Contact Rate Risers and Fallers - Week 17

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Welcome back, RotoBallers! The trade deadline is almost here and rosters are being shaken up, both in fantasy and reality. Obviously, batting average is just one of many statistics fantasy owners must consider, but contact rate can also be telling of all-around success at the plate. A sudden increase or decrease in contact rate could signal the beginning of an extended hot or cold streak, leading to important waiver wire choices or start/sit decisions for fantasy baseball managers.

Each week we will look at a few players who are rising and falling in terms of contact and compare their previous week's contact rate with their season-long performance.

Here are some of the top contact rate risers and fallers for Week 17 of the fantasy baseball season.

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Contact Rate Risers

Travis d'Arnaud (C, NYM) 100% contact rate last seven days (+20%)

It hasn't been the most notable week for d'Arnaud, but eight hits in the last five games is something. At this point, just staying healthy for an extended period is a victory for d'Arnaud. He's hitting a bit better in July at .275, but his season average still sits at .240 and there is very little power to compensate for it. Even in two-catcher leagues, you're better off looking elsewhere for value because it doesn't seem as if d'Arnaud will ever deliver it.

Randal Grichuk (OF, STL) 88% contact rate last seven days (+14%)

We've seen this story before. Grichuk did the same thing last year when he struggled mightily in June, got sent down for a spell, and then returned with a vengeance. Before Tuesday, Grichuk had homered in four straight games and six of the last eight. He's cutting down his enormous 30.4% K%, which is a very good sign, but the batting average isn't necessarily benefiting. Grichuk is a free swinger by nature, so even during his good spells it will mean a short-term boost in power, but not in average. Beware an impending slump in the next couple of weeks.

Kris Bryant (3B/OF, CHC) 90% contact rate last seven days (+11%)

Here's the one we've all been waiting for. Bryant's first-half numbers in the Triple Crown categories were unsatisfactory (.269/18/38) and definitely not befitting an MVP. He's heating up in July, batting .349 with a 10:8 BB:K. Overall, he's cut down on his strikeouts by a couple points and raised his walk rate by five points over last year, so it stands to reason that he could keep improving on his average as well. Whether the RBI numbers will jump up depends more on his teammates than Bryant himself.

Matt Carpenter (1B/2B/3B, STL) 94% contact rate last seven days (+11%)

It's been a frustrating year for Carpenter and the Cardinals. The man that some consider one of the best overall players in the game is batting just .248 on the season. He's seeing the ball much better since the All-Star game, which he wasn't a part of this year, so his .273 BABIP could keep rising. Unfortunately, a quadriceps injury crept up earlier this week, threatening to halt his progress. He's almost universally owned and doesn't have great trade value at the moment, so the best you can do is hold on and hope for the best if you have him on your roster.

 

Contact Rate Fallers

Logan Forsythe (2B/3B, LAD) 62% contact rate last seven days (-15%)

Forsythe caught fire for a bit with back-to-back four-hit games at the end of June, but he's lost that momentum. He's striking out a career-high 26.8% of the time in his first season with the Dodgers and is hitting a paltry .239. Only a high walk rate is keeping his .362 OBP at a fair level, but he's doing nothing to help fantasy owners in traditional five-category leagues. There are better options on the waiver wire than Forsythe, who appears to be a bust for 2017.

Kole Calhoun (OF, LAA) 61% contact rate last seven days (-14%)

Of course, Calhoun rips a homer and drives in three runs on Tuesday, just after this sample was taken. He still registered just one hit and was batting a miserable .071 in the previous week. Calhoun has only gone two games in July without at least one strikeout and has a below-average 75% contact rate on the year. He's also making less hard contact and hitting fewer fly balls, leading to subpar power numbers for him. It's unclear why he's taken a step back in his sixth MLB season, but it doesn't appear things are turning around just yet.

Corey Dickerson (OF, TB) 60% contact rate last seven days (-14%)

Perhaps his .365 BABIP is unsustainable or maybe Dickerson was just due for a slump. He was hot throughout the first half, hitting .312 and scoring 60 runs. Dickerson isn't the only Ray slumping these days (looking at you, LoMo), but it is too early to write him off as a first-half wonder. 2016 was the outlier in his career, as Dickerson hit over .300 in the previous two full seasons. Don't sell high here in fear of a collapse.

Nomar Mazara (OF, TEX) 64% contact rate last seven days (-11%)

It's safe to say Mazara snapped a very huge slump on Tuesday night. He hadn't logged a single hit in over 30 at-bats until going 3-for-5 against the Marlins. You probably aren't starting Mazara these days anyway, but if you have him stashed on your bench you could assume that the worst is over and take a chance on him if he picks up more base hits throughout this week.

 

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