Nick Kappel's Fantasy Focus: Second Half Studs Part Two

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Nick Kappel's Fantasy Focus: Second Half Studs Part Two
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Original Article: Baseball Reflections

In last week’s fantasy focus, I outlined eight batters who have historically performed at a higher level in the second half of the season.
This week, I’m suggesting eight starting pitchers who meet the same criteria.
Johan Santana
Santana’s first half totals are incredible, but his second half splits are phenomenal.
Despite similar strikeout and walk ratios, Santana historically shaves nearly three fourths of a run off his ERA in the second half, helping to lower his WHIP by one tenth of a point.
The Mets ace is the best second half pitcher in baseball, and it’s not even close. 

 

W-L

K/9

BB/9

ERA

WHIP

BAA

PRE-ASB

61-41

9.2

2.6

3.43

1.16

.232

POST-ASB

59-18

9.2

2.5

2.71

1.06

.213

Cole Hamels
Like Santana, Hamels pitches much better in the second half, despite similar strikeout and walk ratios.
The 2008 World Series MVP allows nearly a full run less following the summer classic opposed to before it. His 1.08 second half WHIP is supported by a .227 batting average against.

 

W-L

K/9

BB/9

ERA

WHIP

BAA

PRE-ASB

26-19

8.4

2.3

3.99

1.22

.252

POST-ASB

18-9

8.5

2.2

3.07

1.08

.227

Rich Harden
Harden isn’t a guy I would suggest owning…ever. He’s too inconsistent and too injury prone.
It is worth mentioning, however, that he typically pitches much better after the All-Star Break. While his strikeout totals slip, so do his walks, allowing him to maintain a solid WHIP.
His second half batting average against of .209 isn’t bad either, and is among the best in all of baseball.

 

W-L

K/9

BB/9

ERA

WHIP

BAA

PRE-ASB

22-18

9.4

4.1

3.64

1.31

.231

POST-ASB

25-8

8.7

3.6

3.17

1.16

.209

Roy Oswalt
If you’ve read my previous work, you know how I feel about Oswalt. He’s a legitimate ace all year, every year, but especially in the second half.
Oswalt punches out nearly a half a batter per nine more in the second half, and walks a few less batters as well. This results in a half of a run difference, and a much better winning percentage. 
In July, August, and September, only Johan Santana is more effective.

 

W-L

K/9

BB/9

ERA

WHIP

BAA

PRE-ASB

67-48

7.2

2.2

3.39

1.25

.262

POST-ASB

68-20

7.6

1.9

2.87

1.13

.245

Matt Cain

In a previous article, I stated my strong opinion of Matt Cain and his extremely high walk rate. He’s kept it somewhat in check in 2009, though he’s gotten incredibly lucky.
Cain’s .267 BABIP, 87.3% strand rate, and 3.81 FIP suggest his 2.27 ERA is much, much lower than it should be.
The purpose of this piece, however, is to key on second half pitchers, and Cain has proven to be much better late in the season. Despite this, it’s hard to believe Cain can get any better than what he’s fooled most of you to believe he actually is. Proceed with caution…

 

W-L

K/9

BB/9

ERA

WHIP

BAA

PRE-ASB

24-24

7.7

4.0

3.71

1.31

.235

POST-ASB

18-21

7.6

3.4

3.22

1.21

.225

CC Sabathia
If you owned Sabathia last season, you enjoyed one of the best post ASB performances by a pitcher in recent memory. A quick look at his career splits prove he’s always been much better in the second half.
Not only does he strikeout more, but he walks less, and sports a solid 1.21 WHIP to go along with an ERA that’s a half of a run better following the mid summer classic.

 

W-L

K/9

BB/9

ERA

WHIP

BAA

PRE-ASB

67-44

7.1

2.9

3.89

1.26

.249

POST-ASB

60-35

7.9

2.7

3.37

1.21

.243

Scott Kazmir
Just like Matt Cain, Kazmir is an over-hyped young pitcher due to his high walk totals. Of course the injury bug keeps biting Kazmir, making things even more difficult, but somehow he gets way too much respect from the fantasy baseball community.
Those who do like him, however, have this to hang their hat on: Kazmir is a much better pitcher in the second half. Despite his trademark high walk rate, Kazmir has managed a career 3.33 second half ERA, nearly a full run less than his first half total. 
Add that to a whopping 10.6 K/9 and a much lower WHIP, (although it’s still too high) and Kazmir might actually be worth owning in the second half…if you’re willing to take the risk. 

 

W-L

K/9

BB/9

ERA

WHIP

BAA

PRE-ASB

29-29

8.8

4.2

4.28

1.45

.256

POST-ASB

22-14

10.6

4.2

3.33

1.32

.232

Derek Lowe
If you drafted Derek Lowe this season in hopes of him repeating his 3.24 ERA and 1.13 WHIP of 2008, you’re probably pretty bummed.
There is reason to believe, however, that he can still turn things around.
History says Lowe should allow a half a walk per nine innings less post ASB, and nearly a half of an earned run less. Expect not only an increase in winning percentage, but also a decrease in walks, ERA and WHIP from the sinkerballer in the remaining months of the season.

 

W-L

K/9

BB/9

ERA

WHIP

BAA

PRE-ASB

72-73

5.7

2.8

3.96

1.31

.259

POST-ASB

63-41

6.1

2.2

3.53

1.23

.258

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