Oracle Report: Batter Banter
Who is the best player in fantasy baseball? What should you be thinking with the young talent that is Gyorko, Hamilton, Lawrie and Segura?
The Rockies have the best player in fantasy baseball right now and his name isn't Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez. The Brewers and Padres thought that they had elite young options up the middle. Do they? The Blue Jays have a disappointing third sacker who, really, is nowhere near as disappointing as you think. Finally, what do we make of the suddenly hot speedster from the Reds?
THE BEST HITTER IN BASEBALL
Say hi to Charlie Blackmon.
Mr. Blackmon, he of the wonderful beard, leads baseball hitting .410. He's also sporting a 1.146 OPS that is the second best mark in baseball behind teammate Troy Tulowitzki (1.196). Toss in five homers, 16 RBIs, 19 runs scored and six steals and you're looking at the April MVP of 2014. Some thoughts.
The April MVP of 2013 was Justin Upton. How'd that turn out?
Blackmon has taken only six walks all season. To his credit he's only struck out five times, but let's get real here. I say it all the time, if you take a walk every four games you are a huge batting average risk. Second, there's no way he's gonna play all year and strikeout just 30 times. We know that.
His .391 BABIP is highly likely to drop. His career mark of .341 is already mega impressive. Pretty sure he's gonna have a tough time hitting either mark if he keeps up his 20.5 percent line drive rate (that's about a percent above the league average).
He has a 21.7 percent HR/F ratio that is higher than his marks from the first three seasons of his career when combined (20.0).
How far will he fall? Tremendously. Blackmon is a potential .300 hitter with 15 homer power, and the speed to steal 20 bases. At this point it would be a bit surprising if he didn't reach all three numbers with ease. At the same time there is simply no chance he maintains this pace and wins the MVP award this year. It's also fair to wonder if he will have an equally putrid month to balance out his insanely hot start. It's a long season and more times than not things even out.
It goes without saying that selling high is the proper course of action with Blackmon.
HAMILTON HITTING – SORT OF
Billy Hamilton has 11 hits over his last eight games. Even with that push he's still batting just .230 on the season. He's also walked just one time in his last eight games and just three times all season. The result is a simply pathetic .266 OBP. My goodness, his SLG is .284. The guy can't hit. Just the way it is. Doesn't mean he's a fantasy waste or anything cause he has stolen nine bases including seven bags in his last eight games. When he gets on he's a threat to run. Still, he never gets on, and there is this. BaseballHQ developed a measure called Stolen Base Opportunity percentage (SB+CS / Singles+BB). The league average is about nine percent. A base stealer like Ben Revere had a mark of 30 percent last year while Jacoby Ellsbury was at 33 percent. What is Hamilton's mark this year? Try 65 percent. Pretty tough to keep up that rate one would have to think, meaning Hamilton is simply going to have to get on base more frequently to maintain his fantasy value.
Don't forget to check out my piece on hurlers Oracle Report: Mound Musings.
SEGURA STILL STRUGGLING
Jean Segura hit .241 with one homer over his final 54 games last season. Things haven't been any better to start the 2014 season. Segura is batting .247 with one homer through 20 games. Folks, that's a .243 average with two homers over 74 games. My goodness, he has one walk this season an a total of 26 over his last 166 games. Compare that to Jose Bautista who has 27 walks in 21 games this season (read those last two sentences again). Even Segura's base stealing has been curtailed this season as he's only been successful on five of nine steal attempts.
It's looking like you may have overspent if you took Segura with the expectation that he was going to be a top-5 shortstop this season. His game has so many holes in it right now.
JEDD GYORKO WAIVER-WIRE MATERIAL?
Jedd Gyorko hit 23 homers with 63 RBIs and 62 runs scored as a rookie last season. Do you know how many other second basemen went 20-60-60 last year? The answer is one – Robinson Cano. A month ago everyone was convinced that Gyorko was a top-10 second sacker, some even pushing him up to top-5 territory. Now, just three weeks into the season, I'm getting daily questions about whether or not Jedd is even worth keeping on peoples rosters. Oh boy.
Twenty two games should change your opinion about 10 percent on a player, not 100 percent.
Jedd hit .249 with a .301 OBP last season. Did you all just completely overlook that fact when drafting him this year? Did you fail to notice that he stole only one base? The guys nowhere near a complete hitter. He's also no Dan Uggla though as some people seem to be thinking with him.
Let me just put it. Keep the faith. So he's hitting .135 with a homer. Yes, atrocious. Is he going to hit .135 this year? No. Is he going to fail to power the ball into the seats? No. Is he going to be sent to the minors? No. It's been three weeks folks. Slow your roll. Bench him sure (without a doubt that is the right call). But letting him go to pick up Yangervis Solarte? Please.
One last fact. Remember how I noted that Gyorko went 20-60-60 last year. Do you know that he did that despite hitting .247 with no homers in April and .100 with one RBI in July?
BRETT LAWRIE – RUN PRODUCER
I maintain the following. If Brett Lawrie is healthy and plays 150 games he is a top-10 third basemen. Period, end of story. To this point he has appeared in all 21 of the Blue Jays games. I don't care that he's hitting just .165 at the moment (I've never been more certain in anything, and I mean this, in my life that his 6.5 percent line drive rate and .138 BABIP will skyrocket from this low point). How about we consider that he has five homers and 18 RBIs while scoring eight runs. You know who can't match a single one of those numbers? Try Miguel Cabrera.
If you can get Lawrie on the cheap do it. If you own him know that it's all about his health. If it's there so will the numbers be in the end.
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