Troy Tulowitzki and the 10 Hottest Second-Half Hitters in Major League Baseball

Asher ChanceySenior Analyst IAugust 12, 2011

Troy Tulowitzki and the 10 Hottest Second-Half Hitters in Major League Baseball

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    Troy Tulowitzki, one of baseball's most extreme on-again off-again hitters, is most definitely on-again.

    Every year, there are hitters who use the All-Star break as an opportunity to freshen up, rest and get focused on the second half of the season, and who come out of the break swinging, so to speak. These are the guys who just need a little reset on their season and, having freshened up, come out ready to roll.

    In 2011, Troy Tulowitzki has been one those players, but this is to be expected because, check this out: 

    In his career, Tulowitzki is a career .264 hitter with 54 home runs and 182 RBI in 351 first-half games, while he is a .323 hitter with 61 home runs and 237 RBI in 316 second-half games.

    Here is a look at Tulowitzki and the 10 hottest second-half hitters, so far, of 2011.

10. Justin Upton, RF, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Justin Upton may very well be on his way to a National League Most Valuable Player Award in 2011, if he and the Arizona Diamondbacks can get over the hump and win the NL West.

    In the first half of the season, Upton had a commendable 15 home runs, 46 RBI and 56 runs, while hitting .293/.375/.506.

    In the second half, Upton has ratcheted things up a bit; he already has eight home runs and 26 RBI in 25 games, and is hitting .327/.368/.714 for the surging Deebs.

9. Curtis Granderson, CF, New York Yankees

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    With all of their amazing stars, who would have guessed that in 2011 Curtis Granderson would be the New York Yankees most valuable player?

    And yet, approaching the midway point of August, here we are.

    Granderson had a very good first half, hitting 25 home runs with 63 RBI, 79 runs scored and 15 stolen bases.

    In the second half of the season, Granderson has 25 runs scored and 28 RBI in 26 games, along with six more home runs and seven more stolen bases.  He is also hitting .296 with a .982 OPS in the second half.

8. Melky Cabrera, CF, Kansas City Royals

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    As a Melky Cabrera hater, five years strong, I am not really willing to accept that Cabrera is suddenly awesome in 2011 after being really bad from 2006 to 2010.

    At the same time, this is a guy who the New York Yankees rushed to the majors at the age of 21 in 2006, so it is entirely possible that it has taken until now, at the age of 26, for Cabrera to come of age.

    Cabrera had a very good first half of the season, hitting 11 home runs and 23 doubles while stealing 12 bases and batting .293 with a .787 OPS. He also had a remarkable 112 hits in 88 games in the first half.

    In the second half, though, Cabrera has taken it to the next level, hitting .357 with an .896 OPS, plus 35 hits, eight doubles and three home runs in 25 games.

    Maybe I was wrong to hate.

7. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Speaking of guys I have hated on throughout their careers, Edwin Encarnacion has never been a player I have thought highly of.

    Frankly, Encarnacion gave us no reason at all to have confidence in him in the first half of the season, as he hit .255 with a .283 on-base percentage and managed all of 63 hits in 70 games.

    Since the All-Star break, however, Encarnacion has been a new man. He is hitting .361 with a .475 on-base percentage with 30 hits, 10 doubles and four home runs.

    Plus, after walking just nine times and striking out 39 times in the first half of the season, Encarnacion has taken 17 walks and struck out just 12 times in the second half.

    Maybe he, too, is finally coming into his own.

6. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF, Boston Red Sox

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    After hitting 11 home runs in 89 games in the first half of the season, Jacoby Ellsbury has already hit eight home runs in the first 26 games of the second half.

    He has also scored 22 runs and drove in 23 RBI in 26 games.

5. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston Red Sox

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    Dustin Pedroia had a perfectly good first half of the season (.284/.395/.442).

    He is having an amazing second half of the season (.389/.426/.583).

4. Dan Uggla, 2B, Atlanta Braves

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    How bad was Dan Uggla in the first half of the season?

    Since the All-Star break, Uggla has hit .353 with a 1.034 OPS, and has at least one hit in every game.

    And, those numbers have only brought his season average up to .222 and his OPS up to .716.

    He may have to change his name to Dan Ugh-la.

3. Jesus Guzman, 1B, San Diego Padres

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    San Diego Padres first baseman Jesus Guzman—wait a minute, who?—made his 2011 debut with the Padres in June, and in 16 games hit just .268/.286/.488.

    In the second half, though, he has been en fuego, hitting .390/.438/.634 with four home runs and 26 RBI in 25 games.

    No, really...who?

2. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies

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    Already known as one of the elite defensive shortstops and elite offensive shortstops in baseball, perhaps we should add the title of streakiest hitter in Major League Baseball.

    After an up-and-down first half of the 2011 season, in which he hit .268/.337/.488 with 17 home runs, Tulowitzki has ramped up to an amazing .413/.471/.712 in the second half of the season, and already has six home runs in 27 games.

    With 13 doubles in the second half so far, Tulo' is also well on his way to matching his first half total of 18 doubles.

1. Hideki Matsui, DH, Oakland Athletics

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    In 2011, Hideki Matsui has simply been two different players.

    Having hit only six home runs in the first half of the season (76 games), Matsui has already hit five more in the second half of the season (23). Matsui also has over half as many doubles (seven vs. 13) as he had in the first half of the season, and is well on his way to matching his first half totals in runs scored (15 vs. 25), RBI (22 vs. 34) and total bases (59 vs. 86).

    It makes sense: after posting a miserable .209/.290/.617 in the first half of the season, Matsui is hitting a shocking .416/.471/.663 in the second half.

    Unreal.