by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There have been quite a few impressive performers in the second half of the season. Of course, there are still plenty of questions regarding many of these players. Let’s take a look at their performances, thus far, and the storylines we need to monitor over the final few weeks of the season:
Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies – Third Baseman
Second Half Stats – .338, 8 HR, 22 RBI, 26 R, 0 SB
He’s hitting .308 overall with 14 HR and 52 RBI, though he’s now settled into the cleanup role given the rash of injuries (Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer are all on the DL). Before we get too excited about his second half surge, it’s important to note his overall home/road split:
- Home – .316, 13 HR, 39 RBI
- Road – .297, 1 HR, 13 RBI
Obviously it’s nice that he’s hitting for average everywhere and his second half mark is realistic (11.0% walk rate, .339 BABIP), but can he hit for power outside of Coors Field? It’s not going to cripple his value, as he should drive in ample runs simply with his improved batting average, but it would be nice.
It’s a story we will watch closely over the final month of the season and will ultimately determine his 2015 status. While being productive only at home doesn’t make him unusable, he’d be ranked significantly higher if he puts a few balls in the seats away from home.
Lucas Duda – New York Mets – First Baseman
Second Half Stats – .268, 12 HR, 27 RBI, 25 R, 1 SB
We’ve talked about him a lot lately, but if we are going to cover players streaking in the second half he has to be included. Tied for the league lead in home runs (with Giancarlo Stanton and Chris Carter), it’s clear that the Mets made the right decision in regards to their future first baseman.
He has still continued to struggle against southpaws, however, which is something to watch:
- vs. RHP – .285, 25 HR, 69 RBI
- vs. LHP – .154, 1 HR, 7 RBI
He has 88 PA against lefties, so it’s a small sample size but it’s not like he hasn’t been given a chance. It’s something he needs to improve upon, otherwise he could ultimately be labeled as a platoon player. Granted he’d be on the favorable side of the platoon, and it wouldn’t cripple his value (see Brandon Moss), but it’s noteworthy just the same.
Christian Yelich – Miami Marlins – Outfielder
Second Half Stats – .331, 1 HR, 16 RBI, 25 R, 5 SB
No one is going to question the upside of Yelich, but his second half surge has been buoyed by a .427 BABIP and his power has virtually dried up. To an extent it reminds you of Jean Segura from a year ago, especially in the power department.
Yelich owns a 16.1% fly ball rate for the season, so it’s clear his first half power is a bit of an aberration. He also carries an overall 62.7% groundball rate (67.3% in the second half), making it impossible to believe in his current average regardless of the speed he possesses. Throw in a 21.1% strikeout rate and it’s icing on the cake.
It’s been a nice run, but it seems destined to dry up unless he can make an adjustment. Considering how long it’s been going like this, that’s hard to buy into for 2014. There’s a lot to like, but he needs to show us a lot over the final month or we are going to be extremely skeptical heading into 2015.
Sources – Fangraphs
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