Justin Morneau 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 seven American 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 Justin Morneau who is 88 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 Morneau who is in his eighth season, the trend is significantly more reliable than if you were looking at a second-year player.
Yes, it would take a lot of "chutzpah" to trade a star like Joe Mauer or Kevin Youkilis at the All-Star break, but fantasy baseball is a "numbers game" and these numbers tell a specific story. The seven hitters listed below perform significantly weaker in the second half.
Tomorrow we will look at the National League and then next week we check out "second-half hitters" so you will know who to trade for later in the year.
Selected AL Hitters - by Slugging Percentage Variation