MLB Betting Report on Players Under Pressure in 2nd Half

Posted by Alex Murphy on Thursday,July 23, 2015 12:06, EST in

The first half of the 2015 Major League season saw its share of great performances, from a bunch of multi-homer games posted by hitters to a number of no-hitters and impressive strikeout totals recorded by pitchers. Histories were made, records were broken, and for good measure, we had a couple of interesting surprises in the MLB betting odds. So it would probably be safe to say it was a good first half of the season for all MLB enthusiasts, right?

Well, not exactly. Whereas some individual players had impressive games in the season’s first couple of months, others languished in utter frustration as they struggled mightily in their respective teams. Using statistics from the first half of the season, here is a look at the top players who were expected to perform well but ended up disappointing in the first half of the season, hence putting a lot of pressure on them to rebound in the just-began second half of the season.

In Depth Look at the MLB Betting Report on Players Under Pressure in 2nd Half

CC Sabathia, New York Yankees

For someone who has endeared himself as one of the best arms in the game, Sabathia is doing a really good job of erasing that reputation with his increasingly dipping form. In 2013, the pitcher went 14-13 in 32 starts with a 4.78 ERA, followed by a 3-4 record and a 5.28 ERA in ’14. This season, his frying pan numbers have jumped straight into the fire, as he tallied a poor 4-8 and 5.47 ERA in his 17 starts in the first half of the season. At this rate, Sabathia’s place in the rotation is very questionable and, if he can’t improve, there’s no doubt that he could lose his prized role as a starter. The second half of the season is thus likely to be a very pressuring one for Sabathia, who will be playing with a target on his back from the unforgiving New York fans.

Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

For someone who signed a seven-year, $180 million contract in 2013, it is no surprise that there have been a lot of criticisms about Verlander’s 0-2 record and 5.34 ERA in the first half of the season. Coincidentally, Verlander’s slide has come at a time when the Tigers have seen a major collapse in the AL Central divisional race, giving fans and critics a lot of reasons to point their fingers at the pitcher. To stop the criticism that are likely to become invigorated as the season continues, the 2011 Cy Young Winner will need to make a quick U-turn in his performances.

Matt Harvey, New York Mets

After posting a remarkable record of 2.27 ERA and a 9-5 record in a struggling Mets team in 2013, the expectations were that Harvey would be able to perform better in the 2015 more-talented New York team. But that hasn’t been the case for the celebrated pitcher, who went 8-6 with a 3.07 ERA in the first half of the season. To his defense, Harvey sat out of the 2014 season because of injury, but many Mets fans won’t be buying that excuse, considering the many MLB stars who’ve made comebacks from injuries and still impressed. With the Mets enjoying their best seasons in over a decade and hoping it will amount to something other than “almost successful”, Harvey will need to be on his best arms for the remainder of the season.

Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers

Though injuries have partly contributed to his near no-show in 2015, Puig’s biggest challenge this season has been his inconsistent play. After batting hot for an impressive average of .319 with 19 homers and 42 RBI in 104 games during the 2013 season, followed by a .296 mark with 16 home runs and 69 RBI in 148 games last year, Poig has fizzled out in 2015, going .261 with just 4 home runs and 14 RBI in 43 games. Making matters worse, reports from the Dodger camp indicate that the young player is not in good terms with his manager Don Mattingly, with some fans already calling for his trade-away. For a superstar of his caliber, the talks and the complaints will only get louder, unless he silences his critics with better on-field showing in the second half of the season.

Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners

As a venerated veteran that has consistently performed at the highest standards for over 10 years, it makes sense that there have been concerns about him hitting .252/.291/.371 with six home runs and 29 RBIs in 82 games this season. For many other journeymen, such numbers would be acceptable, but for a perennial All-Star that has been synonymous with success in the MLB, more is rightfully expected from him. Of course, there isn’t much pressure for him on the side of team improvements, as the Mariners are down and out of a chance to fix their broken season, but for the purposes of maintaining his personal legacy, Cano will be under pressure to get his season back on track.

The Other Group of On-pressure Players

Apart from the above-mentioned group of players who underwhelmed in the first half of the season, there will also be some sort-of pressure for the players that performed really well, with many people having heightened expectations about them continuing to perform in a great way. The players in this latter category include: pitchers Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, Johnny Cueto, and hitters Yasmani Grandal, Adrian Gonzalez, and Joey Votto.