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Improving your roster at the All-Star Break

Mike Aviles is batting .320 with 28 runs scored in 44 games.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - We are three months into the 2010 baseball season and if your fantasy team isn't performing up to the level you were expecting, what is a fantasy owner to do?

You could quit. But that's just not your style is it? If it was, you wouldn't be looking on this or any other site for advice.

You could check the free agent list every day, but if you have been looking as I have, there isn't much available now that the June call ups have been made which could significantly help your lineup.

If you were in a keeper league, you could trade away your older stars to teams competing for this year's title and bring in "new young blood."

However, if you are in a single-season league, your final option is to trade for players who have a history of superior production in the second half of the season in hopes that they will do it for you this summer. And if they had a weak first half it would be even better because the cost to acquire them would be much less.

Below is a list of players who have a career second-half OPS of at least 80 points better than their first half.

Ryan Howard +167 (1.041-0.874) - Howard has had a solid spring, despite the Phillies scoring woes batting .293 with 15 HR and 55 RBI. Still, his history says he will explode in the second half. If you make a fair trade for him today and his OPS jumps 167 points as it has over his entire career you will have helped your lineup.

Mike Aviles +152 (0.840-0.688) - Aviles wasn't even in the majors until early May, but he's batting .320 with 28 runs scored in 44 games. The last time Aviles had an opportunity like this was in 2008 and he became a valuable fantasy shortstop over the second half of the season.

Adam LaRoche +131 (0.909-0.778) - Like Howard, LaRoche (ADP 175) is a well- known slow starter. He'll likely finish the season with 25+ homers and will bat around .300 after the All-Star break. Meanwhile, he's owned in only around 50% of all leagues so you might not even have to give anything up to get him. Even if you do, it likely won't be much.

Yunel Escobar +113 (0.845-0.732) - Escobar was drafted in preseason as a starting shortstop, but through the first three months hasn't played like one (.247, 0 HR, 17 RBI, 5 SB). Those numbers have resulted in his being dropped in many leagues. Given his second-half prowess, if you are in need of a shortstop or middle infielder, Escobar could be an inexpensive fix.

Troy Tulowitzki +113 (.897-.784) - Sure, he's out for four-to-six more weeks, but as good as he can be, it's a gamble worth taking. Since he's not playing for his current owner, the price might be reasonable. Make the call and see if you can trade for him.

Carlos Pena +104 (0.903-0.799) - Pena has been horrible this spring except for a two-week stretch in early June when he hit seven homers in a six-game span. Otherwise, he's batted under .200 with nine home runs in two and-a-half months. His price could be low because he's hurting his owners' batting average statistics, but his post All-Star break batting average is .256.

Robinson Cano +100 (0.892-0.792) - It's hard to imagine how good Cano could be in the second half given that he was one of the best hitters in baseball over the first three months (league-leading .359 batting average, 14 HR, 50 RBI). But five years of history says he's a much better second-half hitter. While he would be very expensive to get in a deal, the statistics say he'd be worth the price.

Mark Teixeira +100 (0.968-0.868) - We all remember how poorly Teixeira started last season and finished batting .292 with 39 HR and 122 RBI. Though he's not at last season's pace through June 26th, he's always been better in the second half, so why question it now? His owner might be unhappy with his production since last year he exploded in May. The extra delay this year might make him obtainable in a trade.

Chris Young +96 (0.812-0.716) - Young, who possesses both power and speed, has always been a slow starter and even when he begins to put up fantasy points struggles with strikeouts and batting average. He's hitting a respectable .269. but his strikeouts are up (1 every 3.76 in 2009, 1 every 4.04 in 2010), so be careful if you going to deal for him.

Carlos Quentin +89 (0.886-0.797) - Apparently Quentin got the "notice" that it's time for his yearly summer explosion. He's hit four homers in the last six games to go along with a .389 batting average. It might be a little late to get him for a "steal," but based on his 89-point jump in OPS after the All- Star break he could still be a solid value in a trade.


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

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