Fantasy

Second Half Starting Pitching - NL East

Cole Hamels improves from good to very good after the All-Star break.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Over the past two weeks we have investigated which hitters have a historical tendency to turn it on in the second half of the season. Now it's time to turn our attention to the pitching side of the ball and see who comes to play and who coasts through the end of the season.

Our fourth stop is in the National League East where the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets do battle. They also own two of the four starting pitchers who have significantly better second halves than first halves.

Of, course, they're also on someone's roster because they are World Series MVP Cole Hamels and Mets ace Johan Santana.

Hamels, while normally good early, becomes very good after the All-Star break, dropping his ERA from 3.81 to 3.08 and his WHIP from 1.18 to a stunning 1.09. Santana can top those numbers posting a second half average of 2.70 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. They would cost you an "arm and a leg" to trade for, but they would likely be solid anchors for your starting staff.

Now to the more "obtainable" second half stars. Try struggling Florida Marlins pitcher - Ricky Nolasco.

Nolasco normally drops his ERA by more than one run and his WHIP from an ugly 1.42 to a solid 1.14. He, like Brett Myers last year, was sent to the minors in mid-season to work out his first-half pitching problems and it appears from his first outing since being recalled that it may have worked. He pitched seven good innings against the Giants, giving up just two earned runs. he is only owned in 42% of all leagues.

Anibal Sanchez would be another possible pickup, but unfortunately he has made another trip to the DL and won't be available for a while.

Going in the other direction, based on past performance, will be Marlins ace Josh Johnson. His numbers fade from an ERA of 2.95 and WHIP of 1.27 to 3.80 and 1.37. He is currently 5-1 with solid ERA and WHIP and could net you a top hitter if you moved him now while he is still at peak value.

Keep away from Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens who stumbled badly in 2008 and has lost his last two outings.

First Half/Second Half Pitching Statistics for Selected NL East Starters
First Half Second Half
Player Team W L WHIP ERA W L WHIP ERA
Johan Santana NYM 59 37 1.14 3.38 58 17 1.04 2.70
Cole Hamels PHI 25 16 1.18 3.81 17 9 1.09 3.08
Chris Volstad FLA 6 5 1.13 3.30 4 4 1.38 3.18
Anibal Sanchez FLA 4 5 1.89 5.47 11 8 1.25 3.40
Derek Lowe ATL 71 69 1.28 3.88 62 41 1.23 3.54
Josh Johnson FLA 13 8 1.27 2.95 11 4 1.37 3.80
Ricky Nolasco FLA 19 8 1.42 5.08 10 9 1.14 3.85
Joe Blanton PHI 30 35 1.33 4.50 25 14 1.36 4.08
Javier Vazquez ATL 74 68 1.26 4.39 57 66 1.25 4.16
Livan Hernandez NYM 85 77 1.50 4.53 67 63 1.36 4.16
Jamie Moyer PHI 128 108 1.32 4.25 121 82 1.32 4.18
Mike Pelfrey NYM 13 15 1.52 4.45 9 7 1.40 4.32
John Lannan WAS 8 14 1.34 3.51 6 8 1.45 4.47
John Maine NYM 20 16 1.25 3.91 18 15 1.38 4.57
Jair Jurrjens ATL 14 7 1.29 2.93 7 7 1.36 4.69


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.