MLB Streaks & Trends: June 7
Joe Gallina goes around the league, tracking the notable streaks and current trends affecting most fantasy baseball leagues.
While it’s too early in the baseball season for you to divert all of your attention away from your season long leagues and jump all into the DFS pool for some of you, it may be getting late a little earlier than expected. Let’s check out some trends that should help you current and future DFS players as you set your daily lineups in the upcoming week.
Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage is looked upon as a guru but heading into Thursday night’s action his team’s overall ERA was the highest in baseball over the past month (6.39).
The Pirates’ starting rotation has been struggling with Jameson Taillon on the IL and Joe Musgrove and Chris Archer slumping. Musgrove had a 1.54 ERA on April 27th. Since then, he’s pitched to a 7.11 ERA. He’s had trouble getting left-handed batters out. They are hitting .284 against him. Stack opposing batters against him when he pitches at home where he has a 5.71 ERA.
Before Thursday’s start in which he gave up one run in six innings to the Braves, Archer had pitched to an 8.39 ERA in his previous five starts. He’s been giving up the long ball at the highest rate of his career.
The Mariners were right behind the Pirates with the second highest team ERA over the past month (6.38). Mariners starter Marco Gonzales has been a good target in DFS as of late. He has a 9.58 ERA in his past four starts and has been brutal at home, with a 6.53 ERA in eight T-Mobile Park starts.
Heading into Thursday’s slate, the Orioles had given up the most home runs in baseball (123), followed closely behind by the Mariners (110). The Phillies and Angels were tied for third with 99 home runs given up.
Speaking of the Angels, their home park has the third highest rate of home runs hit so far. Toronto’s Rogers Centre is first followed by Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
White Sox starter Reynaldo López has the highest rate of home runs yielded in baseball (2.21). Yankees starter J.A. Happ (2.13), Mariners starter Mike Leake (1.98) and Orioles starter Dylan Bundy (1.97) have been susceptible to the long ball as well.
Let’s turn our attention to two hitters who are known for hitting the long ball, but have been slumping and trending in the wrong direction. Michael Chavis was a top power hitting Red Sox prospect who made his debut on April 20th. By May 20th, 26 games into his big league career, he had a .296 BA with nine home runs. Since then he’s batted .182 with just one home run in his last 12 games. The fact that he’s been having trouble catching up to fastballs (.200 BAA) is a bit concerning. As of Thursday he had an overall .255 batting average but according to Statcast, his expected batting average was .231. He’s also been striking out at an alarmingly high rate (43.1) over the past two weeks. Chavis will likely enjoy a long, successful big league career and we’re probably looking at a temporary bump in the road. For now, be aware that he’s struggling and consider sitting him against left-handed pitching (.200 BAA) or when he plays on the road (.211 BAA) if you can.
Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk has started 40 games in centerfield this season. However, the Blue Jays announced that Teoscar Hernández will be their primary centerfielder moving forward. Grichuk was the Blue Jays DH Thursday night and responded by getting two hits, but in his prior 16 games he had five home runs, but just seven RBI. Even worse, he had a .164 BA. The Blue Jays signed Grichuk to a five year extension and obviously consider him a part of their future, but it’s a situation that should be monitored.
Lastly, let’s take a look at two White Sox players who struggled for most of last season, but are flourishing in 2019. What’s different in their approach?
Third baseman Yoán Moncada had been a top prospect, but entering the 2019 season had a .234 BA in 796 ABs. He also led the league with 217 strikeouts last season. So far this he’s posted a .282/.340/.504 triple slash and although he’s swinging at more pitches outside the strike zone, he’s actually lowered his strikeout rate by just under five percent. As per ESPN, Moncada went down looking on 85 of those 217 strikeouts last season and his new found aggressiveness at the plate may help him in that regard. He’s been able to handle the slider much better. Last season his BAA against the pitch was .165. This season it’s .333. His average exit velocity and Brls/PA% have both significantly increased since last season. Can we expect Moncada to continue to perform at a high level? According to Statcast his expected batting average is right in line with his current batting average. There will probably still be a few ups and downs that fantasy players owning shares in Moncada will have to face, but based on his underlying skillset, this breakout was long overdue.
Tim Anderson is another White Sox player who is enjoying a full blown breakout season. Anderson has been a source of speed and moderate power in the past, but other than in his inaugural season, there have always been issues with his batting average. With his current .322/.353/.493 triple slash compared to his .240./281/.406 mark last season, batting average has no longer been a concern. Statcast has his expected batting average at .294 almost 30 points below his current mark, but we aren’t really surprised that we’re expected to see a bit of regression. He’s made many of the same strides as Moncada. He’s cut his strikeout rate by a little more than five percent. His exit velocity, average distance on the balls that he hits and his Brls/PA% are also significantly higher than last season. Like Moncada, he’s hitting the slider a lot better this season as well (.351 BAA this season, .175 BAA last season). As mentioned earlier, we should expect to see a bit of regression when it comes to Anderson’s batting average before the season is over, but it shouldn’t be too extreme. If he maintains it at a respectable level he could end up being a legitimate five-tool hitter for years to come.