We all know that there are certain players who have struggled through the first half of the season. We also know that there are players who notoriously produce better in the second half. Here are five hitters that other owners in your league may be ready to give up on, yet could produce plenty of value in the second half (all stats are through Sunday):

Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees
He’s always been a slow starter, though 2010 has been an extreme case. Still, just looking at his second half numbers from the past few seasons gives us an idea of what he can do:

  • 2006 – .291, 24 HR, 61 RBI, 51 R
  • 2007 – .309, 18 HR, 64 RBI, 45 R
  • 2008 – .366, 16 HR, 52 RBI, 48 R
  • 2009 – .313, 18 HR, 59 RBI, 47 R

There are a lot of numbers that we can also point to that indicate an improvement should be coming.  First is his BABIP, which is currently at .258. Considering that his career low is .288, which came in his rookie year of 2003, you have to believe that a resurgence is going to come sooner or later.

Second is his HR/FB, which is also at a career low (11.9 percent). He’s never had a mark below 17.8 percent, and he plays in a park that proved to be a hitters haven in 2009. It’s certainly easy to imagine him still surpassing 30 (he’s currently at 13) by year’s end.

While he’s not likely to live up to the first round expectations, you have to know that Teixeira has a hot streak in him. He’s started showing signs, so now may be your last chance to get him at a discount. If someone in your league is fed up with him, he’s well worth the acquisition.

Nick Markakis – Baltimore Orioles

To say that he’s been a major disappointment is an understatement, despite the solid average. He’s currently hitting .307 with four HR, 27 RBI, and 34 R. So yet again, he has failed to take that next step forward in his progression. Then again, considering he was likely taken as a number two outfielder, he has just failed to produce…period.

There’s nothing in the numbers to make us think that he can’t turn things around. His fly ball rate is down from last season, but right along his career mark (36.2 percent in ‘10 vs. 35.5 percent for his career). His HR/FB, which was over 11.5 percent from 2006-2008, is at just 4.3 percent this season.

He does continue to rip doubles, at 25 for the season, putting him just one behind the leaders (Marlon Byrd & Jayson Werth each have 26).  Sooner or later, some of those balls are going to find their way over the fence. Last season he hit 10 HR in the second half and is not far removed from a 14 HR second half in 2007.

He has been hurt by the absence of Brian Roberts, but if he keeps hitting (which he easily could), the RBI and R will come with it. Couple that with increased power and you certainly have the potential to get a steal. Considering where he was drafted and what you may have to give up to get him, he’s a great buy right now.

Adam Lind – Toronto Blue Jays

It is beginning to look like last season’s 35 HR was a bit of an aberration. All you have to do is look at his HR/FB for the past four seasons to get that indication:

  • 2007 – 13.3 percent
  • 2008 – 11.0 percent
  • 2009 – 19.8 percent
  • 2010 – 10.6 percent

Even if he could just get things back to the 2007 mark, there’s reason for optimism, especially when you throw in his BABIP. He’s had terrible luck (.245), and also has been striking out a tremendous amount (27.5 percent).

If he can reduce the strikeouts (he was at 18.1 percent in ‘08 and 18.7 percent in ‘09) and see improved luck, the average will come around. It’s possible he’s trying to hit home runs after his breakout, as his fly ball rate has gone from 36.8 percent to 42.3 percent. Still, it’s hard to believe that it will be a completely lost season.

Now is your opportunity to get him for pennies on the dollar (I actually saw him on the waiver wire of a five outfielder format last week) and given what he did in ‘09, he’s certainly worth the risk.

Matt Wieters – Baltimore Orioles
I’ve discussed him before, but it bears repeating. We have all heard about his potential, but he has not quite shown it yet. His home run per fly ball rate is under 10.0 percent (currently at 8.2 percent). His BABIP is below average, at .283.

Granted, he hasn’t hit many extra base hits (nine doubles and six home runs), but this is still his first full season. He’s now had over 600 total at bats, so it is certainly possible that something clicks in the second half.

Given the lack of depth at the position, he’s certainly worth the gamble.

Carlos Lee – Houston Astros

He’s hit .300 each of the last four seasons and has a career .288 average. Yet, we are supposed to believe he’s a .232 hitter in 2010?

Fat chance. He’s had some terrible luck, with a .232 BABIP. He also just hasn’t had the same type of power, with a HR/FB of 7.9 percent vs. a career mark of 13.0 percent.

Playing in that ballpark, there’s no chance that either of those things continue. Just look at his second half marks from the past few seasons:

  • 2007 – .311, 16 HR, 46 RBI, 45 R
  • 2008 – .372, 7 HR, 24 RBI, 15 R (in just 78 AB)
  • 2009 – .291, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 30 R

While he’s not a notorious slow starter, there’s little question about his bat. If you need runs scored, he’s not the answer. However, if you are looking for some power in the second half, he’s well worth the gamble.

What are your thoughts on these five players? Would you try to buy low on any of them?  Who else are you targeting in your leagues?

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