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Welcome back, RotoBallers! We now have a decent enough sample size in the early MLB season to look at some key offensive trends. Among those trends we will follow each week is contact rate. A sudden increase or decrease in contact rate could signal the beginning of an extended hot or cold streak, leading to important waiver wire decisions for fantasy baseball managers.

Each week we will look at a few players on each side and compare their previous week's contact rate with their actual performance. We do this because we care about you, the fantasy player. Here are contact rate risers and fallers for Week 5 of the fantasy baseball season.

Top contact rate risers and fallers for each week can be found using RotoBaller's exclusive tool, which is part of our Premium MLB package.

Editor's Note: Get a full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off today. Ten exclusive In-Season Lineup tools and over 200 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!


Contact Rate Risers

Byron Buxton (OF, MIN) - 91% Contact Rate - last seven days

It's happening. It's finally happening. Buxton is not just making more contact, he's at a 91% clip over the last week and is hitting .364. Of course, that brought his season average UP to .147 with no homers and one RBI after a month of action. May could be a whole different story. He drew five walks and struck out just once last week and then Buxton smacked his first homer on Tuesday. This is a classic case where tracking contact rate and plate discipline could lead to a great buy-low opportunity. If he's out there on your waiver wire, grab him immediately. If you have a disgruntled Buxton owner who is still a non-believer, do what it takes to acquire him now.

Justin Bour (1B, MIA) - 83% Contact Rate - last seven days

Justin Bour's breakout didn't come with any subtlety. He racked up four hits, including a homer, double, two singles and six RBI altogether on Sunday. Bour's .226 season average is still low, but he's been never been a high contact hitter (75.4% career contact rate). Bour is the classic slugger at first base, who will struggle against lefties but bash righties. He finished April with 15 RBI, so the run production has still been there. He's another good waiver add or buy-low candidate in deep leagues.

Jose Bautista (OF, TOR) - 81% Contact Rate - last seven days

The Blue Jays offense has been a huge mess and Bautista has been asked to shoulder the load without the help of Josh Donaldson or Edwin Encarnacion. Bautista's pathetic .191 batting average has climbed thanks to a .375 BA in the last seven days. His .096 ISO is still unacceptable, but there are some signs that the power could come back. Bautista is currently at a career low 0.53 GB/FB and his 6.3% HR/FB rate is 10 points below his career mark. He's getting the ball in the air with less results, mainly because his pull rate has lowered. Chances are that things will equal out as long as he keeps making solid contact as he's started to do recently.

Ben Zobrist (2B, CHC) - 98% Contact Rate - last seven days

One of the most confusing players to own this season has been Ben Zobrist. He scored 94 runs last year for the world champs and finished with the second-best OBP of his career. So far, he's suffered a .237 BABIP despite holding an above average 86% contact rate. In the last week, he's making contact 98% of the time, but it's resulted in a .227 BA in that time. One would think his fortunes would turn around eventually, but at age 36 he still carries a bit of risk.


Contact Rate Fallers

Brandon Belt (1B, SF) - 60% Contact Rate - last seven days

After a big first week, Belt truthers were calling for a 30-HR season. He's only homered once since April 8, but most of us know that's not his game. Belt traditionally offers a strong OBP with 15-20 HR ability and 80 RBI potential. However, Belt has just one multi-hit game in the last 10 days and even wore the Golden Sombrero on Sunday versus the Padres. If he isn't making contact at a high rate, there isn't enough value in other areas to compensate for it. Belt is a fringe 1B option in mixed leagues.

Mookie Betts (OF, BOS) - 74% Contact Rate - last seven days

This bit of information won't affect anybody in rotisserie leagues because you're not sitting Betts even if his contact rate was zero over the past week. Betts is simply slumping, with a .190 average in the past week, one run scored and no other counting stats to speak of. If anything, it might be a good time to fade him in DFS play. A contentious series against Baltimore could wake him up, but wait until he snaps out of it before spending a large chunk of your budget on an outfielder.

Ryon Healy (3B, OAK) - 64% Contact Rate - last seven days

Healy was already off to a slow start, but it's only getting worse. Healy is slashing .190/.190/.238 in the past week with five K and no walks. Healy is striking out 26.5% of the time while maintaining last year's poor 4% walk rate. His .308 BABIP shows that his quality of contact isn't the problem, it's the amount that he is (or isn't) making. Healy has never really gotten going this season, leaving many to wonder if he's a sleeper that won't wake up.

Carlos Beltran (OF, HOU) - 61% Contact Rate - last seven days

One of the biggest contact fallers of the week, Beltran's 74.1% contact rate would be the lowest of his career. Is this the year the 40-year old falls completely off the fantasy radar? His .250 average is acceptable if he were providing power in exchange, but he's only homered twice and driven in eight runs. Three walks in 101 plate appearances and a career-high 25% K% are also ominous signs. It could just be a slow start, but tread carefully with this veteran - the Astros have plenty of young talent in the minors ready to take his place if he keeps sliding downward.


More Risers and Fallers