Contact Rate Risers and Fallers - Week 19

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Welcome back, RotoBallers! 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 19 of the fantasy baseball season.

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Contact Rate Risers

Brad Miller (1B/2B/SS/OF, TB) 87% contact rate last seven days (+13%)

This year has been a bust for Miller, who seemed to have a clear path to an everyday job when Logan Forsythe was dealt to L.A. Eligibility at nearly every position and a 30-HR season in his Tampa debut fooled many into drafting him too early. That 20.4% HR/FB has predictably dropped and injuries stopped him from ever getting into a groove. While he's turned in a positive 5:2 BB:K in August, he's only turned in three hits in 18 at-bats and dropped down to a .199 average on the season.

Lorenzo Cain (OF, KC) 95% contact rate last seven days (+13%)

In terms of contact, Cain is having one of his most effective seasons, especially when it comes to contact within the zone (91.1% Z-Contact%). His 0.54 BB:K is at an all-time high, even if his .283 batting average sits a tad below his career mark. The most important number for Cain is 108 - the number of games he's played, surpassing last year's total already. When healthy, he has proven he can consistently provide a high average, 20+ steals and a fair run total, which is exactly what he's doing.

Jacoby Ellsbury (OF, NYY) 96% contact rate last seven days (+13%)

He almost fooled us into thinking it might be a renaissance year after a hot April. Things quickly turned sour, however. Ellsbury hasn't homered since May 7 and he's hitting .188 since June broke with a lengthy DL stint in between. Now that Aaron Hicks is back, even the promise of an occasional stolen base isn't enough to make Ellsbury fantasy relevant.

Jarrod Dyson (OF, SEA) 97% contact rate last seven days (+11%)

Speaking of steals, the reason to own Dyson lies in his speed alone. It helps if he can reach base at a decent rate. Dyson is batting .350 in five August games and has already stolen as many bases (four) as he did all of July. They're all singles, which limits his value in points leagues, but he figures to be a great head-to-head streamer while he's hot.

 

Contact Rate Fallers

Joc Pederson (OF, LAD) 57% contact rate last seven days (-20%)

It's been 21 at-bats and 11 days since Pederson heard the sweet crack of the lumber striking the ball. Well, he's probably fouled a couple off here and there, but the bottom line is that Pederson has a .000 average going since July 29. He's actually cut down on the strikeouts a bit (for him) with five in the last two weeks, which jives with a reduced 21.6% K% on the season. This increase in plate discipline and even contact rate hasn't come with better results. A .258 BABIP is partially to blame, but he's never going to be a high average hitter. He won't make up for it with power if he keeps hitting the ball on the ground half the time either. He isn't worth owning in mixed leagues this season.

Justin Smoak (1B, TOR) 67% contact rate last seven days (-20%)

Smoak has already smashed his career highs long ago, so it's just a matter of finishing strong to prove he can sustain it. A 20-point drop in contact rate may raise some red flags as to a possible crash, but he's still batting .273 in August and has kept his power up. His strikeout rate did jump up in July, but unless you're in a league that counts it as a separate category, there's nothing to worry about here.

Todd Frazier (1B/3B, NYY) 60% contact rate last seven days (-17%)

We've got a fair enough sample size to judge Frazier's move from pale hose to pinstripes now and it isn't too inspiring. A 25.8% K% would be the worst of his career, his contact rate has dropped to 70% and he's not benefiting from Yankee Stadium, hitting two homers in 17 games. His three-year decline in batting average is all but cemented now, as his .206 season average has canceled out any semblance of power he has provided. At this point, if you still haven't dropped him, there's no need to wait any longer.

Robinson Chirinos (C, TEX) 63% contact rate last seven days (-9%)

When the Rangers finally rid themselves of the albatross that was Jonathan Lucroy, it could have been seen as a vote of confidence for Chirinos. He's done little to reward the club, hitting .167 in the past week. After a hot start batting .302 in April, his average has declined each month, bottoming out at .132 in July with no home runs and one RBI in 38 at-bats. He's got a golden opportunity to show the club he deserves a new contract at the end of the year, but that won't happen if he keeps missing pitches.

 

More Risers and Fallers