First half duds who will be second half studs

By Chris Cwik |

Matt Holliday should give more high fives in the second half. (USATSI)
Matt Holliday should give more high fives in the second half. (USATSI)

The All-Star break represents the unofficial midpoint of the regular season. For Fantasy owners, it's often a good time to re-evaluate your team, and decide whether you're buying or selling at the deadline. Midseason trades can often make or break a team's chances at contending down the stretch. Acquiring the right guy can boost a team to the top of the standings, while parting with the wrong can provide the opposite effect. With that in mind, here are some players Fantasy owners may want to go out and get with the deadline looming.

Matt Holliday, OF, Cardinals

The batting average and power have been lower than expected, leading some to wonder if the 34-year-old has finally entered the decline phase of his career. While that's possible, it seems unlikely he's fallen off this much. A .303 BABIP is actually somewhat low for Holliday, providing some evidence his average will improve. On top of that, his 5.9 percent home run rate is nearly 10 percent lower than his career-average. That seems like too steep a decline, even with an aging player. Holliday is a solid bet if you're looking for a rebound outfielder.

Carlos Santana, C/3B, Indians

He just can't be this bad. BABIP has certainly played a role, as his .238 mark is easily the lowest of his career. Other than that, he's showing the same skills that made him an elite option in the past. There's been a little more swing and miss to his game this season, but nothing bad enough to suggest his .207 average is legitimate. The home runs are still there despite a lower than normal slugging percentage. Here's hoping his luck reverses in the second half.

Brian McCann, C, Yankees

Here's another guy who has inexplicably dropped off. Based on his past few seasons, there are a couple things we need to accept about McCann moving forward. First, he's probably not a high-average hitter anymore. Over the last three seasons, his BABIP has been .234, .261 and .255. So, any thought of him hitting .270 again is probably a pipe dream. What he should still be doing, based on the past few seasons, is hitting for power. The home runs have been there, but the slugging is way down. Yankees Stadium seemed like a match made in heaven coming into the year for McCann. Unless his shoulder is suddenly giving him problems again, he should be looked at as a possible bounce-back.

Jake Odorizzi, SP, Rays

Odorizzi has been covered by both Scott White and Al Melchior in recent weeks, so I'll keep it short here. The strikeout potential is strong, and the walk rate is acceptable. A .321 BABIP seems to be holding him back. Considering he's a fly ball pitcher, that should change in the coming weeks.

Tyler Skaggs, SP, Angels

Skaggs can go either way based on one thing: his ability to pitch with runners on base. Skaggs has a 61.8 percent left-on base percentage, which is fairly low. The league-average in the category typically hovers around 70 percent. This means runners who get on base against Skaggs are scoring more than usual. It's possible Skaggs just doesn't pitch as well out of the stretch, but there's also a chance his poor LOB% is a fluke. A 3.55 FIP gives you an idea of what he's capable of if that number rebounds.

Ervin Santana, SP, Braves

Big Erv is dealing with some poor luck. Nearly every one of his peripherals suggests he's been a better pitcher this season. His strikeout rate has taken a nice leap forward, his walk rate is still solid and he's inducing ground balls at a strong pace. A .317 BABIP seems like the main culprit here. Over his career, Santana's BABIP has hovered around .284. That makes him a strong candidate to be a second-half stud.

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