Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
In part three of the series, we continue our look into hitters who make the biggest improvement over the second half of the season.
The information can be important to fantasy owners who are looking to improve a position by trade or waiver pickup and those looking to "buy" a player at their lowest value, knowing they have a history of improving in the second half of the season.
Using pre-All Star game and post-All Star game OPS as our evaluation tool, today we check out the second base position.
First off, Robinson Cano has always been a very good fantasy value and even if he didn't improve almost 100 points in the second half would stay at or near the top of any second base list.
Meanwhile, many of the second basemen who improve are still not "fantasy- worthy" (ie: Skip Schumaker, Orlando Cabrera), but the top-three on the list should be considered if you are in need of help at the position. All three have career OPS marks above 0.800 after the break.
The White Sox's Gordon Beckham has a history of "going off" in July to the tune of a .379 batting average and an OPS of 0.927 versus his career numbers of .253 and 0.721, respectively. Clearly, if you are dealing with injuries (Brian Roberts) or slumps (Dan Uggla), Beckham could cover your weakness over the next 30 days. Perhaps Tuesday's 2-for-5 day was the beginning of his July cycle.
Ryan Raburn (25% owned) has played everywhere for the Tigers, but is primarily their second baseman or left fielder. He's done little this season, but here are his career monthly batting averages; April - .237, May - .169, June - .239, July - .270, August - .303, September - .296.
Mike Aviles (20% owned), like Raburn, has also struggled this season but history says he is about to explode (career monthly batting averages; April - .209, May - .257, June - .301, July - .282, August - .328, September - .321).
It's also interesting to note that Phillies second baseman Chase Utley (-58 pts) and Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips (-50 pts) usually fade a bit in the second half.
One strategy could be to trade one of your "big" names for another position of need and gamble on a younger, less expensive guy like Beckham who is a free agent in about half of all fantasy leagues.
Top-10 First Half/Second Half Splits - Second Basemen