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The season is half over and you have some decisions to make. If you are low on the totem pole and need to make a run at the playoffs, then clearly the team you have now needs some adjusting. Searching free agency and looking for potential trades can be a stressful endeavor.
The important thing to do now is to look for players who can really boost your team in the 2nd half of the season. After all, it is the dog days of summer that will ultimately decide your fate in your baseball league. How do you know what players to pick up and/or trade for anyway? I think I can lend a helping hand on that one. Here are a few suggestions:
Hitting a modest .290 with eight home runs, and 56 RBI, Markakis is one of the unsung heroes of fantasy. Over the past three seasons, Markakis has hit .317/.388/.525 after the break. August is where he really shines with a .338 avg, 19 HR, and 74 RBI. Interestingly, during the ’06 and ’07 seasons, over half of Markakis’ HR totals for the season came in the final two months.
So what if he doesn’t flash power and drive in a ton of runs? Frankly, if you have him on your team for those purposes, then you deserve to lose. Winn is as consistent as they come post-break. A career .300 hitter in the 2nd half, Winn hit .332 Post-All Star including an outlandish .400 in August last season. Winn has hit .324 or higher after the break in three of the past four seasons and is already heating up in July (.346). Expect the same hitting and he will grab an additional 7-10 stolen bases.
Though not the Greek God of Hitting that everyone says he will be, Butler definitely has use on your team for a playoff run. In his short career, Butler has compiled .299/.350/.459 line after the break. The slugging is 50 points higher than it is before the break, so Butler makes a lot of hard contact in the summer months. He especially turned it on last season when he went from a .249 avg before the break to a .305 avg with nine home runs after the break.
All I’m going to do for LaRoche is show you his lines for Pre-All Star and Post-All Star.
After starting out this season by hitting .226 through the first two months, you may have wanted to leave Tulowitzki for dead. After a June where he hit .305 with seven homers, things will only get better. A career .299 hitter after the break (compared to .249 before the break), Tulowitzki really shines in September with 10 career homers during that month and he even hit .330 in September last season.
Over the past few seasons, Oswalt’s season ERA has been on the rise. However, the 2nd half has always been very good to him. His career mark after the break is 2.89 which is almost a half run better than his career mark before the break (3.38). His 2nd half ERA has been 2.57 or lower in each of the last two seasons and after the break in ’08, Oswalt was 10-2.
Hamels is having a tough time now with a 4.70 ERA, but things will turn around. If history means anything, then Hamels is due for a great 2nd half. In two of the past three seasons, Hamels’ ERA after the break has been under 3.00. The lone exception was his rookie season when he went from a 5.44 ERA before the break to a 3.39 ERA after the break. Considering he shaved two full runs off his ERA, I think we will let it slide. Oh, and he has career ERA’s of 2.73 and 2.70 in August and September.
Things aren’t going so well for Lowe at the moment (7-7, 4.56 ERA). July is historically his worst month where he holds a 5.05 ERA. However, I will give my approval to Lowe when it comes to September. It is the best month in his career with a 3.14 ERA and I can’t ignore what he did last season when he dominated opposing offenses in September by going 3-0 with a 0.59 ERA.
Don’t let the numbers fool you, Baker’s current 5.31 ERA is due to a really slow start (6.32 ERA through Arpil and May). Before his game against the Yankees on July 7th, Baker had put together a 4-0 stretch with five quality starts. June was his best month this year with a 3.20 ERA. He finished strong last season with a 3.43 ERA after the break with a September that had him going 3-0 with a 2.53 ERA. In 2007, he had a 3.44 ERA after the break with an impressive 2.59 ERA in August. Basically, he is on a roll now and he has a proven track record in the summer.
We’ll put this under our “no s**t” section. It is important to emphasize Santana’s dominance after the All Star break. In his career, Santana has posted career ERA’s of 3.45 before the break and 2.70 after the break. He has a career record of 58-17 post-break and August is the best month of his career where he posts and ERA of 2.36. Try to convince a Santana owner to trade him to you, especially after his June (2-4, 6.19 ERA). If you can get him, then you don’t have to worry about pitching for the rest of the season.