Which players, who have stunk so far, could be in line for a strong second half? It’s a question I get all the time. So I’m going to spend some time in my next few articles talking about which players you should BUY for the second half. Today, the infield.
Kurt Suzuki: .225-7-22-25-2 in 275 ABs
Two things here. First, Suzuki has been pretty bad, so he’ll be cheap to acquire. Second, the guy plays almost every day, so even if he isn’t that talented a hitter his counting stats figure to be solid because he rarely sits. A full time player for three years, Suzuki is currently on pace for four year lows in homers, RBI, runs, average, OBP and SLG. At the same time his BB/K is the same as always and he’s actually operating at the second best line drive rate of his career at 19.2 percent. History says his BABIP should rise, it’s .272 for his career and with a 19.2 percent line drive rate his mark shouldn’t be a sickly .235. When it does, that average should creep upwards providing even more value.
Carlos Lee: .268-7-48-35-3 in 339 ABs
Lee is a solid veteran type that you could target to acquire on the cheap since his current owner would probably deal him for relatively little. History says power is coming, he’s hit at least 24 homers each year since 2000, and every one of his 12 seasons he’s had at least 80 RBI. I wouldn’t expect him to go homer crazy in the second half, but he’s never finished a season with a HR/F mark below 9.5 percent so it would stand to reason that his 5.1 percent mark would improve moving forward.
Dan Uggla: .185-15-34-43-1 in 340 ABs
Obviously you want to add Uggla, right? Well not according to some people. I will freely admit that a guy who is hitting .185 with an OBP (.257) that would be a poor batting average is a disaster. At the same time, his power is finally starting to show, and that should remain a constant moving forward. Don’t overlook the fact that, despite being an absolute dead weight to a club in the average and steals categories, that Uggla is fourth at the second base position in homers, has as many RBI as Ian Kinsler and has scored more runs than Michael Young (42).
Chone Figgins: .183-1-14-21-9 in 262 ABs
What a disaster this position has been. David Wright, Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Zimmerman and Evan Longoria, the top-4 at the position coming into the year, have all missed extensive time with injury. It just gets worse from there as well as seemingly every player at the position has something wrong with them. As such, there really isn’t much to mine at the third base spot since most leagues have all these guys already rostered, so coming up with a name that you could buy on the cheap to help out was pretty difficult. I went off the board and listed Figgins who is almost certain to be dealt. If he is, there’s still a chance that he could be a productive performer in the second half – he can’t possibly have fallen this far so quickly, and he’s likely on waivers in your mixed league so you can pick him up for nothing.
Jason Bartlett: .238-1-21-32-18 in 323 at-bats
Bartlett has maintained some value by swiping bags, but overall his work has been awful. Despite a career norm in BB/K (0.51), and what would be the second best line drive rate of his career (23 percent), Bartlett is undershooting his career average by .038 points partly because his BABIP is .280, a mark that is .037 points below his career level. If he were to maintain his current rate, he’d also post a six year low in the category. He has no power, and won’t drive in any runs, but he certainly seems like a strong candidate to boost his average, substantially, in the second half.
Oh, and by the latest count it appears that 83 players have been named to the All-Star teams. That’s more than 10 percent of the players in the league. What a joke.
By Ray Flowers