Bret Sayre did a great job with his 5 All Stars he is buying (and selling) in this piece yesterday, so I will take a look at 5 hitters to target in the second half. These are guys that have underperformed in the first half, who I expect to have excellent to monster second halves this season. Some hitters are slow starters and don't heat up at the plate until the weather heats up. With the weather on the east coast hitting 100+ degrees over the weekend, there is not time like the present for them to get their bats going.
Five Hitters to Target in the Second Half
Eric Hosmer, KC
I ranked Hosmer as my 7th ranked first baseman prior to the season, and he thanked me by struggling in the first half this season. He is hitting .231-.299-.371 with 9 HRs, 36 runs, 39 RBI and 8 stolen bases in 9 attempts. Even throughout the difficult first half, Hosmer maintained a solid eye at the plate, as his 45-28 strikeout to walk ratio indicates. But, there are signs that he is starting to figure things out at the plate. After hitting .188-.274-.388 in April and .218-.262-.317 in May, Hosmer hit .270-.340-.438 with 3 HRs, 9 runs and 11 RBI in June. In 8 games in July, he is hitting .281-.361-.313 with 7 runs and 3 RBI. In the second half of 2011, Hosmer hit .313-.349-.493 with 11 HRs, 41 runs and 44 RBI, and I think he was gaining confidence at the plate before the break, as he hit in 13 of his last 17 games in the first half.
Ike Davis, NYM
Davis is another hitter who struggled mightily in the first two months of 2012, hitting .185-.241-.309 in April and .154-.214-.282 in May. He started to turn things around in June, hitting .264-.363-.563 with 6 HRs, 16 runs and 24 RBI. He walked more in June (14) than he did in April and May combined (12), and his 6 home runs was more than the 5 that he hit in April and May as well. The Mets are surprising many with their performance thus far in 2012 with only one real month from Davis. I think Davis will put up solid power numbers in the second half, taking advantage of the warm weather and the moved in fences at Citi Field.
Brian McCann, ATL
I wrote recently that McCann was having an off year until last weekend where he hit 4 home runs in as many games. He is hitting for good power, but his batting average is a career low at this point, mainly due to a career low BABIP of .233. His .295 career BABIP indicates he will start hitting soon, and, like I said, he got things started right before the break. He is hitting just .238-.301-.430 with 13 HRs, 28 runs and 46 RBI at the break. He has improved his eye at the plate, as his 13.8% strikeout rate is his lowest since 2008, but his walk rate is down to a respectable 8.5% from 10.8% last season. His .233 BABIP tells me more batted balls will be falling in for hits in the second half and we will see the Brian McCann we all drafted back in March.
Mark Teixeira, NYY
Teixiera has had a decent first half of 2012, hitting .250-.334-.473 with 15 HRs, 49 runs and 54 RBI, but the HR total is down vs 2011, and I think that will pick up in the second half. He has hit either 33 or 39 home runs in each of the last four seasons, and he is capable of hitting 18-22 more in the second half, especially in the new Yankee Stadium.
Ryan Zimmerman, WAS
Zimmerman has battled a shoulder injury and a slow start at the plate in 2012, leading to his first half triple slash line of .243-.308-.386 with just 8 home runs, 42 runs and 40 RBI. Zimmerman almost landed on the DL a few weeks ago, but a cortisone shot resulted in a hot streak resulted and him hitting in 12 of his last 14 games before the break with 5 home runs and 13 RBI. I think he is primed for a big second half, as he has proven he is a much better hitter in the second half over the course of his career, as he has a career triple slash line of .302-.370-.495. If he can stay healthy, I can see him hitting 15-17 home runs with 50+ RBI.