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.
Edwin Encarnacion is coming off of a 42 home run, 110 RBI year but can he sustain his recent success?
Analysis: Toronto is much improved but the stats don’t support Edwin Encarnacion meeting or exceeding his ADP. Encarnacion’s HR/FB rate last year was 18.7%, 5.6% above his career average. He’s thirty years old now so we know what we are getting for the most part and another forty homer year isn’t in the cards. Most respectable projections have him in the 26-33 home run range but don’t go expecting 40 again like some sites are predicting.
To his credit, Encarnacion’s walk rate went up last year and his BABIP kept his batting average lower than it should have been. Encarnacion swung at a career low 21% of pitches outside the strike zone last year according to PITCHf/x. Even with all these positives his average draft position sits in the 30-38 range which is entirely too high. There are plenty of “buy low” options this year at first base/DH. Ryan Howard(110 ADP) had 14 bombs in 71 games last year coming off of a major injury without a spring training.
Despite Cliff Lee’s 3.98 earned run average he is still the same dominant lefty that he has been in the past.
Analysis: Cliff Lee still has all the elite stats to indicate that he is still an ace with the exception of ERA and wins. Lee is sporting a 3.00 FIP, a 3.06 xFIP and a 1.19 WHIP(27th best in MLB). Lee’s 9.06K/9IP is eleventh best in the bigs this year. Even Cliff Lee’s velocity is virtually identical to his numbers last year. Cliff Lee still has lethal, dominating stuff… period.
What has not been going right for Lee is very simple. Lee’s run support has been awful but with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back in the mix the Phils will produce offensively once again. We must also consider Lee’s BABIP against is 34 points above his career average this year. It may not seem like much but those extra base runners add up. Now is the perfect time to buy Cliff Lee- when his value may not be that of an ace in many fantasy leagues. He is still the same old Cliff Lee and he has the stuff and all the stats to back it up.