Alright, faithful readers, it’s about that time that we can take a look back and see some hits and misses so far this year. What follows is the line the players have put up since the article going up through Saturday 5/15.
Geovany Soto: 76 AB, .342/.485/.553, 17 R, 4 HR, 10 RBI
Jay Bruce: 101 AB, .297/.395/.553, 22 R, 6 HR, 16 RBI
Jason Heyward: 77 AB, .299/.425/.597, 16 R, 6 HR, 21 RBI
Garrett Jones: 106 AB, .264/.363/.406, 12 R, 2 HR, 21 RBI
The Buy Lows were hits, Heyward was a miss (though he did lose a few games to a sore groin), and Jones was sort of a wash.
Now, just a quick note regarding those “hot young studs” as you fantasy baseballers call them. Recent value fluctuations of Starlin Castro, the newest darling of Sheffield and Waveland, have practically turned the trade market upside down. When hyped up rookies come up and immediately start producing, suddenly everyone falls in love with them. This rarely lasts, and the chances of you getting better value in selling the player somewhat high drastically outweighs the chances of you getting better value by watching and hoping the player will seamlessly adjust to the best baseball players in the world on their first try. So any time you can flip someone with four MLB at-bats for who was drafted in the second freakin’ round, you should hit accept so fast that you leave a burn mark on your mousepad. Anyway, onward to this week’s selection…
Randy Wells: I own Wells in one league, and after his second 8 strikeout game, I went to take a look at his stats. His O-Swing this year is 32.5%, good for 10th in the league, and his contact rate has dipped under 80%. This leads to a K/9 of 7.84, leaps and bounds ahead of the yawn-inducing 5.66 figure from ’09. Not only that, but he’s lowered his walk rate to 1.96 per nine innings. His ratio of exactly four strikeouts per walk puts him 11th in the league. However, his defense isn’t doing him any favors, giving him a .348 BABIP. The peripherals suggest elite potential, but don’t expect elite production from someone without the track record. Still, there is definitely potential gold to be had here. So get your shovel and start digging.
Perceived value: 17th round
Chone Figgins: He’s suffering from David Wright Syndrome (it’s in the DSM-IV, really!), in that he’s walking a lot more than usual, but he’s also striking out a LOT more. He has a new plate approach, one that’s distinctly different from anything he did with the Angels. He’s swinging at less than a third of pitches, and is making less contact. He’s been at the mid- to upper 80s in contact rate his entire career, and it’s 81% this year. Some theorize that it’s due to the drop to second in the batting order, others point towards his recent meetings with his former hitting coach with the Angels as evidence that Chone isn’t meshing well with the Mariners coaching staff. Not quantifiable enough for you? Alright, then how about his .250 BABIP, which is 88 points lower than his career mark? He’s always been a speedy line drive hitter, the exact type that the BABIP gods love. These types of players don’t turn about-face over the course of one offseason, so it’s more likely that we’re seeing another casualty of small sample size.
Perceived value: 11th round.
Phil Hughes: Hughes is on his fourth chance at the starting rotation, and now that he’s finally producing, Yankees fans are finally on this kid’s side. A sparkling 1.38 ERA and a K per inning to boot seem to give plenty of shiny, happy statistical gains to fantasy owners. However, an unsettling dark side lies beneath the surface. Where there is a 1.38 ERA, there lies a sinister, deceiving 2.4% HR/FB rate that’s completely unsustainable in the slow-pitch softball sized park he pitches half his games in; where there is a 0.92 WHIP, there lies his .224 BABIP, a foreboding fog fostering fear in fantasy followers. Also, he has a high strand rate. His xFIP is 3.61, and given the perennially uninspiring defense behind him, you can expect another quarter run to be tacked on to that. 3.90/1.23 is certainly helpful, but you can ride the Yankees hype train all the way to dollarville if you sell him to your local Yankees fan.
Perceived value: 9th round.
Ty Wigginton: Ty’s a useful super utility guy, but he’s not a 40 HR threat in any universe, except maybe an alternate universe where it’s mandatory for baseball players to take steroids, though even then he’d probably have playing time issues. Wigginton is crushing the ball right now, sending almost a third of his fly balls out of the park. His ISO is a hilarious .373, which is almost double his career .188 mark. A 20 HR pace from here on out is almost certain, but Wigginton is definitely not in the Howard Zone. With the 2B market so thin at the moment, between the Beckhams, Robertses, Figginses, and Zobrists of the league, you can probably find one angry owner who’s really, really mad at his second baseman.
Perceived value: find that one angry owner!
Fowler Watch 2010
Since our last update, our Dexter had a brief hot streak where he raised his average 89 points in 22 AB. But more recently, he’s gone into a funk, where he’s been 0 for his last 13. However, over that period of time, he’s drawn nine walks against two strikeouts. All managers tend to see is AVG, though, so he’s been losing playing time since Dr. Strangeglove reappeared in right field. Seth Smith has been sighted at the leadoff spot multiple times this season, and before his injury Eric Young was being benched in favor of Clint “The Swinger of Hoses” Barmes. I have not yet learned how to stop worrying and love Jim Tracy’s managing strategy. We’ll see if I can wrap my mind around it in the coming week. Until next time!
André Walker is Ubaldo's Smirking Revenge. His alter ego Neato Torpedo is Hawpe's Well Below Average Glove.
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