Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Sleeper Hitters Who Could See a Big Second Half


Erik Daniel Drost on Flickr - Originally posted to Flickr as "Nick Swisher"

These Hitters Love To Lay Down The Wood

This is the third in a series of articles in which we will evaluate potential fantasy baseball sleepers by looking at deeper statistics and advanced sabermetrics. Today we are going to try and project four hitters that should see increased production in batting average, and subsequently, in runs, RBIs and OBP for the remainder of the season.  The guys that are household names may be easier to buy low from frustrated fantasy owners while the guys that are more obscure may be available to pick up off the waiver wire.  The moral of the story is this: if you need cheap help in BA, R, RBI and OBP, then you should consider targeting the following guys up.

 

Nick Castellanos – Third Base / First Base, Detroit Tigers

By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Nick Castellanos") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Detroit’s once-touted third base prospect hasn’t exactly lived up to the preseason expectations that many were expecting.  In all honesty, most of those expectations were pretty lofty.

Through 65 games, the 22-year-old Florida native’s numbers are rather ordinary- .269 BA, .306 OBP, .406 SLG, 5 HR, 20 R and 27 RBI.  That’s not terrible for a first year guy but when fantasy owners are looking for a prom date, they go for the head cheerleader before getting the “safe yes” from the lab partner who you can tell will be extremely hot in two years (unless you’re like me who got denied from everyone).  The potential is there for Nick Castellanos.  Of all players with the qualified number of plate appearances, his 28.8% LD (line drive) rate of all batted balls is good enough for second but his .324 BABIP places him at number 50.  That’s just unlucky. It's like finding out the head cheerleader has a crush on you but she already said yes to the captain of the football team.

In all probability Castellanos has been a victim of his own early season success as he’s facing the pull shift, as well as the fast ball, at a much higher rate.  He struggled at first when facing the shift but is starting to come into his own by using the entire field.  Since early May, his .268 BABIP has steadily climbed.  Trust in the line drive rate and look for Castellanos to have a nice second half.

 

Joe Mauer – First Base, Minnesota Twins

By User Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "AAAA8040") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsYes, yes, I know.  It’s tacky to select one of the best contact guys for the better half of a decade in this piece, but being tacky doesn’t mean being wrong.  Joe Mauer has been awful for Mauer standards: .261 BA, 2 HR, 36 R and 22 RBI.

Considering that Minnesota’s offense has been prolific at times it’s hard to believe Mauer has been somewhat detrimental hitting out of the fourth spot of that lineup.  He will bounce back.  His 28% LD rate is fourth among all players and if you haven’t paid attention so far, you should know to trust the line drive rate (line drives have a tendency to translate into hits at roughly a 70% rate).  The catcher, turned first baseman, also has the ability to hit to the opposite field when facing the shift, thus keeping defenses honest, something too many of today's hitters are unable to do.

It would seem like he is striking out a lot more or not walking enough, but Mauer’s K-rate and BB-rate are comparable to his career numbers.  He’s making contact for line drives, can hit opposite field and is not striking out, but the best evidence that Mauer will bounce back is when the weather gets hot, so does he.  He’s a career .326 hitter in July, .316 in August and .324 in September and October.  Trust in Mauer and you'll be rewarded with a much improved second half for him.

 

Aaron Hill – Second Base, Arizona Diamondbacks

We’re going to travel back to high school for a second.  Remember that semi-attractive, really fun girl who would always flirt with you, but then was always “doing something” when you asked her out?  Or was I that unskilled with the opposite sex?  Anyway, that girl is Aaron Hill.

He tantalizes all fantasy owners with his potential and raw power at such a premium fantasy position that he’s always thought of as “that guy” you’d love to have preseason.  Hill is heavily owned in most leagues, but judging by a ton of threads and messages in those fantasy leagues, his owners are done flirting with him.  In 300 plate appearances, Hill has 6 HR, 38 RBI, 14 BB, 54 K and a .251 BA.

If you trust in baseball science, then Hill is your perfect experiment.  Of all qualified hitters, Hill’s 23.6% LD rate puts him at 32nd in the league- tied with a Larry David-esque pretty, pretty, pretty good Troy Tulowitzki- but his .287 BABIP is bad enough for 123rd in the bigs.  This is due most likely to Hill’s high fly ball % but low HR/FB rate, meaning a lot of his balls in play are staying in the park and driving down his BABIP.  This shouldn’t hurt Hill in the hot summer months as nearly all North American ball parks air density typically lowers and humidity typically climbs thus helping the ball travel farther.  Even Ron Burgundy knows that’s just science.  Look for Hill’s line drives and fly balls to climb and travel farther.  Trust in line drives in favorable weather.

 

Nick Swisher – First Basem / Outfield, Cleveland Indians

Erik Daniel Drost on Flickr - Originally posted to Flickr as "Nick Swisher"Now this may take some convincing. Nick Swisher, in limited time due to injury, has been borderline putrid.  He’s seeing career lows in HR, R, RBI, OBP, OPS, and a career high in his K-rate, and his .198 BA would be more than 30 points below his career low.  Ironically, his 24.1% LD rate would be a career high.

The baseball gods are surely having a good laugh at Swisher’s expense.  The two guys he’s tied with in LD rate, Jose Altuve and Anthony Rizzo, have a .354 and .309 BABIP, respectively and are two of the leading candidates for making the All Star squads at their respective positions.  Swisher’s biggest problem is that he hasn’t been able to beat the shift and he refused to even try for much of the early season.  He’s also been in a 5-for-38 slump since his return from the disabled list on June 12 which surely hasn’t helped at all.

His timing has been a little off since his return as his K-rate has jumped and his contact rate has plummeted.  As soon as Swisher gets his timing back, that LD rate will translate into success and help Swisher’s owners get some late season hits for a prolific Indians offense.

 




More Recent Articles

 

We Must Overreact Immediately! Week 7 Outliers

Week 7 seemed extremely fluky for fantasy football purposes. Devonta Freeman was ejected, and players like Will Fuller, Adam Thielen and Kerryon Johnson were both forced from their games very early on which hurt a lot of fantasy owners. The Rams wide receivers were supposed to light the world on fire against a Falcons secondary that... Read More


The Cut List - Players on the Chopping Block (Week 8)

This is your weekly list of players to drop. I will do my best to limit this list to injured players and players you might consider holding. If you roster pure handcuffs or backups, obviously you can let them go at any time. The players on this list will, ideally, be guys that aren't clearly... Read More


Week 8 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

This was a REALLY difficult week to rank, because there are so many usable DSTs this week. There are usable options all the way down to Tier 4 this week, and you're going to have something available to you on the waiver wire in even the deepest of leagues. Below are RotoBaller's Week 8 defense... Read More


Week 7 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

Even if this doesn’t turn out to be great MNF game, at least it's a divisional game with some importance. This is what Jets fans need to tell themselves heading into their second Monday Night Football game of the season. With the New England Patriots coming to town off their annual semi-bye in which they... Read More


Week 8 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

It's Chase Edmonds' world, we're just living in it. Wait, what? Hopefully you added him, as suggested in this column the past two weeks, because even if David Johnson is deemed healthy enough to actually play, it's likely Edmonds continues to see action. In QB news, by the halfway point of Thursday night, we already had... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 8

The regular season continues to advance at a relentless pace as we have now entered planning for Week 8. Some of you are ecstatic with the level of production that has been delivered by your running backs. But many of you have been contending with unwanted developments at this position including injuries, inconsistent usage, and... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 8

We're heading into Week 8 of the NFL season. By now, some of y'all are getting a good sense of where you're at fantasy-wise, if you're heading to the postseason or playing for fun or, in a dynasty league, building for the future. This look at wide receivers is for all of you. As we... Read More


Week 8 Tight End Waiver Wire Picks and Streamers

A two-team bye week is a lot easier for fantasy football players to navigate than a four-team bye week. Fantasy owners are going to have to live without Dallas’ Jason Witten and Baltimore’s Mark Andrews in Week 8. If you have one of the those players as your starting tight end, the problem is that... Read More


Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 8

Tragedy struck a few top quarterbacks this week, as both Patrick Mahomes and Matt Ryan left games with injuries. We already know Mahomes will miss 3-6 weeks, while more will be revealed about Ryan's status later today. Either way, owners of these quarterbacks will need a backup plan in place, and this week the waiver... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 8 Lightning Round

The better part of seven weeks is in the fantasy football books, making those early trends very real -- for better or worse. One must still consider the matchups played thus far and those to come, but usage and volume are becoming reliable. Week 8 sees the Ravens and Cowboys hit their bye week. To... Read More


Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 7 Will Fuller (hamstring) is expected to miss several weeks. Matt Ryan is out for the game with an... Read More


Week 7 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More


NFL Matchup Ratings Tool - Weekly Player Projections

  If you see the red "Upgrade" button below, then you are not a Premium subscriber, or have not yet logged in. Learn more about our NFL Matchup Ratings and projections system. Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of... Read More


Week 7 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

It's Sunday Morning Week 7... Do You Know Who to Start? Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football questions, from around 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET. Come join in on the fun, and get your... Read More


Updated Week 7 PPR Rankings (Top 300)

Welcome to Week 7 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 7 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates: Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison are both active. Todd Gurley is officially active, Malcolm Brown is out. Christian Kirk is not expected to play this week. David... Read More