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Power Hitting Risers & Fallers for Week 25 - Buy or Sell?


Less than two weeks left, and if you still need an extra home run or two, time is running out to get it. Are September's risers the answer? Are the fallers going to continue to fall?

Weekly reminders: EVAB (pronounced ee-vab or ev-ab) is simply exit velocity on "air balls" - meaning fly balls and line drives, as shown on Statcast. Isolated power -- ISO -- is slugging percentage minus batting average, and so xISO is xSLG minus xBA. The Statcast Search feature is used to obtain partial season Statcast numbers. The league-wide ratio of barrels to home runs is historically around 67-70%.

Now, for this week's risers and fallers. Stats are through September 16th unless otherwise noted.

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Power Risers

Brett Gardner (OF, NYY)

September: 7 HR, .250/.321/.729, .378 xSLG, .198 xBA (.180 xISO), 88.3 mph at 14.7 degrees, 3 barrels, 53 PA.

Season Total: 25 HR, .249/.326/.500, .357 xSLG, .240 xBA (.117 xISO), 87.4 mph at 13.2 degrees (92.0 mph EVAB), 15 barrels, 509 PA.

We start with a tale of which to beware. All season, Gardner has not been hitting the ball at all like a 25-home run hitter, but here were are after seven in September. A xSLG-SLG gap can't possibly exceed .351. Unsurprisingly, Gardner also has the largest season gap for anyone with over 300 plate appearances.

As unlikely as Gardner's entire campaign has been, you can't blame it on the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium anymore, with multi-home run games at Detroit and Toronto so far this month and 15 of his 25 home runs on the season coming on the road.

It's still a tough call here, broken by the unassuming small sample profile. That makes this look a lot less like a real hot streak that can carry through to the end of the season. There's no need to run out and try to grab him now.

 

Marcus Semien (SS, OAK)

(Note: Semien's short-term numbers are taken at face value even though, as with last week, the resumption game between Oakland and Detroit from September 13 is still interfering with Statcast numbers.)

September: 6 HR, .354/.440/.723, .640 xSLG, .330 xBA (.310 xISO), 90.0 mph at 16.7 degrees, 8 barrels, 75 PA.

Season Total: 31 HR, .284/.365/.519, .460 xSLG, .264 xBA (.196 xISO), 88.6 mph at 14.3 degrees (93.1 mph EVAB), 44 barrels, 698 PA.

By ticking up both his launch angle and his exit velocity, Semien's blistering-hot second half has gotten even hotter in September. There aren't any red flags in this streak.

As one would entirely expect, the full-season numbers themselves don't indicate this much of a power hitter. Especially notable are the middling 93.1 mph EVAB and somewhat low .460 xSLG. But 44 barrels is perfectly able to uphold 31 home runs.

Clearly Semien is someone to use whether you've read this or not. But you don't need to worry about compensating for a shortfall here either when judging what the rest of your lineup can do for you the last week and a half.

 

Rougned Odor (2B, TEX)

September: 6 HR, .306/.370/.776, .636 xSLG, .286 xBA (.350 xISO), 92.0 mph at 16.8 degrees, 8 barrels, 54 PA.

Season Total: 27 HR, .205/.282/.435, .445 xSLG, .224 xBA (.221 xISO), 89.5 mph at 15.8 degrees (96.1 mph EVAB), 43 barrels, 537 PA.

What's this from Odor, a .300 average that is actually supported by the type of contact he's making? He's even striking out just 22.2% of the time this month.

And it's not an empty batting average with the six homers. While his contact doesn't support the power as much as it does the average, the xSLG is still plenty good enough. He's boosted his exit velocity and ever so slightly his launch angle.

Unbelievably, Odor is perfectly rosterable the rest of this season. This will especially be true with Texas at home the final week of the season.

 

Eloy Jimenez (OF, CWS)

September: 6 HR, .328/.379/.705, .713 xSLG, .323 xBA (.390 xISO), 95.5 mph at 9.3 degrees, 11 barrels, 66 PA.

Season Total: 28 HR, .259/.309/.494, .489 xSLG, .257 xBA (.232 xISO), 90.9 mph at 9.0 degrees (96.7 mph EVAB), 38 barrels, 463 PA.

Get on Eloy's case two weeks ago and what happens? He puts up the rare hot streak that is entirely supported by the quality of contact. In fact, the number of barrels has Jimenez getting slightly unlucky to hit "just" six homers this month so far.

The difference, as you can see, has been in how hard Jimenez is hitting the ball. He's on his season level in launch angle, but adding several mph of oomph to his contact, hence the dramatic power improvement in September.

Keep riding this (as was actually recommended last time). You now know what Jimenez is capable of during a hot streak, rather than hoping for it, as the finish line approaches.

 

Randal Grichuk (OF, TOR)

September: 5 HR, .239/.234/.674, .521 xSLG, .232 xBA (.289 xISO), 89.3 mph at 17.0 degrees, 5 barrels, 47 PA.

Season Total: 28 HR, .235/.284/.455, .401 xSLG, .230 xBA (.171 xISO), 89.2 mph at 15.5 degrees (93.4 mph EVAB), 31 barrels, 581 PA.

September has seen the best of Grischuk except he's walking even less, literally zero times this month. And despite a 153-point gap between his xSLG and SLG this month he's still producing a near-.300 xISO.

Overall, however, there's too much risk in this profile going forward. Grichuk doesn't really hit the ball that hard, although he can hit it high. But he doesn't have the SLG or ISO expectations or the barrel rate you'd hope for.

That said, if Grichuk is all that's out there and you need a power bump, giving him a shot can be reasonable. Certainly more so than Gardner if you ended up trying to decide between the two of them.

 

 

Power Fallers

Tommy Pham (OF, TB)

September: 0 HR, .326/.404/.413, .359 xSLG, .275 xBA (.084 xISO), 89.6 mph at 10.1 degrees, 0 barrels, 52 PA.

Season Total: 20 HR, .277/.375/.456, .455 xSLG, .276 xBA (.179 xISO), 90.8 mph at 4.9 degrees (95.3 mph EVAB), 33 barrels, 608 PA.

Pham has been a solid hitter all year and his contact matches up with his production. But he has not been a game-changer, especially in the power department, and so two and a half weeks with a sub-.100 xISO is not surprising.

The good news in September has been a doubled launch angle, but that has not helped the expected power output. He's been reasonably productive anyway, but if it's home runs you need, they will either have to come from elsewhere on your roster or you will have to look elsewhere.

Pham is generally still seeing the ball fairly well, but it will not be an upset if he is still sitting on 20 home runs when the season ends.

 

DJ LeMahieu (IF, NYY)

September: 0 HR, .281/.317/.316, .476 xSLG, .330 xBA (.146 xISO), 90.7 mph at -0.8 degrees, 3 barrels, 60 PA.

Season Total: 24 HR, .328/.375/.516, .505 xSLG, .319 xBA (.186 xISO), 91.7 mph at 6.5 degrees (95.1 mph EVAB), 36 barrels, 614 PA.

Of this week's fallers, LeMahieu has been by far the unluckiest from a home run perspective. He's the only one with a barrel, with an xISO above .100, and with an exit velocity above 90 mph. Of course, with that negative launch angle he's not totally out of the woods.

Fortunately, that is relatively easy to fix, and probably easier in the Yankees organization than others. LeMahieu hasn't blown anyone away with his power production, but it's been very useful in combination with his batting average and lineup spot, and he figures to return to the column at some point in the final dozen or so games.

No one is dropping DJM and no one should because of how solid his contact is even during a bad stretch of results.

 

Max Kepler (OF, MIN)

September: 0 HR, .171/.293/.200, .284 xSLG, .222 xBA (.062 xISO), 88.0 mph at 15.8 degrees, 0 barrels, 41 PA.

Season Total: 36 HR, .252/.336/.519, .439 xSLG, .257 xBA (.182 xISO), 89.7 mph at 18.2 degrees (92.9 mph EVAB), 38 barrels, 596 PA.

Kepler's shoulder is clearly bothering him even when he does play. He continues to get lift but not much else.

That said, his 36-home run season has been built on a shaky foundation. There was some concern when he was a riser six weeks ago, and his season EVAB has fallen a few ticks while he's added just five home runs on an even less impressive five barrels.

With only a few days left in the season, it may be time to look to get away in redraft leagues if the shoulder issue lingers. It's already cost him three straight starts and six out of seven.

 

Kevin Newman (IF, PIT)

September: 0 HR, .357/.426/.500, .336 xSLG, .269 xBA (.067 xISO), 86.3 mph at 5.6 degrees, 0 barrels, 47 PA.

Season Total: 10 HR, .318/.364/.453, .384 xSLG, .292 xBA (.092 xISO), 84.8 mph at 7.3 degrees (87.9 mph EVAB), 8 barrels, 480 PA.

Newman's ownership shot up when Pittsburgh visited Coors, and there Newman improved his season home run total from seven to 10. He's continued to provide batting average and a couple steals, but not power--which isn't really surprising.

It begins with a very weak exit velocity -- on all contact as well as just on flies and liners -- combined with a single-digit launch angle. It has worked to get hits; a .292 xBA is in the 92nd percentile this season. It has not done anything for power, as his .384 xSLG ranks in just the 22nd percentile. He's outperforming both metrics, but at least the expected batting average is also great.

Newman may well be done hitting home runs for the season. If you are still expecting some rather than simply BA and steals, temper those expectations significantly.

 

Amed Rosario (SS, NYM)

September: 0 HR, .278/.316/.315, .390 xSLG, .322 xBA (.068 xISO), 87.9 mph at 6.0 degrees, 0 barrels, 57 PA.

Season Total: 12 HR, .287/.325/.424, .400 xSLG, .286 xBA (.114 xISO), 89.4 mph at 8.4 degrees (91.4 mph EVAB), 17 barrels, 609 PA.

Rosario hit his 13th home run of the year, at Coors, Tuesday, despite getting just 96.4 mph of exit velocity on the contact. That tells the story of his power ability.

What has improved immensely for Rosario is his ability to get hits, both for the entire season and even during the formerly homer-less September. He's been unlucky this month, just not in the power department.

If you need power more than anything, then once the Mets leave Coors, there isn't much reason to have Rosario around.

 

Last Week's Risers

Player Last Week Update (9/10-16)
Eugenio Suarez 26 PA, 3 HR, .273/.467/.818 -- What can you say?
Yasmani Grandal 29 PA, 1 HR, .238/.448/.476 -- And eight walks to just five K's
Nicholas Castellanos 32 PA, 1 HR, .300/.344/.600 -- Keeps tooling along
Austin Meadows 27 PA, 3 HR, .292/.370/.708 -- Also keeps tooling along in an amazing breakout season
Peter Alonso 26 PA, 0 HR, .087/.192/.130 -- A rare misstep but he should ultimately be fine

 

Last Week's Fallers

Player Last Week Update (9/10-9/16)
Yoan Moncada 31 PA, 1 HR, .500/.516/.767 -- A nice if largely BABIP-driven recovery
Kole Calhoun 19 PA, 3 HR, .250/.368/.875 -- Back in business as streaks are what he does
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 23 PA, 0 HR, .136/.130/.136 -- He'll get 'em next year
Paul Goldschmidt 26 PA, 2 HR, .238/.385/.619 -- As anticipated, another good streak was in there somewhere
Jonathan Villar 31 PA, 1 HR, .241/.290/.448 -- A modest return to the HR column (plus another Tuesday)

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