Yesterday the Tigers traded for light hitting outfielder in Delmon Young. That would seem fitting, considering they seemed to be full of them already. I’m going to focus on the one that will likely have the most fantasy impact going forward.
There are some players who have noticeable splits in their performance before and after the All-Star break every season. The most notable, to me at least, is Adam LaRoche. He has a .56 point jump in his OPS after the break. The gap was most noticeable in 2006, 2008 and 2009. Ryan Raburn seems to be taking a similar career path. In 587 career at bats before the break the outfielder/second basemen is hitting just .228/.287/.402 for a .689 OPS. In 710 at bats after the break? .293/.342/.486 for an .828 OPS. He hasn’t let us down this season.
It’s hard to imagine a first half going worse than Raburn’s. A .609 OPS usually gets you benched or optioned to the minors. Instead, Jim Leyland let Raburn play in 76 games. Thankfully for the Tigers, and the fantasy consumer, the All-Star break is over and Raburn is hitting like a professional again. He actually started breaking out of his first half blues a bit before the break and finished July with a .798 OPS. He’s followed that up with a hot August, hitting .310 and slugging .534 with three home runs in 19 games. The Tigers’ offense isn’t great, and hitting behind Austin Jackson isn’t going to provide him many RBI opportunities, but if Raburn is able to get on base at a decent clip he may be able to pick up a decent amount of runs scored with Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez behind him.
He is currently available in over 70 percent of Yahoo! Leagues and is eligible at second base. When looking at what’s available at the position – Justin Turner, Chris Getz, Ty Wigginton – Raburn looks especially good. Pick him up and reap the benefits.