Will Chase Headley be a second half star?
Chase Headley has gone from disappointing asset to a possible value buy with his trade to New York. Is a second half surge in his future?
It's time for Chase Headley to shine. After turning in a disappointing half season with the Padres, Headley looks like a possible value buy after ending up with the Yankees. Headley's home/road splits were always a big deal when he was with San Diego, and there's no denying that his new park will help him out. But even when he's not at home, Headley should benefit from playing in the AL East.
First off, let's check out Headley's career home/road splits. At Petco, Headley hit .244/.331/.372 over 1,588 at-bats. On the road, he hit a much more robust .286/.360/.444 in 1,708 at-bats. Headley also added 58 home runs on the road, compared to 35 at home. There's no denying Petco Park sapped his offensive numbers.
That's a big reason for optimism now. Headley not only moves away from one of the worst parks for power, but he's moving into one of the best. Yankees Stadium has played extremely friendly to home runs over the past few seasons. According to Statcorner.com, righties have a 127 home run park factor at Yankees Stadium. Lefties have it easier, coming in at 131. A league-average park factor is 100, so Yankees Stadium is pretty extreme when it comes to giving up the long ball.
But that doesn't mean Headley is only useful at home. Moving to the AL East should be a godsend for the 30-year-old. Of the five teams in the division, only the Rays play in a pitcher's park. That means when Headley goes on the road, he'll be playing at Fenway Park, Camden Yards and the Rogers Centre quite a bit. Fenway is actually tough on lefty power, but, other than that, all three parks have above-average home run park factors.
Now, let's take a look at the Yankees schedule. Since we already know Headley should be strong at home, we'll look at their road opponents for the rest of the season. The only non-division opponents the team plays on the road are the Rangers, Royals and Tigers. The only poor matchup there is the Royals, and the Yankees only play one game against them. Rangers Park is friendly to hitters, while Comerica plays pretty neutral. Within the division, the team has six road games at Tampa Bay. When you look at it that way, Headley will only play seven games in poor hitter's parks the rest of the season.
Headley's already started to turn things around in July. There was some talk that he changed his grip, which may have coincided with his recent surge. It's tough to say Headley's fully back, as he hasn't walked during the month, and he's still striking out a fair amount, but positive production is a good thing. Between that, and the change in scenery, there's plenty of reason to be optimistic about Headley moving forward. He may have sunk Fantasy teams in the first half, but he might be the key to winning many leagues in the second half.
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