Throughout a season of MLB, The truth always comes to light. Winter adjustments may take time to pay off. Perhaps an injury at the beginning can temporarily limit a player. And, of course, sometimes it’s just not their year.
But if the body allows it and the spirit remains strong, it is a matter of time before these players find their rhythm. Here, 10 figures who have had a great second half of the campaign so far and that have changed our perspective regarding 2021.
1. Joey votto, 1B, Reds
Before All-Star Game (61 games): .257 / .347 / .463, 11 HR, 40 CI__
After (30 games): 325 / .420 / .775, 16 HR, 39 CI
Votto had a solid first half, but was limited by a thumb injury that kept him out of action for nearly a month. But in the second half, he has looked impressive, increasing his Hall of Fame bonuses and leading the Reds to battle for a postseason berth. He homered in seven consecutive games. His OPS increased from .810 to 1.206 in the second half, the largest jump for any player with at least 100 times at bat.
2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Yankees
Before All-Star Game (17 starts): 4.90 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
After (seven starts): 1.99 ERA, 1.082 WHIP
The improvement in his effectiveness is the best for any qualified pitcher in the second half. It was a risky gamble for the Yankees, after undergoing two Tommy John surgeries, but it took him a while to get back into shape in his mechanics.
3. Juan Soto, RF, Nationals
Before All-Star Game (79 games): .283 / .407 / .445, 11 HR, 42 IQ
After (30 games): .367 / .540 / .733, 9 HR, 24 CI
Let no more be said about the curse of the Home Run Festival! Maybe it’s even a blessing. At the time of the event, the Dominican said that the Festival could do him good, after falling into a habit of hitting a lot of grounders. That was not a problem in the second half for one of the best young gunners in the sport.
Four. Randy Arozarena, LF, Rays
Before All-Star Game (52 games): .251 / .333 / .400, 10 HR, 41 IQ
After (25 games): .375 / .434 / .677, 6 HR, 13 CI
Will the Cuban be a streak player? First, we saw him done last October and now he’s doing it again in the second half of the season, helping the Rays get closer to the AL East title.
5. Logan webb, RH, Giants
Before All-Star Game (11 games, 10 starts): 3.63 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
After (7 starts): 2.01 ERA, 1.02 WHIP
In the first half, he positioned himself as a legitimate candidate for the rotation, but missed the entire month of June with a right shoulder strain. He has reached another level since his comeback, relying primarily on his effective two-seam fastball.
6. Starling mars, CF, Athletics
Before All-Star Game (52 games): .272 / .383 / .414, 6 HR, 18 IQ
After (30 games): .382 / .430 / .520, 3 HR, 19 CI
This is how you play in a one-year contract. The Dominican missed more than a month in the first half with a broken rib, but was generally well productive with the Marlins. However, he started to flare up before being traded to the Athletics on July 28. He has stolen 18 bases and scored 20 runs since the break.
7. Cal quantrill, LD, Cleveland
Before All-Star Game (26 games, 8 starts): 4.23 ERA, 1.38 WHIP
After (7 starts): 1.76 ERA, 1.07 WHIP
Acquired last year in Mike Clevinger’s trade with the Padres, Quantrill made two starts with his new team in 2020 and didn’t earn a rotation spot in camp. But when they needed it, the mound rose to the occasion. He’s looked great since July and has solidified his spot in the future Guardians’ rotation for 2022.
8. Will Smith, C, Dodgers
Before All-Star Game (74 games): .252 / .356 / .443, 10 HR, 32 IQ
After (26 games): .282 / .410 / .624, 8 HR, 27 CI
With so many stars on the Dodgers, Smith probably won’t get the attention he deserves. But he has become one of the best catchers in the majors. Additionally, he has earned praise from Max Scherzer for his work behind the plate.
9. Jorge Soler, RF, Braves
Before All-Star Game (82 games): .186 / .279 / .320, 7 HR, 30 IQ
After (29 games): .235 / .361 / .539, 9 HR, 14 CI
Austin Riley, Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman all looked excellent in the second half, but the Braves’ reveal since the break was one of their latest acquisitions. The power of the Cuban has helped the Braves return to the top of the National League East.
10. Jorge Polanco, 2B, Twins
Before All-Star Game (82 games): .252 / .318 / .431, 12 HR, 43 IQ
After (32 games): .333 / .384 / .619, 9 HR, 27 CI
Recovering from multiple ankle surgeries limited the Dominican in 2020 and early 2021, but Polanco has clearly found a rhythm. It started to flare up in May, but in July and August it has resumed the form that did receive some MVP votes in 2019.
Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com