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NL First Half Hitters

Brad Hawpe is better in the spring and early summer than after the All-Star break.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - This piece and the research is dedicated to finding those batters who have traditionally had better first halves than second halves. In fact, after doing the study, I found that most hitters had better second halves than first halves, so these guys have even more importance.

Why you ask, would you want to identify "first-half hitters" since you play an entire 162-game schedule in your fantasy league?

Simple, you don't have to keep a player for the entire year.

What could be better than having a first-half hitter bat 50 points above his career slugging percentage and then just before the All-Star break, trade him while his value is at its peak?

It's no different than playing the stock market - it's also a place where the phrase "buy low, sell high" usually works.

In addition, you don't want to be fooled into trading for a first-half hitter when his owner comes to YOU around the All-Star break. "Buying high and selling low" never wins you a title.

Below you will find six National League players worthy of your attention because of their career first-half successes. Each has a slugging percentage of at least 50 points better in the first half, all the way up to 2009 All-Star outfielder Brad Hawpe who is 65 points better in the spring and early summer than after the All-Star break.

Obviously, if a player has been in the league for a long time, like Ivan Rodriguez who is in his 20th season, the trend is significantly more reliable than if you were looking at a second-year player.

Yes, it would take a lot of guts to trade a star like Chase Utley at the All-Star break, but fantasy baseball is a "numbers game" and these numbers tell a specific story. The six hitters listed below perform significantly weaker in the second half.

Just missing the list were: Jonny Gomes (+.048) Adam Dunn (+.044) and Mark Reynolds (+.043).

For those Colorado Rockies fans who notice two of their own players on top of the list, fear not for your team, Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are great second-half players who pick up the slack. You will see their names on next week's list of "second-half hitters.".

Selected NL Hitters - by Slugging Percentage Variation
Player Games AB R H HR RBI SB AVE SLG DIFF
Brad Hawpe
First Half 435 1440 214 430 70 257 6 0.299 0.529 +65
Second Half 308 1016 142 268 44 177 5 0.264 0.464
Ian Stewart
First Half 121 360 61 86 23 61 8 0.239 0.500 +65
Second Half 162 441 62 110 17 71 2 0.249 0.435
Ivan Rodriguez
First Half 1329 5135 765 1599 182 781 81 0.311 0.498 +61
Second Half 1075 3991 553 1135 123 491 45 0.284 0.437
Chase Utley
First Half 490 1836 342 558 101 340 44 0.304 0.551 +58
Second Half 420 1544 278 440 66 260 40 0.285 0.493
Dan Uggla
First Half 356 1352 242 364 74 226 13 0.269 0.512 +58
Second Half 281 1062 174 263 52 148 3 0.248 0.454
Ryan Doumit
First Half 198 617 84 173 22 81 3 0.280 0.470 +50
Second Half 229 784 94 208 25 114 6 0.265 0.420


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