Now that we’ve passed the All-Star break, we are moving into the unofficial second half of the season. Some players are renowned for their second-half surges, yet some are infamous for falling apart in the dog days. I’ve taken the liberty of breaking the Phillies’ starters into three categories…
SELL HIGH: Players who have historically proven a disappointing second half
- Ben Revere sees his average drop 33 points after the first half as well as a decrease in just about every other fantasy stat.
- Chase Utley experiences a drop in offensive production in the second half, most drastically in slugging percentage.
ON THE FENCE: Players who haven’t proved enough to predict an increase or decrease in performance
- Cody Asche in his limited major league experience has slightly lower numbers in the second half.
- Domonic Brown in a small sample size sees an uncommonly big drop in power in the second half, but fairly even numbers elsewhere.
- Marlon Byrd has better second half numbers, but not by a substantial amount.
BUY LOW: Players who have historically proven a significant increase in production in the second half
- Carlos Ruiz sees an increase in each sector of the triple-slash line: batting average, on-base percentage, and especially slugging percentage.
- Ryan Howard, despite his numbers being down this season, should see a large increase in offensive production, although most likely not enough to see typical end-of-year Ryan Howard numbers.
- Jimmy Rollins experiences a surge in the second half of seasons particularly in power.
Ervin Santana pitched another gem Monday afternoon against the Padres. He pitched 8.0 shutout innings and allowed just 5 hits while striking out 11 batters. He has won three games in a row and five of his last six starts.
Analysis: We all know that Ervin Santana is not the most consistent pitcher out there, however, he seems to have found some semblance of consistency recently. Last year he recorded a 3.24 ERA, 3.69 xFIP and a 1.14 WHIP. This year has been more of the same through 131.1 innings on 20 starts- 3.63 ERA, 3.24 xFIP and a 1.23 WHIP.
Santana ranks 49th in ERA, 41st in WHIP, 28th in strikeouts and 23rd in wins. He has pitched very well over the last year and one half. Even at thirty-one years of age his velocity is the same it was seven years ago. Santana is relying more on his changeup and pounding the bottom of the strike zone this year with the Braves and his ground ball rate of 47% this season is 7% above his career average.
Ervin Santana is available in 7-15% of fantasy leagues. His next scheduled start is Saturday against the Padres again.
Stephen Vogt has been a revelation for Oakland over the last few months. He is a twenty-nine year old with just over 100 big league games under his belt but don’t let that fool you.
Analysis: Stephen Vogt is hitting .357 this season with a .387 OBP. He has 4 home runs and 21 runs batted in through 40 games. That is a solid line, however, Vogt has a lot more going for him. He has catcher, first base and outfield position eligibility. Over the last month of the season Vogt ranks as the 4th best catcher, 18th best first baseman and the 54th best outfielder.
He doesn’t strikeout much(10.6%) but his walk rate could use some work(4.5%). Vogt does have a solid history in the minors. He has hit over .320 with an OBP over .400 the last two years in Triple-A. He obviously works best at catcher but he gives any squad plenty of flexibility. Expect his batting average to come back to reality but he is capable of hitting .280 going forward.
Stephen Vogt is available in 40% of fantasy leagues.
Odrisamer Despaigne pitched 7.2 innings against the New York Mets on Sunday. He allowed 1 earned run and 2 hits while striking out 5 batters.
Analysis: Despaigne is putting together a solid season through five starts. He currently has a 1.31 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP and 2 wins. He isn’t a flamethrower but he certainly has plus stuff. There will be plenty of hype regarding this twenty-seven year old Cuban in the coming weeks so a selling high philosophy is the intelligent move.
Despaigne only has 17 strikeouts in 34.1 innings pitched… so there are some concerns there. Despaigne also has a 4.39 xFIP… completely pedestrian. His strand rate is at 88.6% which would be first in baseball if he had enough innings under his belt. Despaigne is due to get roughed up and hitters will adjust, however, he has the talent to be a productive middle tier fantasy starter.
Currently, Odrisamer Despaigne is available in 50-70% of fantasy leagues. His next start will be on Friday or Saturday in Atlanta.
Casey McGehee, Drew Stubbs and Adam Lind are unexpectedly among the leaders in BABIP this season. Expect a regression.
Analysis: Casey McGehee is hitting .319 this season with a .369 BABIP. The thirty-one year old is a career .267 hitter with a .298 BABIP. His strikeout rate is down and his walk rate is up but his .072 isolated power is 44th out of 44 among third baseman with 150 plate appearances. He has 1 home run and 1 stolen base this season…. when his batting average dips you can say goodbye to his runs batted in as well.
Drew Stubbs is another player to avoid. He is hitting .292 this season with a .378 BABIP. He is a career .244 hitter with a .327 BABIP. He does have 10 bombs and 11 swipes this season so he remains a viable option even if his batting average dips. Stubbs is still striking out at a 29% clip and walking 3% below his career average this year. Keep in mind that CarGo and Corey Dickerson are back so he may not get as many at bats.
Adam Lind should return to action by the end of the month. He is hitting .320 with a .376 BABIP. The thirty-one year old is a career .272 hitter with a .302 BABIP. He only has 4 home runs in 61 games this season. He ranks 27th in isolated power among first baseman with 150 plate appearances. Expect a sub .300 batting average by season’s end.