Dirty Dining

Second Half Hitting Stars - NL Central

Adam LaRoche leads two Pittsburgh Pirates hitters at the top of the Central Division.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - In Part V of our six-part series, we look at second half hitting stars from the National League Central Division. The information is valuable to fantasy owners because it will tell us when to trade away a player (sell high) and when to trade for a player (buy low).

We will again look at a player's career OPS as our guide and first half/second half as the All-Star break. Obviously, the more years a player has played the more reliable the information. Mark Teixeira's OPS increase in the second half (+.078) is more reliable than Luke Scott's increase (+.129) because Teixeira has six full major league seasons of results versus Scott's two seasons of 400+ at-bats.

Adam LaRoche leads two Pittsburgh Pirates hitters at the top of the Central Division Charts. Last year, LaRoche had a 211-point OPS gain hitting 14 HRs in just 49 games in the second half. He'll have a bunch of speedsters in front of him to knock in consisting of just-called-up centerfielder Andrew McCutchen (the reason they could afford to trade away Nate McLouth), Nyjer Morgan and No.2 on this list Freddy Sanchez. McCutchen batted .303 at Triple-A Indianapolis this season and led the International League in runs and triples.

If you remember last season, you will know that Prince Fielder had just eight home runs entering June, then doubled his total over the next 30 days. He hit at least six homers every month for the rest of the way. Fielder hit home run No.13 last night, so could be on the way to a 40+ HR season.

Although Joey Votto is No.4 on this list, it's hard to recommend a player who is on the disabled list due to "stress related issues." At least he's not listed as "day-to-day" as he has been for the past two weeks, but you can't depend on him coming back and playing up to normal based on this report - at least not in 2009.

Albert Pujols made the list at No.6, but then it's never bad to have Pujols on your roster - first half or second half.

Career First Half-Second Half Statistics

Player Team Pos 1st Half OPS 2nd Half OPS Difference
Adam LaRoche PIT 1B 0.771 0.907 +0.136
Freddy Sanchez PIT 2B 0.728 0.805 +0.077
Prince Fielder MIL 1B 0.885 0.934 +0.049
Joey Votto CIN 1B 0.898 0.945 +0.047
Michael Bourn HOU OF 0.630 0.673 +0.043
Albert Pujols STL 1B 1.032 1.073 +0.041
JJ Hardy MIL SS 0.756 0.795 +0.039
Rickie Weeks MIL 2B 0.752 0.790 +0.038
Geovany Soto CHC C 0.814 0.847 +0.033
Chris Duncan STL OF 0.826 0.847 +0.021
Alfonson Soriano CHC OF 0.839 0.854 +0.015
Yadier Molina STL C 0.675 0.685 +0.010
Ryan Braun MIL OF 0.938 0.947 +0.009
Miguel Tejada HOU SS 0.810 0.818 +0.008
Ryan Ludwick STL OF 0.855 0.863 +0.008
Carlos Lee HOU OF 0.848 0.851 +0.003
Nate McLouth ATL OF 0.799 0.801 +0.002
Statistics thru May 29, 2009

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

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