The All-Star break is the perfect time for you to re-evaluate your fantasy baseball team. It's a good time to determine what it will take to build a squad that can make a strong final push toward your league's playoffs. Let's focus on players you'll want to target in trades during and after the break.
CARLOS SANTANA, 1B, Phillies
Santana is batting just .216, but he has 14 home runs and 52 RBIs. His on base percentage (OBP) of .359 is well above the major league average. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of .209 is a career low and suggests that he's been hitting into some bad luck. For his career his batting average is .235 in the first half, and .262 in the second half.
BRIAN DOZIER, 2B, Twins
When Dozier is firing on all cylinders he helps you in the home run and stolen base categories. He has slumped badly early on, however as has been the case throughout his career, Dozier is heating up just as the dog days of summer arrive. His career first half slash line of .241/.320/.427 rises to .259/.333/.480 in the second half.
JORGE POLANCO, SS, Twins
Polanco hit 13 home runs and stole 13 bases last season, but there are concerns as to whether he can match that type of production now that he's coming off of an 80 game drug suspension. In his first nine games since being reinstated he had a 40 percent hard hit rate, which is the highest of his career though with a small sample size. He also has a .290 career second half batting average.
MATT CARPENTER, 3B, Cardinals
Carpenter may also be eligible at second and first base, depending on your league rules. We suspect that underlying injuries hampered Carpenter early on. He was batting .236 as recently as June 23, but in his next 15 games, Carpenter batted .377, and registered a .484 OBP and .717 slugging percentage.
NICK WILLIAMS, OF, Phillies
Williams has thrived since taking over as the everyday starting right fielder for the Phillies. Williams was batting .225 on June 10th. In his next 20 starts, he posted a .314/.407/.500 slash line and added three home runs and 14 RBIs. In his short career, Williams' batting average is 31 points higher in the second half compared with his first half average.
ZACH EFLIN, SP, Phillies
Eflin hasn't given up more than three earned runs in his last seven starts, pitching to a 2.32 ERA and 0.94 WHIP during that span. The deeper stats point to that performance being sustainable, making it unlikely we'll see much regression in the coming months.
KIRBY YATES, RP, Padres
If you have a deep enough bench, Yates may be a pitcher to consider stashing as a potential closer in waiting. Brad Hand, San Diego's current closer, has been dominant. The Padres may want to see what they can get back for him as the trade deadline gets closer. Yates' peripheral stats suggest he could potentially be an excellent closer.
If you're looking for minor leaguers who have the potential to be called up during the second half, keep an eye on Brewers SP Corbin Burnes, Rangers OF Willie Calhoun and Braves third baseman Austin Riley.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com