For the past few years, I have been using the results of a couple of elegant studies, summarized here, in an effort to get a jump of players that may sustain a hot or cold start based on the principle of stabilization of contact rate. The rate at which a player makes contact (or strikes out if you look at it from the other direction) is the first skill to essentially be a harbinger of things to come. It's not foolproof and the extent of the influence cannot be quantified, but it nudges us in the right direction. The results I use suggest after 60 plate appearances, the trend of a player's strikeout rate has a 50/50 chance of continuing. In other words, if a player is whiffing more than normal after 60 trips to the dish, there's a 50/50 chance he maintains an elevated strikeout rate. Conversely, if after 60 appearances his strikeouts are down, there's a 50/50 chance they remain down all season.

Prior to this 60 plate appearance threshold, the assumption is the player would return to his usual level. Again, there's no way to quantify exactly where the strikeout rate will settle, only that the trend has a 50 percent chance of continuing.

Data will be presented in two postings. First the players that are fanning at a LOWER rate than their 3-year average will be presented. The data set includes all players that had a minimum of 1000 plate appearances from 2012-2014 and at least 90 this season. Exceeding the minimum 60 by 50 percent tips the scales greater than 50/50 the trend will continue.

The data will be presented as follows:

Player (2015 plate appearances, 2015 strikeout rate, 2012-2014 strikeout rate, percent improvement). All players with at least 15 percent improvement are included.

An improved contact rate obviously portends to a better batting average, but everything else comes along for the ride. Runs and RBI are the most apparent but getting on base more means more potential stolen base opportunities and may even mean an extra homer or two for power hitters.


Andrelton Simmons (PA 117, 2015 4.3%, 3-year 9.2%, +53%)
Daniel Murphy (PA 108, 2015 6.5%, 3-year 13.1%, +50%)
Mike Moustakas (PA 127, 2015 8.7%, 3-year 16.7%, +48%)
Justin Morneau (PA 94, 2015 8.5%, 3-year 15.1%, +44%)
Brett Gardner (PA 101, 2015 11.9%, 3-year 20.3%, +41%)
Ike Davis (PA 105, 2015 13.3%, 3-year 22.4%, +41%)
Nolan Arenado (PA 101, 2015 7.9%, 3-year 12.8%, +38%)
Lonnie Chisenhall (PA 98, 2015 11.2%, 3-year 17.8%, +37%)
Mark Trumbo (PA 92, 2015 16.3%, 3-year 25.7%, +37%)
Kyle Seager (PA 110, 2015 10.9%, 3-year 17.2%, +37%)
Melky Cabrera (PA 108, 2015 7.4%, 3-year 11.6%, +36%)
Mike Napoli (PA 102, 2015 18.6%, 3-year 29.1%, +36%)

There's some very interesting names in this group, starting at the top. DFS players know Simmons has been hitting second lately. This is great for DFS but even better for traditional fantasy. If his owner is looking to sell high on Simmons, get in on that action, The increase in runs and RBI are a direct result of getting on base more, which should continue.

Are you waiting for the other show to drop for Moustakas? This data says the wait could be a very long one. Moustakas has also seen some time in the two-hole and the above says it's warranted.

Like we needed another reason to further our man-crush on Arenado. Not only is the power developing, he's making significantly better contact. Kid, just stay healthy.

Mark Trumbo was dangerous when he was whiffing nearly one-quarter of the time. With a drop into the teens, he's a great target if you need pop and he could be available.

Seager's batting average is low due to an unlucky BABIP. Assuming that normalizes, his improved contact will result in an average 10-15 points hire than expected. Now is the time to buy, before the correction kicks in.


Logan Forsythe (PA 109, 2015 12.8%, 3-year 18.8%, +32%)
Mark Teixeira (PA 116, 2015 12.9%, 3-year 18.7%, +31%)
Adam Jones (PA 108, 2015 13%, 3-year 18.8%, +31%)
Anthony Rizzo (PA 120, 2015 12.5%, 3-year 17.9%, +30%)
Derek Norris (PA 103, 2015 15.5%, 3-year 22%, +30%)
Logan Morrison (PA 104, 2015 11.5%, 3-year 16.3%, +29%)
DJ LeMahieu (PA 94, 2015 11.7%, 3-year 16.5%, +29%)
Jon Jay (PA 109, 2015 11%, 3-year 15.4%, +29%)
Dee Gordon (PA 124, 2015 12.1%, 3-year 16.9%, +28%)
Brandon Phillips (PA 106, 2015 10.4%, 3-year 13.9%, +25%)
Jason Kipnis (PA 124, 2015 13.7%, 3-year 18.3%, +25%)
Curtis Granderson (PA 111, 2015 18.9%, 3-year 25.1%, +25%)

For years, Adam Jones has spat in the face of those proclaiming there's no way he can sustain his elevated rate of production with such poor plate patience. Well, making better contact certainly helps mitigate the lack of walks.

It's really good to see a player of Rizzo's age on this list. This is the point in his career he's supposed to be honing his skills. Remember this when we review the set of players that are fanning more than usual as some of the names will be a yellow flag for perceived players on the rise.

Norris has been another DFS darling, hitting in the juicy two-hole in the suddenly productive San Diego Padre lineup. With the state of catching, it's hard to imagine he'll be available in a deal, but don't worry about going to the well in DFS, there's still plenty left to drain.


Lucas Duda (PA 116, 2015 19%, 3-year 24.4%, +22%)
Hanley Ramirez (PA 103, 2015 13.6%, 3-year 17.4%, +22%)
Matt Kemp (PA 125, 2015 19.2%, 3-year 23.8%, +19%)
Prince Fielder (PA 122, 2015 11.5%, 3-year 14%, +18%)
Adrian Beltre (PA 122, 2015 9.8%, 3-year 11.8%, +17%)
Evan Longoria (PA 115, 2015 17.4%, 3-year 20.7%, +16%)
Buster Posey (PA 110, 2015 10.9%, 3-year 12.9%, +16%)
Yonder Alonso (PA 100, 2015 12%, 3-year 14.2%, +15%)
Stephen Drew (PA 98, 2015 20.4%, 3-year 24.1%, +15%)
Andrew McCutchen (PA 116, 2015 14.7%, 3-year 17.3%, +15%)
Lorenzo Cain (PA 111, 2015 18%, 3-year 21.1%, +15%)

There's a lot of power hitters on this list which, as suggested, will dovetail into an extra dinger or two along with a bunch more runs and RBI.

Every name on this page has a better than 50 percent chance to exceed his initial expectations. Unless you get a sweetheart of a deal, holding and not trading is the suggestion. This may seem obvious, but the opposite advice won't seem so logical when we peruse the list of those with more punch outs than normal.

On the flip side, look to acquire as many players on this page as possible and don't worry about them in DFS. Chances are they're worth the price.