Today we're going to take a look at some offensive candidates to turn it around in the second half. Each of these guys has underperformed to some degree, and might represent a really nice buy-low opportunity if his owner is frustrated with the lack of production.
Billy Butler, 1B/DH (KC)
First-half statistics: .271/.371/.402, 8 HR, 49 RBI, 0 SB
Butler finally flashed top-end power last season, as more of his doubles became home runs. That mashing ability hasn’t exactly carried over to 2013, however, and has left owners in a lurch as they suffer from borderline slap-hitting at a premium corner infield position. What’s odd is that Butler’s plate approach is better than ever-- he’s on pace for 86 walks, which would best his previous career-high by 17, and he’s not striking out particularly often. That bodes well for the second half, and it would behoove potential owners to remember that Butler hit .336/.384/.533 with 13 HR after last year’s All-Star break.
Yoenis Cespedes, OF (OAK)
First-half statistics: .225/.293/.420, 15 HR, 43 RBI, 5 SB
The Cuban Missile was largely a dud in the first half, as his free-swinging ways have resulted in a low batting average and huge strikeout totals. The one thing owners can still appreciate is his power-- there was never much of a question that it would be there-- but overall he’s been one of fantasy’s biggest disappointments. Cespedes finished last season on a roll, hitting .311/.376/.533 with 14 HR in the second half, so see if you can pry the talented Cuban from a disappointed owner, as we all know what he’s capable of.
Matt Kemp, OF (LAD)
First-half statistics: .254/.309/.357, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 9 SB
Kemp has been absolutely dreadful this season; there’s no two ways about it. He’s killed owners in every format, owners who most likely continue to roll him out in hopes that he turns things around. At this point those people have to be discouraged-- probably even disgusted-- meaning there’s a solid chance Kemp can be had on the relative cheap. If you have the resources, make an offer-- he’s too good a hitter to continue such a dreadful performance, and, though admittedly in a ridiculously small sample size, his two homers in 16 July plate appearances represent his highest total of any month. If he turns it around, he’s obviously the type of player that can carry you to a championship.
Chase Headley, 3B (SD)
First-half statistics: .232/.333/.365, 7 HR, 32 RBI, 6 SB
It’s taken quite some time for Headley to rebound from the broken thumb he suffered in Spring Training, and his numbers are a reflection of that long road to recovery. The 2012 NL RBI champion has struggled to do much of anything at the plate, and apparently the Yankees were recently rebuffed after investigating whether they could vulture the Padres’ star. Headley has shown signs of life in July, however, and last year was a torrid .308/.386/.592 hitter with a whopping 23 homers and 73 RBI after the All-Star break. While it’s unreasonable to expect that type of production in this season’s second half, it’s not far-fetched to expect a strong progression to the mean. Headley is worth inquiring on if you need help at the hot corner.
Nick Swisher, OF (CLE)
First-half statistics: .239/.348/.392, 9 HR, 31 RBI, 0 SB
Swisher hasn’t exactly set Cleveland hearts aflutter after signing a 4-year, $56 million deal in the offseason, but he’s been one of fantasy’s more reliable players over the past several seasons. Always the possessor of a pretty strong plate approach, despite all the strikeouts, Swisher is the type of guy who should be able to turn things around. Over the past three campaigns he’s been a .277/.371/.483 hitter in the second half, averaging nearly 13 HR along the way. Expect Swish to rebound and finish with a competent batting line, making him an attractive trade target if you're lacking power.
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