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2nd half monsters, but why?

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2nd half monsters, but why?

Postby Wade Boggs' Mustache » Sat Jun 21, 2008 12:33 pm

Okay, so we all know there are always a handful of players who are notorious for playing better in the 2nd half of the season. Just to name a few off the top of my head, Cain, Beltre, Teixeira, Markakis etc.

To me, it makes sense for players to slow down as the season progresses. Playing 162 games and traveling from different time zones will take its toll on someone, physically and mentally. So for any player to get better as the season marches on, is baffling to me. I've tried to think of some logical reasons why this may happen. Some quick thoughts off the top of my head...steroids, warmer weather, seeing the same pitchers/hitters more often, but to me each possible reason has a good rebuttal.

Warm weather...some hitters slow down as the season progresses, so warm weather can't be the sole reason.

Steroids...if an athlete is using some sort of performance enhancing drugs, you'd think they'd want any given advantage for an entire season, not just for the 2nd half. Do athletes wait until they begin to feel the effects of the long season to start juicing? It's not like you can take steroids 1 day and the next you feel like the incredible hulk, it does take time...

Seeing the same pitchers/hitters...this one makes the most sense to me, as a good pitcher/hitter will make the necessary adjustments needed to continue their high level of play. Even when someone is on the same team their entire career, there's a constant shuffling of players each year that they will need to readjust to. They're not seeing the same 5 starting pitchers every year and they're certainly not seeing the same bullpen. The same thing can be said about pitching as lineups can change year to year.

Anyways, these are just a couple possibilities for players that are consistently better after the ASB. It may be a mix of many different factors that come into play here, but I was just hoping to spark some conversation and see what the Cafe thinks.

Your thoughts?
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Re: 2nd half monsters, but why?

Postby Bobbleheadrusty » Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:20 pm

I think its a couple factors.

Obviously warmer weather comes into play, since runs go up universally.

Some batters take a while to get into a groove. A guy like Tex isnt exactly a schlub the first half of the season, but after about 200 ABs he seems to find a groove and hits better. It may be as simple as taking that long to get comfortable with his swing after not facing MLB pitching for 6 months.
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Re: 2nd half monsters, but why?

Postby freeling_prideful » Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:31 pm

I don't think there is a concrete physical cause that can be pinpointed, unlike in the case of first-half players whose performance decline we can attribute to fatigue. As the poster above states, some guys just take longer to get their feel for the game back--starters like Cain show noticeable improvements in walk rate from pre-ASB/post-ASB, indicating that he hasn't fully harnessed his stuff and needs some months of regular pitching to get there.

Santana was once a huge second-half player b/c he would spend much of the first month or so really getting the right feel for his changeup, which he couldn't completely perfect during spring training. In recent years, however, as he has grown more mature as a pitcher, he has had better first halves, and his last season w/ a truly dramatic split was 05. I think the same thing will eventually happen to Cain, where his 1st/2nd halves look more similar as he gets older.
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Re: 2nd half monsters, but why?

Postby NorthSider2 » Sun Jun 22, 2008 3:05 pm

Soriano is gonna be a monster in the second half. He started rolling then he got hurt so hes gonna be huge next half. With the Cubs getting close to the playoffs Soriano is gonna step up and have MVP stats
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Re: 2nd half monsters, but why?

Postby KrunK » Sun Jun 22, 2008 4:44 pm

Hopefully Robinson Cano goes on his second half tear. He's been occupying a bench slot on my team all season, because I'm waiting for the hot streak so I can sell high.
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Re: 2nd half monsters, but why?

Postby Wade Boggs' Mustache » Sun Jun 22, 2008 5:40 pm

NorthSider2 wrote:Soriano is gonna be a monster in the second half. He started rolling then he got hurt so hes gonna be huge next half. With the Cubs getting close to the playoffs Soriano is gonna step up and have MVP stats



Thank you for the "Go Cubs!!" post...
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Re: 2nd half monsters, but why?

Postby Yanks_Baby » Sun Jun 22, 2008 6:01 pm

NorthSider2 wrote:Soriano is gonna be a monster in the second half. He started rolling then he got hurt so hes gonna be huge next half. With the Cubs getting close to the playoffs Soriano is gonna step up and have MVP stats

It's ok little cubbie, shhh, it's ok. Just go sit in the corner over there, with your goats and what not. It's ok.
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Re: 2nd half monsters, but why?

Postby zhutou » Sun Jun 22, 2008 7:14 pm

there's no point in comparing 2nd half players to non 2nd half players to look for the cause. they're 2nd half players for a reason: everyone is different.
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Re: 2nd half monsters, but why?

Postby stumpak » Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:15 pm

The most logical explanation is that second half players 1) do not physically break down to the same extent as the average player and/or 2) maintain focus from finsh to start better than the average player. In other words, the "second half" player is doing little more than maintaining a steady rate of performance while the bulk of this peers (including the batters and pitchers that he faces) have degraded performanances due to mental or physical fatigue. The second half player maybe does not get better in absoluate terms; it might be that the typical player gets worse as the season wears on, leading to a relative improvement.
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Re: 2nd half monsters, but why?

Postby WyldStallyn » Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:24 pm

stumpak wrote:The most logical explanation is that second half players 1) do not physically break down to the same extent as the average player and/or 2) maintain focus from finsh to start better than the average player. In other words, the "second half" player is doing little more than maintaining a steady rate of performance while the bulk of this peers (including the batters and pitchers that he faces) have degraded performanances due to mental or physical fatigue. The second half player maybe does not get better in absoluate terms; it might be that the typical player gets worse as the season wears on, leading to a relative improvement.


if what you said were true than the splits would be identical from pre to post AS break, but that isnt the case. just look at laroche's splits from last year. unless you mean that they do better because many of the pitchers they are facing are wearing down?
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