Some fantasy owners pay more attention to first half/second half split stats than others, and over the years, I've gradually become less of a believer in the significance of these splits. But, since they are easy to look up and since they make for good conversation, I don't ignore them entirely, especially at this exact time of the season.
While it is important to take a breather during the All-Star break, I cannot help but use the few days off to closely evaluate my rosters, one of the goals being to determine if my underachievers can bounce back. And, one source of optimism could be the previous season's second half stats. So, that's the motivation behind scanning the splits, but more often than not, other useful nuggets of information can be gleamed from this exercise.
On that note, let's take a look at some of last season's second half hitting leaders in the various roto categories, the common theme being players who ranked in the top-10 in at least two categories. Note that for batting average, the minimum at-bat requirement is 100.
Brian Dozier: 28 HR (1st), 56 RBI (5th)
Heading into Saturday, Dozier is on pace to finish 2017 with 25 homers and 82 RBI. Pretty good, right? Sure, but factoring in his draft day cost as a consensus top-40 player, his owners are far from satisfied with his solid yet not elite-level production. All will be forgiven, however, if Dozier can piece together a second half that is anything close to the 2016 version. Impossible? Perhaps, but before you dismiss the possibility, keep in mind that Dozier's first half splits from last season (.246 AVG, 14 HR, 43 RBI, 47 R, 7 SB) are fairly similar to this year's .242-13-41-39-10 first half stat line. Interesting.
Hanley Ramirez: 63 RBI (Tied for 1st), 22 HR (Tied for 4th)
Like Dozier, Ramirez has failed to meet expectations in 2017, wrapping up the first half with a .261 batting average, 13 homers and 34 RBI. There's no way that Hanley owners can get fair value for him in a trade right now, so their best course of action is to wait it out and hope that he can duplicate last season's second half. And, he's off to a promising start after going 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI on Friday.
Ender Inciarte: 59 R (Tied for 2nd), .341 AVG (8th)
One of the more underrated players in the game, Inciarte is putting together yet another stellar season, providing his fantasy owners with a strong batting average and some speed while ranking among the league leaders in runs scored. Count on more of the same in the second half, and because Inciarte isn't a trendy name, consider trading for the Braves outfielder, who will reward you with a positive return on investment.
Miguel Cabrera: 20 HR (Tied for 6th), 55 RBI (Tied for 6th), .346 AVG (6th)
After batting a pedestrian .264 with 11 homers and 41 RBI in the first half this season, Miggy will need a second half like the one he enjoyed last year if he wants to silence the critics. On pace to finish with a .260-20-75-57 line, earning his preseason NFBC ADP of 17 is pretty much out of the question at this point. The biggest question right now is whether or not the former MVP will crack the top-100 in drafts next spring. Probably, but it will be close.
Jonathan Villar: 31 SB (3rd), 48 R (Tied for 10th)
Prior to landing on the DL in early-June, Villar was one of the leading candidates for "biggest fantasy disappointment" honors, and things haven't gotten much better since his return. There's still time for the 26-year old to prove that last season wasn't an aberration, and Villar is still swiping bags. The problem is that when you get on base at a .286 clip, your stolen base chances will be limited. Once Eric Sogard comes off the DL, everyday playing time is no guarantee for Villar. And this is bad news for me, as I recently traded for him in Mixed Auction Tout Wars.
Well, at least I can use last season's second half as inspiration.
Zach Steinhorn is the 2016 Mixed Auction Tout Wars champion. Follow him on Twitter @ZachMLB