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