Move over Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon, there is another speedster at the show who has made quite an impact, Jose Altuve. What a week Altuve had last week. He had 10 SB to bring his total for the season to 37. That total has already surpassed his total last year and he does not appear to be slowing down any time soon. I’d tell you to buy him, but any smart owner will not let him go for anything within reason.
This week I’m buying not one, but two Nationals (neither of whom you might expect), another catcher, and probably the most injury prone player I’ve ever seen. Hopefully these hitters can be traded for at a reasonable or below value price, and maybe even perform as sleepers for your team based on what you give up to get them.
It’s a real bummer that the US got knocked out of the World Cup, but now we can get back to the business of baseball, America’s favorite pastime (don’t be fooled by television ratings).
Fantasy Baseball Hitters To Buy
When I drafted Carlos Gonzalez, I knew he was injury prone. I knew it was a risky pick. A tumor in his finger is not what I had imagined would take him out of commission for a month. That is a hard pill to swallow, but the good news is that he is taking batting practice soon and should make his return soon after.
As for his season pre-tumor, his BABIP was only .292, which sounds pretty high, but his career average BABIP is .346. That dropped his AVG to only .255. When his BABIP increases, so will his AVG. I expect CarGo to make a quick rebound when he gets back and puts up a CarGo-like second half of the season.
Anthony Rendon – 2B / 3B – Nationals
The first of my two Nationals is Anthony Rendon. Rendon has raised his AVG this year to .281 from last year’s .265, while his BABIP has remained virtually the same (.306 verse .307). He has improved his AVG by destroying the ball. His FB% has increased from 7.2% last year to 10.9%. With a nice HR/FB percentage of 10.9%, it’s no wonder how he hit 6 HR and 21 RBI with a .320 AVG in June.
Salvador Perez is another guy who had a huge June: 5 HR, 18 R, 16 RBI, and a .337 AVG. Perez has increased his HR/FB percentage to 12.0 from his career average 10/6, which reflects how his ISO this year is 13 points higher than his career average.
Perez has also benefited by showing better plate discipline, .53 BB/K ratio compared to his career average of .40. His OBP is at a two year high, and only behind his .361 OBP he put up in 39 games in his rookie year.
Adam LaRoche – 1B - Nationals
My second National, Adam LaRoche, has the signs of a slump on the way, but when you really analyze those advanced statistics, you’ll find that he is actually having a career year .
His .341 BABIP monster’s over his .307 career average, but that makes sense when you see that his O-Swing % (percentage of swings at balls outside of the strike zone) has decreased to 21.0% this year from his career average of 24.2. Additionally, his Z-Contact% (percentage of times the hitter makes contact with balls inside the strike zone) has risen to 90.7% from his career average of 86.9%.
His BB/K ratio increase to .88 from his career .46 and his career high .412 OBP defend the O-Swing% and Z-Contact% stats. Don’t fear decline, expect LaRoche to continue to produce near the .300 AVG mark.
Fantasy Baseball Hitters To Sell
I don’t expect any hitter, not just Josh Hamilton, to hit near the .315 AVG mark while striking out in 28.9% of AB. He has been getting walked more, which has kept his BB/K ratio consistent with career numbers, but his .446 BABIP will most certainly come crashing back to earth.
He has shown a tendency to swing at less strikes and at more balls compared to his career numbers by an increase in O-Swing% and decrease in Z-Swing% (40.2% compared to 38.7% and 71.5% compared to 80.9%, respectively).
Even with the BABIP as high as it is, Hamilton has shown a 78-point decrease in ISO from his career average, which is why he only has four HR in 149 plate appearances this year.
It would behoove every Jean Segura owner to find the owners in their league that are desperate for SB, and unload him. Hopefully, their desperation will outweigh his 63 wRC+ (sixth worst in MLB for qualified hitters). Segura’s .268 BABIP is low compared to his career average .305, but even lower for a speedy SS. As much as it benefits most speedsters, his 59.4% GB% is not getting the job done in Milwaukee.
He hasn’t come close to living up to his average draft position of 72.6 (in ESPN leagues). The good news is that he still does have 14 SB, which will catch the eye of those owners. Maybe that certain owner who has another struggling SS (Everth Cabrera) heading to the DL?