Will Mike Napoli have another hot second half?
Napoli hit just .228 and had 12 homers and 30 RBIs in the first half of this season.
“It was the same way last year,” Napoli said.
Yep. He hit .232 with 12 homers and 33 RBIs in 2011. But there was one big difference: playing time. Napoli came into last season as the backup catcher to Yorvit Torrealba and had 155 at-bats in the first half. This season he’s played in more games and has 241 at-bats, yet hasn’t been able to match his production from the second half of last season.
Napoli came out of last season's All-Star break ready to go (he was actually hitting well in the week or two leading up to the break, too). He ended up batting .383 with 18 homers and 42 RBIs in 214 second-half at-bats. That momentum carried over to the postseason, where he seemed to come through in the clutch consistently. Napoli would have been the club’s World Series MVP had they closed the deal in Game 6.
So is knowing that he’s capable of that kind of stretch helpful going into the second half this season?
“I think it helps,” said Napoli, just prior to starting at catcher in the All-Star Game. “I had a bad first half last year and I had a great second half. It’s something to look to.”
Napoli sought out the council of several of his teammates recently, asking them how they approach getting out of prolonged slumps. Some of the advice that Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre gave Napoli: Don’t forget that you can’t get your average up 60 points in one at-bat.
“I’ll take that approach, keep working and do what the situation calls for me in the game,” Napoli said.
He said he’s not getting too frustrated and that he’s confident he can bounce back. The key is getting comfortable at the plate, and he feels like he’s had a few games in the past week that have felt much better to him.
Napoli’s offensive tear was a key to the club’s second-half charge (they pushed ahead from a close division thanks in large part to his exploits last July and August), and for an offense that has been stagnant the past six weeks, they could sure use Napoli’s bat again.
How do you think he’ll do in the second half? It’s not feasible to think he’ll repeat last year, but can he hit .300 or more in the second half?
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