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.
Carlos Ruiz is the best fantasy catcher thus far this season but things should be turning for him sooner than later.
Analysis: A catcher with a .349 batting average and 13 bombs before the All-Star break has to be named Joe Mauer, right? Wrong, that line belongs to lifetime .275 hitter Carlos Ruiz. This is definitely Ruiz’s career year, he has already broken his previous career high of nine home runs by four bombs and we aren’t even at the break yet. But, if we dig a little deeper we can see where his numbers should be at season’s end.
Ruiz’s BABIP this year is 63 points higher than his career average, resulting in the super inflated .349 batting average. His HR/FB rate of 19.4% this year is a career high while his career average HR/FB rate rests at 7.6%. To put it in perspective, Ruiz’s HR/FB rate this year is higher than Miguel Cabrera’s career average of 18.3%. With guys like Wilin Rosario and Jarrod Saltalamacchia available in many leagues nationwide it just may be the smart play here to flip the red hot catcher for a team need. Expect 2009-2011 Carlos Ruiz type numbers from here on out.
With Joe Mauer on the 15 day disabled list with “bilateral weakness” in his legs it’s time to find a replacement.
Analysis: Obviously if JP Arencibia is available he is the premier power option on the wire. With Arencibia you’re looking at a guy that has hit 53 bombs in just 220 Triple A games. He seems to be a lock to hit 20 plus jacks this year and he’s available in about half of fantasy leagues. After Arencibia you’ve got the steady Carlos Ruiz. He may not be the best for batting average but he produces. The .263 lifetime hitter is coming off of a 53 RBI year on just 433 plate appearances. He’s not going to light the league on fire but he will get the job done, get his at-bats and put up some numbers that shouldn’t hurt you. He puts the ball in play a ton and that’s all you can ask from a lower tier catcher at this point in the season. The big concern has to be with Mauer though. Does this injury last more than the fifteen days or will he be fine? Will the injury come back and linger all year or will he win another batting title? Regardless, by this time next year JP Arencibia will be a top eight catcher so act now if he is available, if not Ruiz will keep trucking along.