R.A. Dickey, SP—Toronto Blue Jays
Dickey is one of the most intriguing stories in all of baseball. Last season included a rebirthing of his career with the New York Mets that led to his crowning as the NL Cy Young Award winner. After being traded to the Blue Jays when contract issues arose, the fairytale story for the Knuckleballer has incurred a few bumps and bruises. A 5.11 ERA and 1.36 WHIP, along with eight losses, have overruled the 38-year-old Dickey's resurgence. Experts predicted a slight backtrack for the Knuckleballer but many didn't expect Dickey to return to his early-career struggles with command. Dickey's roller coaster season should continue with an occasional quality start sprinkled in the midst of his command struggles.
Chase Headley, 3B—San Diego Padres
Last year's NL Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award winner for third baseman has had a tough go-round this season. Headley sports a meager .226 batting average with only six home runs and 20 RBIs as the season nears it mid-way point. Injuries, including a small thumb fracture that caused the 28-year-old to miss the first three weeks of the season, have contributed to Headley's sluggish start as well. Headley should return to form in the second half once the rust is shaken off.
J.P. Arencibia, C—Tornonto Blue Jays
The backstop who broke out last season has, much like his teammate Dickey, returned to previous struggles. Arencibia is second in the league in home runs from the catcher position this season, but his .214 batting average and 75 strikeouts rank in the cellar of each category. A boom-or-bust type player, hitting in the middle of a potentially potent young offense in Toronto, the Blue Jays and Arencibia just seemingly can't put everything together at the same time. The 27-year-old still has a legit power and should be one of the better power-hitting catchers in the American League in the second half, barring a cut down on the strikeouts. Think a poor man's Mike Napoli.
Todd Helton, 1B—Colorado Rockies
The most notable Volunteer in the league is still playing, though not as often as usual, at a high level. Helton alternates this season at first base, netting a batting average above .250 with 6 home runs and 25 runs batted in. For a 39-year-old who has played in the league for almost in 18 years, those are serviceable numbers, even in portioned at-bats. The five-time All Star and former NL Batting Champion in 2000 should continue to consistently produce in the second half as he always has.
Luke Hochevar, RP—Kansas City Royals
The former No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft has struggled mightily in his career and this season is no exception. Boasting a career ERA of 5.40 and a 1.41 WHIP, the talent has never shown itself aside from rare bursts for the Royals. Manager Ned Yost moved Hochevar to the bullpen this season, which has gone well for the 29-year-old. Sporting an upper-90's fastball and a wicked cutter, the Denver-native has potential to be a solid asset in relief and to resurrect his disappointing career. Hochevar has a 2.63 ERA in 24 innings pitched this season, so there is optimism that a turnaround is possible. Expect Hochevar to fly under the radar this season and to become a contender for the setup or closer role down the road.