It's early but we all know that two weeks of action, for some people, is an eternity that has allowed us to crystallize our opinions on players for the entirety of the 2014 campaign, right? Hopefully you said no to that. I'll give my thoughts on six situations to help you feel better about your judgment with players. Hopefully.
ALEXEI RAMIREZ – A BREAKOUT?
Alexei Ramirez is hitting a robust .420 through two weeks. People seem to think, and I'm not talking about one person I'm talking about tons, that a breakout campaign for Alexei is looming. Sorry, totally wrong there folks. The data.
(1) He's already 32 years old. How often to players break out at 32? Answer is pretty much never.
(2) He already has six full seasons of big league work under his belt. It's not often that players wait until year seven to break out.
(3) Though he's a career .279 hitter he's failed to hit .270 in two of the past three seasons. Pretty sure that his current .409 BABIP, which is literally .100 points higher than he has ever had in a full season, is going to regress. Also pretty strange to see that he's hitting .420 given that his current 17 percent line drive rate would be a five year low. There's also this. The guy has a 0.43 BB/K ratio for his career. You really think he's holding on to his current mark of 1.33? Come on now.
(4) In 2010 he had 18 homers. In the three seasons since he's at 15, nine and six. He simply doesn't hit enough fly balls or convert enough of those fly balls into homers to have any chance to better 15 homers, tops.
Could Ramirez be a top-10 shortstop this season? Sure. Is he going 20/20? No chance. 15/20? Possible but not a great bet. Is he going to hit .300? The last time he hit .285 was back in 2008. Ride the wave but realize that his bat is bound to slow.
KYLE SEAGER – MOVE ON?
I don't get it. Well I do get it. Odd thing though is that no matter how many times I tell people not to panic, no matter how many times I say it in email, in a tweet, on the radio... folks just never listen. As Kyle Seager's Player Profile pointed out this offseason – the last two years an average Seager season has led to a fantasy line of .260-21-78-71-11. “Do you know how many third basemen hit 21 homers with 78 RBIs, 71 runs scored and 11 steals in 2013, the average of Seager's work the past two years? The answer is zero. Not a single third baseman reached all four of those marks (Seager was close with 69 RBIs and nine steals).” Good but not great.
So he's hitting .121 over 10 games. Who cares. Bench him for now sure, but you're really gonna give up on him after 33 at-bats? I say it all the time. If you manage your baseball team like this you will never win. Patience. Again, toss someone else in your lineup until Seager kicks things into gear, but making rash decisions is only advisable if it's a Friday night at a bar – wait, that's the worst time to do that isn't it?
WHAT IS WRONG WITH CARLOS SANTANA?
You already know what I'm going to say about Carlos Santana, right? Were you thinking something like – he'll still be a top-5 catcher this season, just exercise some patience? You win the smiley face of the day award. The good. (1) Santana has walked 14 times in 13 games and that is excellent. (2) In addition to jacking up the walks he's also struck out only seven times in 13 games, the lowest K-rate of his career. (3) The last two seasons he's posted excellent BB/K ratios of 0.90 and 0.85. You do that and you're gonna be a very effective hitter. Right now, despite a .186 batting average and no homers, Santana is sporting an unheard of 2.00 BB/K ratio. (4) His career line drive rate is 19 percent. This season that mark is 19.4 percent. His swing is a bit off, his 1.90 GB/FB ratio is insanely high (1.13 for his career), but as the at-bats pile up that will revert to normal and the hits will start coming – in bunches.
DANNY SALAZAR A TEASE?
The stuff is tremendous, and when locked in there isn't a more dominating force on the bump than Danny Salazar. So far this season it's been more rough than smooth sailing for the young righty though. By now you know, though it's still fun to note, that in his last start he became the first hurler since 1900 to strike out 10 batters in a game in which he failed to complete the fourth inning. So this is what we take away from his two starts.
For the gazillionth time – it's only two starts.
He has 14 Ks in 9.1 innings. He's averaging 11.59 K/9 over his 12 big league starts.
His control has been off, especially in his last outing, and he will have to do a better job of avoiding the free pass if he wants to work deep into games. He's currently sporting a 3.95 BB/9 mark for his career.
His BABIP through two starts is a laughable .476. The mark was .298 last year.
His HR/F ratio is 25 percent. Last year that mark was slightly under 14 percent.
There are still questions about how many innings he will be allowed to throw, and if he's going to be able to reign in the free passes, but you just cannot teach arm talent like this. Stay the course if you own Salazar, and if someone is being a nervous Nancy then swoop in an add Salazar. How nervous was “Nancy” that a whole saying was built up around her? Do you think her family is proud of the fact that their relative has been immortalized? I wonder...