There does not seem to be any significant proof that a player’s second half production continues to the following season, but it affects sentiment and perception and therefore draft position. Fantasy owners love to assume a player’s late season performance is a great indicator of the year to come.
There may be a few instances when this actually might be true. For example, if a player succumbed to an injury early on in the season, then their second half performance could be a good predictor for the following season.
Young players, especially rookies, might take a little bit of time to figure things out so their second half numbers might be indicative of what the future holds.
A few days ago, SCFE’s own Patrick Wallace discussed a few pitchers who had notable second halves. Today, we will take a look at hitters with noteworthy performances after the All-Star Break.
Remember, we are not focusing on players who just had a solid or weak second half; we are focusing on hitters that had a second half stat line materially different than their first half stat line. We will group our select hitters into studs and duds.
Fantasy Baseball Second Half Hitters: Studs And Duds
Second Half Studs
Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado Rockies
CarGo had a second half power surge where he hit 27 of his career high 40 home runs. He got off to a slow start to say the least. As of the end of May, he only had four long balls and was barely hitting above the Mendoza line. His HR/FB rate of over 33% seems unsustainable despite his impressive Hard% in the second half. Lost in the home run binge is the fact that he has only swiped five bags over the past two seasons combined. Gone are the days of a 30/30 hitter with a .300 average. Don’t buy into the hype. If he stays healthy, which is a big if, expect a home run total of 20-plus combined with non-elite numbers in all the other major stat categories.
Adam Eaton, OF, Chicago White Sox
Adam Eaton showed Fantasy owners that he has a little pop in his bat to go along with his speed. He had a very quiet first half, but turned things around dramatically after the All-Star Break posting across the board improvements. His second half pace gets you to a full season stat line of 100 runs, 15 homers, 80 RBIs, 25 stolen bases and a .300 plus batting average. That is not too far off from what A.J. Pollock put up in 2015. The jury is still out on the sustainability of his power, but the stolen bases and solid average should be there without too much trouble.
Adrian Beltre, 3B, Texas Rangers
Adrian Beltre is one tough dude. It recently came to light that he played the second half with a torn ligament in his left thumb. You could not tell by his production, where he recorded the fifth highest RBI total in all of baseball since the Midsummer Classic. Beltre was extremely patient at the plate in the second half, doubling his BB/K ratio. This, combined with solid improvements in his line drive and hard hit rates, allowed him to post an over 60 point increase in his batting average. Next year, I expect Adrian Beltre to produce like he did over the second half of 2015, especially if the thumb is no longer an issue.
Khris Davis, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Khris Davis’ struggles in the first half were due to a number of factors. Platooning and inconsistent playing time was the first obstacle, and then he suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for over a month. He found himself in an everyday role after the trades of fellow outfielders Carlos Gomez and Gerardo Parra in late July. To say he turned things around in the second half is an understatement. He mashed 20 home runs after the calendar flipped to August. Interestingly, over the second half he had a lower fly ball rate, lower Hard%, lower line drive rate, but this was all masked by a large spike in both his HR/FB rate and Pull%. Given his batted ball profile over the second half, the second half home run binge does not seem repeatable.
Blake Swihart, C, Boston Red Sox
Blake Swihart had a solid, under-the-radar second half to his rookie season. He showed a number of improvements at the plate including cutting down on his popup rate from 21% to 6% along with reducing his Pull% from 46% to 34%. A line drive hitting machine, Swihart should continue to boast an above average BABIP throughout his career. If you extend his second half pace over 500 at-bats, Swihart would have produced a batting line of 90 runs, 12 homers, 60 RBIs, nine stolen bases and a .300 average. Those would be solid numbers for a catcher. Do not sleep on Swihart next year; his minor league stats suggest his second half pace is what should be expected.
Second Half Duds
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, New York Yankees
Jacoby Ellsbury did not light the world on fire in the first half, but things really started to fall apart in the second half, especially when you consider he had over 100 more plate appearances after the All-Star Game. The stat that jumps out the most is his lack of stolen bases in the second half. He also became extremely impatient at the plate given his BB/K ratio. If Ellsbury does not hit for a high average and is not stealing bases, he is of little use to any Fantasy owner since his magical 2011 campaign appears to be a major fluke.
Brett Gardner, OF, New York Yankees
I am sensing a theme here with Yankee outfielders struggling in the second half; no wonder the Jays passed them in the standings. Brett Gardner was a Fantasy stud over the first half. He was on pace to set career highs in a number of categories and become one of the top power/speed hitters in the game. However, after the All-Star Break, things took a turn for the worst as he started to make weaker contact and all of his statistics took a nosedive. Gardner’s overall 2015 stats look to be a decent predictor for next year, given his red hot and slightly lucky first half coupled with his disastrous second half.
Todd Frazier, 3B, Cincinnati Reds
Todd Frazier came out on fire in 2015; however, once the calendar turned to July, the hot start vanished and Frazier struggled through the end of the year. When you look at Frazier’s batted ball profile, nothing too significant jumps out at you other than a slight dip in his Hard%, which coincided with a large drop in his HR/FB rate. Frazier posted a fairly dramatic increase to his fly ball rate throughout 2015, which if continued, should allow Frazier to hit 30-plus home runs again next year. I think the second half fade was an anomaly and Frazier should have another solid season next year.
Brian Dozier, 2B, Minnesota Twins
Brain Dozier, much like Todd Frazier, had a tremendous first half followed by a disappointing second half. Dozier made much weaker contact and his BABIP, batting average and power numbers all showed in his stats. He also had a dramatic increase in his ground ball rate, further suppressing his potential home run total. As long as Dozier continues to have a Pull% in the 60% range and a popup rate north of 15%, batting average will never be his strong suit. For 2016, expect Dozier to once again post a solid power/speed season, especially for a middle infielder.
Sometimes a player’s full season statistics mask their actual consistency throughout the campaign. Try not to draw significant conclusions from a small, random sample size such as a second half stat line. Just use it as another data point as you prepare for your drafts next season.
- 2018 Fantasy Baseball ADP Analysis: Mispriced Pairs; Pitcher Edition - March 13, 2018
- 2018 Fantasy Baseball ADP Analysis: 5 Mispriced Pairs; Infielder Edition - March 5, 2018
- The Fantasy Lookout: A Look Towards 2018; Sleeper And Bust Edition - September 20, 2017