BATTERS: Monthly BPV surgers and faders, 2016

Let's continue our mid-season theme of looking at monthly skill surgers and faders over the first half by moving on to hitters.

These bats have produced steady monthly jumps or losses in their aggregate skills over the season's first three months:

Monthly BPV Surgers & Faders, April to June 2016*

                                            -------------------BPV-----------------
Name                League  Position        Apr  May  Jun  May vs. Apr  Jun vs. May
==================  ======  =============   ===  ===  ===  ===========  ===========
Espinosa, Danny         NL          2B/SS   -17    5  137      +22           +132
Encarnacion, Edwin      AL             1B    11   57  172      +46           +115
Carpenter, Matt         NL       3B/2B/1B    63   95  171      +32            +76
Turner, Justin          NL             3B    14   33  106      +19            +73
Upton, Justin           AL             LF   -49  -14   58      +19            +73
Longoria, Evan          AL             3B    47   62  126      +15            +64
Seager, Corey           NL             SS    60   72  135      +12            +63
Jones, Adam             AL             CF    12   36   98      +24            +62
Votto, Joey             NL             1B   -19   46   97      +65            +51
McCann, Brian           AL              C     5   38   84      +33            +46
Freeman, Freddie        NL             1B    13   52   96      +39            +44
Kipnis, Jason           AL             2B    11   34   78      +23            +44
Lindor, Francisco       AL             SS    20   58  101      +38            +43
Fielder, Prince         AL             DH    -3   13   49      +16            +36
Martin, Russell         AL              C  -154   -6   24     +148            +30
Alonso, Yonder          AL             1B     7   31   61      +24            +30
Abreu, Jose             AL          1B/DH     4   36   63      +32            +27
Trout, Mike             AL             CF    63   94  119      +31            +25
Wieters, Matt           AL              C   -30   58   81      +88            +23
Martinez, J.D.          AL             RF    48   75   97      +27            +22
Ramirez, Hanley         AL          LF/1B    -7   36   56      +43            +20
Norris, Derek           NL              C   -22   38   49      +60            +11
Taylor, Michael         NL             CF   -22   15   25      +37            +10
Giavotella, Johnny      AL             2B    32   53   63      +21            +10
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Conforto, Michael       NL             LF   136   48  -45      -88            -93
Castillo, Welington     NL              C    68   15  -57      -53            -72
Polanco, Gregory        NL             RF   106   81   17      -25            -64
Fowler, Dexter          NL             CF   121   61    2      -60            -59
Utley, Chase            NL             2B    65   43   -8      -22            -51
McCutchen, Andrew       NL             CF    61   35  -15      -26            -50
Stanton, Giancarlo      NL             RF    91   45   -3      -46            -48
Beltre, Adrian          AL             3B    91   79   38      -12            -41
Jaso, John              NL          1B/DH    83   56   18      -27            -38
Span, Denard            NL             CF    64   39    7      -25            -32
Hosmer, Eric            AL             1B    70   53   21      -17            -32
Coghlan, Chris          NL       LF/2B/3B    19  -20  -44      -39            -24
Segura, Jean            NL          SS/2B    73   45   26      -28            -19
Castro, Starlin         AL          SS/2B    73   32   18      -41            -14
Mauer, Joe              AL          1B/DH    86   13    0      -73            -13
Hamilton, Billy         NL             CF    44   25   13      -19            -12
Park, Byung Ho          AL             1B    88    4   -7      -84            -11
*min 50 AB each month


AMERICAN LEAGUE

Yonder Alonso (1B, OAK) has shown steady improvement in each month of 2016. Check out his OPS by month: .488, .696, .800. His plate control has steadily improved too; his monthly Eye keeps getting better: 0.31, 0.53, 1.00. His early returns so far in July have continued/solidified those trends: .826 OPS, 0.67 Eye. While Alonso's spotty hard contact limits his upside as your primary 1B, now's the time to buy him in deep leagues if you need some corner infield help.

Prince Fielder (DH, TEX) was one of the least productive full-timers in April (.576 OPS) and May (.569 OPS). His bat finally showed signs of coming to life in June (.774 OPS). Improving pitch recognition has helped, as shown by his monthly Eye: 0.44, 0.53, 0.69. It remains to be seen if he can carry those gains into the second half, as the early results in July aren't optimistic (.593 OPS, 0.38 Eye). Still, Fielder did produce a .347-13-50 line as recently as the first half of 2015, so we can't write him off yet.

Eric Hosmer (1B, KC) has watched his production go in the opposite direction. Reference his monthly OPS from April to June: .874, .860, .747. A big dip in power has produced a big monthly loss in his aggregate skills: 70, 53, 21 BPV. With a 66% GB% so far in July and a 59% GB% for the season, Hosmer's expected power is on a three-year slide: 105, 100, 94, 84 xPX. His big '15 2H gives hope that he can show a similar burst down the stretch this year, but the early indications aren't positive.

Adam Jones (CF, BAL) started the season very poorly (.626 OPS, 12 BPV in April). He made some modest gains in May (.718 OPS, 36 BPV). He looked like his former self in June: .982 OPS, 98 BPV. With a 148+ xPX the last two months and the 17 HR he hit in the 2H of '15, Jones is a strong play for the second half, even if he has started off July slowly.

Francisco Lindor (SS, CLE) is another bat who struggled through a rough April, both on the surface (.737 OPS) and beneath it (20 BPV). He made nice gains in both areas during May (.828 OPS, 58 BPV). He took those marks up another level in June (.888 OPS, 101 BPV), showing good plate control (87% ct%, 0.71 Eye) and more power (129 PX) than we've seen from him all season. At age 22, it shouldn't be surprising that Lindor is inconsistent, and his second-half results from '15 hint at what his upside could be for the rest of 2016: .339-11-45-11.

Matt Wieters (C, BAL) is another high-upside bat who has subtly shown some steady skill improvement this season. Check out his monthly BPV trend over the first three months: -30, 58, 81 BPV. The next step is putting his skill flashes together into one package. In June, his plate control was very strong (12% bb%, 84% ct%, 0.83 Eye), but his expected power was less so (88 xPX). The reverse was true during the first two months. His pitch recognition was so-so at best, but he had 120+ xPX both months. So far in July, his results have been terrible (.323 OPS, -67 BPV), but he does have an elite 171 xPX this month on the back of a 117 HctX and 50% FB%. Wieters is a good mid-season trade target if you can get him at a discount.
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Matt Carpenter (3B/2B/1B, STL) was on his way to a huge second half before suffering an oblique strain. Check out his monthly BPV trend from April to June: 63, 95, 171. No batter paired a more elite combination of underlying skills (21% bb%, 1.53 Eye, 174 xPX) and production (1.232 OPS) than Carpenter did in June. If healthy, he'll be a cornerstone bat in the second half.

Welington Castillo (C, ARI) posted big results (.900 OPS) and strong skills (68 BPV) in April, which has led many of his owners to ride him without thinking twice. Problem is, his monthly BPV suggests he could be in store for a big late fade: 68, 15, -57 BPV. He couldn't make contact in June (58% ct%) and when he did, it was entirely soft (51 HctX). With a .603 OPS and 0.19 Eye against RHers, Castillo is a frontline backstop in deep leagues only.

Danny Espinosa (2B/SS, WAS) is another bat who produced very little early in the season (.563 OPS in April, .653 OPS in May). His base skills those two months gave very little reason for hope either (-17 BPV in April, 5 BPV in May). His results and skills both exploded in June: 1.129 OPS, 137 BPV. He made tons of hard contact and drew walks at a nice clip that month. While we can't bank on that kind of production from him in the second half, his monthly growth does suggest that his poor April was an aberration.

Dexter Fowler (CF, CHC) began the 2016 season with a bang, posting a top-tier 1.087 OPS and 121 BPV in April. Both marks came back down to earth in May (.849 OPS, 61 BPV). They tanked in June ((.618 OPS, 2 BPV)). Then he was sidelined with a strained hamstring. With former first-rounder Albert Almora (CF, CHC) a defensive asset in Fowler's absence, CHC doesn't need to rush Fowler back, especially given his injury history. Fowler's April reflects his upside, but his owners should temper their expectations given his monthly deterioration in stats and skills.

Corey Seager (SS, LA) is a premium young bat that is making steady gains as the 2016 season goes along. Check out his BPV by month: 60, 72, 135. And his production by month: .707, .861, 1.118 OPS. With an elite 150+ xPX in both May and June, Seager will enter 2017 as a legit breakout target.

Michael Taylor (CF, WAS) hasn't closed down the big holes in his swing (67% ct% in '15, 66% ct% in '16). It's a problem that contributed to his mid-season demotion. That said, Taylor still offers plenty of power and speed, especially against lefties (.816 OPS, 177 PX). And at age 25, further growth remains reachable.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.