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Fantasy Baseball: Top 10 Hitters to Get Excited About for Later in Season

Michael MagoulisCorrespondent IJune 8, 2011

Fantasy Baseball: Top 10 Hitters to Get Excited About for Later in Season

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    CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 3: Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers watches a three run home run during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on June 3, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    There are many players in baseball that are notorious for getting off to slow starts or have spent a lot of time of the disabled list during the first half of this season. Nevertheless, they will put up great numbers.

    While many of the people who are currently playing well will continue to do so, it may be difficult to pick them up for your fantasy team.

    These are the top 10 improving fantasy gems to pick up by the All-Star break.

Hideki Matsui

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    BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 07: Hideki Matsui #55 of the Oakland Athletics fouls off a pitch during the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 7, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Oakland
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Batting just .209 this season, Hideki Matsui isn't going to be a mainstay on many people's fantasy teams. Still, he has been fairly consistent the last few seasons and with a career average of .286, he shouldn't be overlooked.

    In his one season in Los Angeles, Matsui managed a .309 average with 11 homers and a .955 OPS after the All-Star break, which brought his season totals to .274, with 21 home runs, and a .820 OPS.  

Jim Thome

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 23:  Jim Thome #25 of the Minnesota Twins steps out of the dugout for a curtain call following his second home run against the Seattle Mariners in the seventh inning of their game on May 16, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minne
    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Jim Thome is currently on the 15-day DL for a strained quad. He has had a lackluster season thus far, playing in only 28 games and batting just .237. Although Thome is in his twentieth season in baseball, he showed last season that he can still produce.

    He ended 2010 with a .283 average and an impressive 1.039 OPS—.313 average, 1.158 OPS, and 15 homers after the All-Star break—and is someone to keep an eye on when he comes off the disabled list. 

Aubrey Huff

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 06:  Aubrey Huff #17 of the San Francisco Giants hits a two-run single in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals during an MLB game at AT&T Park on June 6, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Ge
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Currently sitting at .221, Audrey Huff is a career .280 hitter.

    He has already hit four home runs in June and has improving offensive numbers all around. He hit 26 homers and batted .290 just last year, so look for him to use the remainder of the season to get back to that form. 

Delmon Young

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 23: Delmon Young #21 of the Minnesota Twins bats against the Seattle Mariners during their game on May 23, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Rockies won 6-5. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    A .225 average is unusual to see next to Delmon Young's name, so don't expect it to remain that way for much longer. A career .288 hitter, Young batted .298 last season.

    Despite batting just .228 in April and .197 in May, Young has a .286 average in the month of June and seems to be picking it up.

Shin-Soo Choo

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    CHICAGO, IL - MAY 19:  Shin-Soo Choo #17 of the Cleveland Indians takes a swing against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on May 19, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  The Whiute Sox defeated the Indians 8-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    It is not likely that a career .291 hitter like Shin-Soo Choo is going to maintain his current .241 average for the remainder of the season.

    Choo managed a .317 average with 9 homers and 47 RBI after the All-Star break in 2010. Look for him to pick it up in the second half to get closer to that career average.  

Carlos Gonzalez

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 01:  Carlos Gonzalez #5 of the Colorado Rockies hits a sacrifice fly in the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on June 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Rockies defeated the Dodgers 3-0.  (Photo by
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    The numbers of Carlos Gonzalez have dropped a bit from his fantastic 2010 campaign, but he, like many other players on this list, tends to pick things up after the All-Star break.

    He's currently batting .250 with just 8 homers, but his .336 average from last season—.363 after the All-Star break—is the important thing to focus on. 

Yadier Molina

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 1: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals collects a single against the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium on June 1, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Although Yadier Molina hit just .223 before the All-Star break in 2010, he went on a tear in the second half, hitting .315 and bringing his season total up to .262.

    This season, he has shown that same tendency—improving as the season goes on. He hit .200 in March, .296 in April, .330 in May, and is currently hitting an astounding .381 in June. 

Nelson Cruz

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    CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 3: Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers hits a two run home run during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on June 3, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Nelson Cruz may have been overlooked this season because he is only hitting .247 with just a .304 OBP, but he is still producing with 14 home runs.

    It is important to keep in mind that Cruz hit .318 last season and .333 after the All-Star break.

Josh Hamilton

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    BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 10:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers during batting practice before thier game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 10, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Although Josh Hamilton spent a lot of time on the DL during the first part of the season, he hit a ridiculous .384 with a 1.098 OPS after the All-Star break last season.

    Hamilton may be a difficult pick up to make, but anyone who was deterred by his injury and his slightly lower numbers will pay dearly come the second half of the season. 

Ryan Braun

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    ATLANTA, GA - MAY 04:  Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 4, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Ryan Braun is having a stellar first half of the season. .304 average, 13 home runs, and 43 RBI. Still, if last year's numbers are any indication, he'll have an even better second half.

    Braun's batting average was .319 after the All-Star break—hitting .424 in August and .323 in September of last year.

    A hard player to get your hands on for sure, but if you do, don't let go.

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