Contact Rate Risers and Fallers - Week 6

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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 6 of the fantasy baseball season.

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Contact Rate Risers and Fallers - Premium Tool

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Risers

Mark Trumbo (OF, BAL) - 89% contact rate last seven days

Trumbo crushed his third homer of the season Monday night, which is a disappointing early return from last year's AL HR champ. We know he'll swing and miss plenty, so contact rate may not seem like the most important stat for a slugger. If he's seeing the ball better, however, there could be more balls flying over the fence. He's jumped by 16 points in the last seven days, mainly due to the fact he's only struck out three times in that span.

Jason Kipnis (2B, CLE) - 91% contact rate last seven days

The results haven't shown it, but Kipnis may be coming around. You'd think a 91% contact rate would result in higher than .182 at the dish, but he's gone hitless in four of the last six games. Keep in mind that Kipnis missed part of spring training and most of April due to a rotator cuff issue, so there's some rust to shake off. There's still a big buy-low window here for a perennial top-10 second baseman who hit 23 HR and stole 15 bases last season.

Carlos Correa (SS, HOU) - 92% contact rate last seven days

Contact hasn't really been the issue for Correa this season. His 20.3% K% and .314 BABIP are almost identical to his career averages, while his 80% contact rate is fine. He's seeing the ball better as the Astros are starting to roll offensively, but without the power, it won't satiate fantasy owners who spent a late first-round or early second-round pick on the young stud. He's currently down to a .149 ISO, but there's no reason to think he won't pick up the pace soon enough.

Edwin Encarnacion (1B, CLE) - 80% contact rate last seven days

While his recent 80% contact rate is just league-average, this is great news for EE owners; it represents an 11% hike from his season average. A variety of factors have been attributed to Encarnacion's struggles, from age to ballpark to the stress of a big free agency contract. All of these may have some weight, as he is now 34 years old and his career .711 OPS at Progressive Field is 137 points below his career average, but the Big E has got to come around eventually. His average keeps climbing, so it's not a big stretch to think the power will follow soon.

 

Contact Rate Fallers

Joey Gallo (3B, TEX) - 42% contact rate last seven days

The biggest loser in terms of contact rate this week (-21%) just turned things around in a big way on Tuesday. Gallo homered and drove in three runs as part of a 2-for-4 afternoon. Of course, that brings his season average to .205. Gallo is a classic three-true-outcomes hitter and you're simply going to have to sacrifice average for power when playing him. It goes to show that you never know when a power hitter will break out, regardless of how many swings and misses he's producing.

Rougned Odor (2B, TEX) - 68% contact rate last seven days

He's got nowhere to go but up, right? If you look at Odor's power numbers in isolation, you won't be disappointed. Then there's his slash line of .185/.232/.369 after 130 at-bats. Although he wasn't considered a threat to be a .300 hitter, Odor had actually improved his average in each of his three seasons, up to .271 last year. Maybe the weight of his new contract is getting to him, but Odor has been hurting fantasy teams with his horrible average and it isn't turning around yet. His track record, talent, and .191 BABIP make him an ideal buy-low candidate.

Yasmany Tomas (OF, ARI) - 63% contact rate last seven days

Like Gallo, Tomas is generating a lot of wind speed with all the whiffs he's producing lately. Tomas has struck out six times in the last 13 plate appearances and is hitting a cool .100 (frigid, actually) in the last week. He started to flex his power in mid-April and had been reaching base at a fairly good rate, but with just one homer in the last two weeks. Surprisingly, Tomas is hitting .189 against LHP this year, compared to .306 vs RHP. If this reverse split continues, it might be best to play him on a matchup basis, especially at home where he is hitting 125 points higher.

Dansby Swanson (SS, ATL) - 64% contact rate last seven days

Is it possible that the preseason favorite for NL Rookie of the Year could be demoted? Swanson doesn't have the experience or the contract to get the benefit of the doubt like Odor, so it wouldn't be a complete shock. While Swanson didn't experience a huge decrease in contact rate this week (-8%), consider that his starting point was 72%. If he were contributing in the power or speed categories, his .151 average might be excusable, but two homers and one steal aren't cutting it. It's too early to cut him in deeper leagues, but the leash is getting shorter by the day. Committing his fifth error of the season on Tuesday doesn't help matters.

 

More Risers and Fallers