I get some form of the following question about 30 times a day. “I drafted Player X early and built my team around him. He's been awful so far. What do I do?” Maybe some of you reading this right now have sent me variations of that question. I'm going to look at on main example – power – in this piece and try to help you to ease some of your concern over slow starting players.
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WHO AM I?
I hit 18 homers last season but in the month of April I hit zero homers.
I'm Brian Dozier
I hit 21 homers last season but in the month of April I hit zero homers.
I'm Matt Dominguez.
I hit 23 homers last season but in the month of April I hit zero homers.
I'm Jedd Gyorko.
I hit 30 homers last season but in the month of April I hit one homer. I'm Jay Bruce.
I hit 34 homers last season but in the month of April I hit one homer. I'm Alfonso Soriano.
That's right. Re-read those five players player reports again. Realize that homers come in bunches. As you can see the above five-some hit an average of 0.40 homer a piece in the month of April. By the end of the season the five-some hit an average of 25.2 homers each. TWENTY FIVE EACH.
As I noted with guys like Bruce and Soriano, a guy can stink up the joint for a month, look like Billy Hamilton in the power department, and still be a league leader in homers when the 162nd game is completed. 'But Ray, that was just two guys. That never happens. Most of the time if a guy has a bad month he just sucks.' Really? From 2013...
Todd Frazier had zero homers in May 2013. He finished with 19 homers on the year.
Eric Hosmer and Torii Hunter had one homer in May. They each hit 17 long balls.
Mike Napoli had one homer in June. He hit 23 for the year.
Kendrys Morales had one homer in June. He hit 22 for the year.
Justin Upton had one homer in June. He hit 27 for the year.
Carlos Beltran hit zero homers in July. He hit 24 for the year.
Ian Desmond hit one homer in July. He hit 20 for the year.
Yoenis Cespedes hit one homer in July. He hit 26 for the year.
Michael Cuddyer hit zero homers in August. He hit 20 for the year.
Carlos Gomez hit one homer in August. He hit 24 for the year.
Kendrys Morales had one homer in August. He hit 22 for the year.
That's right, he hit two homers over the course of two months and still hit 22 for the year.
Ian Desmond had zero homers in September. He hit 20 for the year.
Bryce Harper had one homer in September. He hit 20 for the year.
Kyle Seager had one homer in September. He hit 22 for the year.
Starting to get the point?
Let me review something for you.
The season is six months long (162 games).
If you hit 30 homers you average 5.0 homers a month.
If you hit 25 homers you average 4.2 homers a month.
If you hit 20 homers you average 3.3 homers a month.
If you hit 15 homers you average 2.5 homers a month.
If you hit 10 homers you average 1.7 homers a month.
A slow really means nothing when we're, what, talking two or three homers in most instances.
Look at the following example of homer totals by month.
Player A: 7, 7, 6, 5, 3, 2
Player B: 1, 3, 7, 7, 5, 7
Player C: 4, 5, 5, 6, 5, 5
All three hit exactly 30 homers yet they just got there in different ways.
So before you go panicking and jumping off the roof cause you own Prince Fielder, Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, Alex Rios, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson or David Wright know that there is a hell of a lot more season left and that you should be paying more attention to other things like fly ball rates, HR/F ratios, contact rates etc. than you should be worrying just about the number in the home run column.
JUSTIN VERLANDER – CUT THE CORD?
Justin Verlander is no longer a superstar. I pointed this out on Twitter the yesterday but in case you missed it... did you know that Justin isn't even striking out seven batters per nine innings this season? Seriously. The mark is 6.98 through six starts. He's also walking 3.38 batters per nine and that would be his worst mark since 2008. Oh, and then there is this. Are you aware that his velocity keeps going down every single year/? Not hyperbole. Check it out. Here are are the marks the last five years: 95.6, 95.4, 95.0, 94.3, 93.3. What is that mark this year? It's 92.2. He's also throwing fewer fastballs than ever before, and for the first time in six years he's throwing his curve ball 20 percent of the time. That leads me to believe he knows he just doesn't have the juice he once did. There's also the fact that no matter what he's throwing batters are reaching base. Were you aware that Justin Verlander has a WHIP of 1.32 over his last 40 starts? That's worse than the league average of 1.30 in that time.
I spoke about my concerns before the season started in his Player Profile.
In this instance it might be wise to investigate his value on the trade market. After all he is Justin Verlander and his ERA is 2.48.
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