Contact Rate Risers and Fallers - Week 7

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Welcome back, RotoBallers! We are now in the midst of the MLB season, so it's a good time 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 choices or start/sit decisions for fantasy baseball managers.

Each week we will look at a few players on each side of the coin and compare their previous week's contact rate with their actual performance over the course of the 2017 season. We do this because we care about you, the fantasy player.

Here are some of the top contact rate risers and fallers for Week 7 of the fantasy baseball season. For a complete list, check out our premium tool, as explained below.

Editor's note: Purchase an NFL Premium Pass (including Draft Kit + DFS), and get MLB Premium for free! Whoa. Check out our NFL and MLB Premium tools, and crush your leagues. Sign Up Now!

 

Contact Rate Risers and Fallers - Premium Tool

Identifying top contact rate risers and fallers for each week can help you spot the best pickups before your competition. RotoBaller's Premium Contact Rate Risers and Fallers tool has you covered every day. Here's a glimpse at one of our advanced tools:

This type of data is available as part of our Premium MLB Subscription. Don't settle for basic stats and surface-level advice from other sites. RotoBaller brings you advanced statistics and professional analysis that you need to win your fantasy leagues and DFS games, because we're ballers just like you. We are your secret weapon!

 

Contact Rate Risers

Justin Bour (1B, MIA) - 90% contact rate last seven days (+19%)

If Bour's name looks familiar in this space, it should. Just two weeks ago, he shows signs of breaking out with a huge six-RBI game and was mentioned as a contact riser, as well as a corner infield waiver wire pickup. Bour has continued to improve to the point he is our biggest riser of the week. What's changed? He's now hitting better against lefties (.273) than righties (.252), although only one of his eight homers have come against left-handers. Bour is on fire in May, so don't hesitate to use him as a streaming option while he's hot. He is available in 88% of Yahoo leagues.

Joc Pederson (OF, LAD) - 91% contact rate last seven days (+14%)

Pederson is another left-handed slugger who is making much better contact, although with far worse results. He is cutting down on the strikeouts, but is only hitting .192 in the past week. He does hit lefties worse than righties, but only by 34 points this season. He is performing far worse in terms of his home/road splits, with a .184 average at home oddly enough. This is where I remind you that none of that matters if he doesn't start going deep really soon, because Pederson hasn't homered since Opening Day. Without power stats, it doesn't really matter how much contact he is or isn't making when it's all basically long flyouts.

Ian Desmond (OF, COL) - 83% contact rate last seven days (+13%)

It's a bummer that Desmond still hasn't claimed 1B eligibility in Yahoo leagues and might not ever see the position if Mark Reynolds keep producing. Still, at least he's coming around with the bat now that he has gotten to shake off some rust. A rise in contact rate may be deceiving since he barely has two weeks of at-bats under his belt, but it's definitely worth noting that he's hitting .360 in the past week. Desmond hasn't taken full advantage of the home cookin' at Coors Field yet, but he has hit safely in six of the last seven games with a pair of doubles, two RBI and a steal. Now that the preseason hype has died down on this free agent acquisition, it could be time to invest cheaply.

Jonathan Lucroy (C/1B, TEX) - 100% contact rate last seven days (+8%)

You'll find Lucroy's name at the bottom of this week's risers list because his eight-point jump wasn't as high as several others. The number 100 does jump off the page, however, as Lucroy seems to finally have found his All-Star form. It's been a week since Lucroy struck out and he's only done so once in the last 13 games. He's now hitting .361 in the month of May. The power hasn't come around quite yet, mainly because he's at a career high 53.8% ground-ball rate, but that should normalize over time. As the weather heats up in Texas (it already has, trust me), so will Lucroy. Now might be the time to buy-low before he starts leaving the yard at a higher rate too.

 

Contact Rate Fallers

Gary Sanchez (C, NYY) - 53% contact rate last seven days (-19%)

The return of El Santino was cause for excitement, especially when he drove in five runs in his first week back from injury. Nine strikeouts in his last four games show a return to youthful form, however, and his .400 slugging percentage and .140 ISO are not what fantasy owners were looking for. There could be hope, as he homered on Tuesday. Now's the time when Sanchez owners will have their faith truly tested. Are we getting last year's Sanchez back, or more of this year's inconsistency and injury? Resist selling before you get a bigger sample size.

Mitch Moreland (1B, BOS) - 62% contact rate last seven days (-9%)

A hot start has now turned into a cold stretch. Moreland may still help owners in OBP leagues due to his strong 13.6% BB% and he is slightly more useful in points league thanks to 15 doubles. He's stuck at two homers, however, and things could get worse since his .333 BABIP is 44 points above his career average. There could be a 20-HR looming still, but those who saw his early April stats as a harbinger of things to come may be changing their tune.

Andrew McCutchen (OF, PIT) - 71% contact rate last seven days (-8%)

McCutchen was and is still one of the most debated players in fantasy baseball. Surely all his skills haven't eroded, but he isn't helping his case with a declining contact rate that is below league average at 78.6%. To be fair, he's never had a high overall contact rate and his overall plate discipline doesn't look much different than his MVP seasons. It's the lack of hard contact and career-low 14.5% line drive rate that is leading to less productivity among the contact he does make. Cutch will still deliver 20-25 HR and his third stolen base the other day even provides hope for some speed value, but the averages likely aren't coming back.

Starlin Castro (2B, NYY)73% contact rate last seven days (-8%)

Castro's historical second-half woes have already been documented by myself two weeks ago and fellow RotoBaller @hayudi18 even earlier. It may be premature to say he's on the verge of collapse but there are signs he's slowing down. Castro is hitting .227 with six strikeouts and no walks in the past week, although he does have a homer and four RBI. If you've been riding him this far, you may want to wait a bit longer but his trade value likely won't get any higher than it was a week ago.

 

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