Jose Reyes: In a year where Alex Gonzalez and Elvis Andrus are the only shortstops in Yahoo’s top 90 players, you’ll find a lot of people frustrated with whoever they drafted. Possibly the worst offender is Jose Reyes. As a Reyes owner, I can attest to this: .221 AVG and 9 SB through seven weeks from alleged speed demon/second round draft pick is really, really annoying. But Reyes is a guy whose streakiness is really understated; he often posts 60-70 point swings in batting average and 100+ point swings in OPS from month to month. In 2006, he had four months with an OPS in the .700s, two in the 1.000s, and none in the .800-1.000 range. The summer months ahead have brought the best performance of Reyes’ career so far (followed by the mandatory September swoon that comes with being a Met), so brighter days are ahead (for now). He struck out once in his last 40 AB after notching 21 K’s in the first 131 AB of the season, so he’s putting more contact on the ball, even though the hits are still finding infielders (.241 BABIP). His peripherals look like 2006 minus power, which is still very good production. I swear I’m not rationalizing.
Perceived value: 3rd-4th round
Lance Berkman: He just wasn’t feeling it in April coming off his injury. Worms in Houston feared for their lives when Berkman and his fearsome 58.3% GB rate stepped to the plate. Obviously, power hitters coming off knee issues aren’t going to find much success with pounding baseballs into the ground. After his terrible April hiccup, he’s posted a 1.14 GB/FB rate, which is more in line with his career numbers (1.12 in ’07-’09). He’s been able to consistently put up .300+ BABIPs despite LD rates below 20% from 2006 forward, so we can’t point to his 16.5% LD rate as the cause of his .250 BABIP in May. Perhaps it was the knee nagging at him in April, but as he gets more comfortable at the plate and luck factors regress to the number the peripherals dictate, expect his BABIP to rise closer to his career numbers. As for the power, he’s had few problems with that, hitting 18.5% of fly balls over the fence.
Perceived value: 11th round
David Price: The top pitching prospect of ’09 turned in a disappointing rookie season, placing him in the 14th/15th rounds on average in drafts this year. Seven weeks in, he’s taken center stage again, having what appears to be a breakout season. I say “appears” because his scintillating 1.81 ERA and 1.08 WHIP is driven largely by a lot of luck. Now, here’s some key stats from this year and last:
2009: 7.15 K/9, 3.79 BB/9, 41.5% GB rate
2010: 7.24 K/9, 3.29 BB/9, 46.7% GB rate
The strikeout rate change is negligible (one more inning or one less strikeout and the rate is lower than last year’s), while the incremental improvements in walk rate and ground ball rate are encouraging. However, they do not substantiate a 2.61 decrease in ERA. The impetuses behind the low ERA/WHIP are his low BABIP (.251) and an even lower HR/FB (3.6%). His xFIP stands at 4.01, and while a pitcher who can turn in a high-3/low-4 ERA and throw in about 7 strikeouts per nine will be useful, that value is right in between Floydtown and Correiaville.
Perceived value: 8th round
Justin Morneau: I can’t figure out the xBABIP calculator myself, but I can safely eyeball Morneau’s stats and see that there is no possible way that anyone in the non-Fowler universe could sustain a .434 BABIP. It’s a bit of a shame, too, since I’d really like to know what Morneau’s BABIP should be, given his 50.9% FB rate. Fly balls this year have a .142 BABIP, and his LD% (.717 BABIP) is only a couple points higher than league average. So either he keeps hitting fly balls (and thus, home runs) but loses about 100-110 points in AVG, or he loses 50-70 points in AVG but hits fewer fly balls. Either way, he’s at peak value right now. Sell, sell, sell.
Perceived value: 2nd round
Fowler Watch 2010
Dexter has only started two games this week and pinch hit in three. He’s 0 for his last 21 with nine walks, five strikeouts, and a stolen base. Smith, Gonzalez, and (ugh) Hawpe are hitting well, so there’s no place for Fowler at the moment. Dark days, my friends.
André Walker is Ubaldo's Smirking Revenge. His alter ego Neato Torpedo is Hawpe's Well Below Average Glove.
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