All-Star break can start a downward spiral in performance that may continue until the end of the season.

This trend is extremely common. When looking at player stats, it is very easy to find splits comparing a player’s first and second half. Here are two players that should be in store for very good second halves.

Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers

Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers 3B

Adrian Beltre has had a fantastic season so far, with a current batting line of .335/.382/.522 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 11 long balls and 46 RBIs. Not to mention, Beltre missed some time while on the DL – he’s played in 73 of the Rangers’ first 88 games.

Those numbers seem difficult to improve on, but over his career, Beltre has statistically been a better hitter in the second half of the season. Over his career, Beltre’s first half hitting line is .279/.329/.458 to go with 189 home runs and 700 RBIs. His second half hitting line is a more impressive .290/.344/.506 with 198 dingers and 658 RBIs.

Also, Beltre has played in 245 more games in the first half, amassing 1,028 more at bats than he has in the second half. That means that in the first half of the season, Beltre averages 26.20 at bats per home run and 7.07 at bats per RBI. Comparatively, in the second half, Beltre’s at bats per home run falls to 19.81 and at bats per RBI to 6.00.

[Taijuan Walker projections]

Beltre is currently on pace for 22 home runs – he hasn’t finished with less than 28 since 2009. If his numbers hold true, Beltre should see an increase in power in the second half, making him an even more valuable fantasy baseball commodity.

Robinson Cano – Seattle Mariners 2B

By his own standards, Robinson Cano has had a bad year. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, since Cano left a dangerous New York Yankee lineup and extremely hitter friendly park to go to the not-so-dangerous Seattle Mariners’ lineup.

Cano’s batting average has actually improved during his time on the West Coast – Cano currently sports a .323 batting average, which if the season ended today, would be his highest average since 2006.

The biggest problem for Cano has been his power, or lack thereof. Over the last five seasons, Cano has averaged over 28 homers a year; this year, he is on pace for 12. The biggest reason for this decline may be the park he is hitting in. Throughout the last three years in hitter friendly Yankee Stadium, Cano’s home run to fly ball ratio was never below 17%. In his short time playing in Safeco Field, that ratio has fallen to the lowest its been since 2008 – 9%.

[What to do with Justin Verlander]

Luckily for Cano owners, his stock should be on the rise; he has been statistically better in the second half throughout his career. Cano boasts a solid batting line of .301/.350/.482 in the first half and a .321/.366/.526 line in the second half.

Cano not only gets on base more consistently after the All-Star break, he also hits for more power. Before the All-Star break, Cano averages hitting a home run every 28.42 at bats and drives in a run every 6.95 at bats. In the second half, those numbers get even better, moving to 25.22 and 5.95 respectively.

These numbers should give hope to fantasy baseball owners who have been stuck with the underperforming second baseman. Cano was the first second baseman off the board in almost all leagues, yet he is only the sixth best second baseman on ESPN’s Player Rater, although it appears that he is in for a very good second half.

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  • ajleight

    I liked the 2nd half duds article, as I was unaware of Trumbo’s massive season splits. But this one… really? Beltre and Cano? Two of arguably the top 10 in all of fantasy coming into the year? I was hoping to at least see someone who was attainable, if not a waiver wire guy. Like Adam LaRoche or Eric Hosmer who have had big 2nd half numbers in their long and short careers, respectively. Take a risk…or are you going to tell us Mike Trout is a good guy for the 2nd half too?