Power Risers and Fallers for Week 6: Buy or Sell?

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Welcome back to this investigative piece where we examine players who have seen some notable changes in their power profiles -- for better or for worse -- in 2017.

As usual, you don’t need me to tell you that Miguel Sano or Aaron Judge are strong or that Jarrod Dyson and Billy Hamilton are toward the bottom in average exit velocity. It’s been about six weeks and now these numbers are really starting to mean something, but do keep a level head on the whole when approaching surges.

For reference, here's a tasty little screencap of the premium power tool that much of the inspiration for this article comes from. It pulls the fly-ball, pull and hard-hit rates for players -- metrics associated with power -- and looks at notable recent swings in performance.

Editor's note: Get a free one-week MLB Premium Pass including our famous Lineup Optimizer/Generator, Premium Matchup Ratings, DFS Lineups, Cheat Sheets, and 10 other tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Power Risers and Fallers - Premium Tool

Identifying top power risers and fallers for each week can help you spot the best pickups before your competition. RotoBaller's Premium Power Risers and Fallers tool has you covered every day. Here's a free sample:

 

Power Risers

Matt Carpenter - (1B/2B, STL):

He’s on a six-game hitting streak and homered in three straight games from May 5-7. I realize this is about power, but he’s already notched 13 walks in just 44 plate appearances after walking 15 times in 88 April PAs. Power plus plate discipline equals jackpot. With a whopping 59.1 percent hard-hit rate and minuscule 4.6 percent soft-contact rate through May thus far, he’s definitely going to qualify as a “riser”. He won’t keep it up at quite this pace but should flirt with 30 homers in 2017.

Mark Trumbo - (1B/OF, BAL):

Trumbo is on a seven-game hitting streak and has socked two long balls in his last three games. He’s scored a run in seven of his last eight and appears to finally be making consistently strong contact. Trumbo’s fly-ball and pull rates were decent through the first month, but his 22.5 percent hard-hit rate was simply unproductive. Well, he’s basically doubled that (43.8 percent) in his 10 May games and looks to be back to form.

Mookie Betts - (OF, BOS):

Yay, the Mook-man has delivered! We pointed toward his potential bouncing back last week and all he’s done over the past four games is jack three homers and log four doubles. He’s taken quite well to batting leadoff and has done well to cut his bloated 20 percent soft-contact rate from April in half so far in May. He’s also hitting fly balls over half of the time now compared to a 36-percent clip last month, so the power stroke is truly coming alive.

Aaron Altherr - (OF, PHI):

Duh. The three-run homer machine proved that he can do other things too, like hit solo homers, on Wednesday. Altherr has connected for 22 batted balls in the month of May thus far, and half of them have been clocked at 100 mph or greater coming off of the bat. Six of those have been at 107.9 mph or more. His fly-ball rate is up 13.5 percent, his pull rate is up 14.5 percent and his hard-hit rate is up 23.2 percent. He’s feeling pretty good right now.

Tommy Joseph - (1B, PHI):

A teammate of Altherr’s seems to be coming around as well, as Joseph has quietly gone 11-for-28 with four doubles and three homers in nine May games thus far. For comparison, he had hit only two doubles and one homer in 67 April at-bats. Now, he isn’t hitting as many fly balls but his line-drive rate has rebounded from a woeful 8.3 percent thanks to his turning some of the 54.2 percent of grounders from April into well-struck balls (hard-hit rate up to 60 percent from 29.2). It’s not a lot, but those in deeper formats who could use some CI assistance should cast a stink-eye at Joseph.

 

Power Fallers

Trea Turner - (2B/OF, WSH):

Turner has gone 2-for-24 without an XBH with just one walk and 10 strikeouts over his last six games, prompting a day off from Dusty Baker on May 8, but it hasn’t quite solved things. He started off 2017 scorching hot by going 20-for-63 with two homers and four steals, but he’s definitely a “faller” here thanks to a soft-contact rate that has doubled to 25 percent.

Anthony Rizzo - (1B, CHC):

Rizzo went off toward the end of April, blasting five homers in just eight games from April 21-29, but since then he has gone ice cold. Sporting a .025 ISO, he’s gone just 4-for-40 with two RBI in 10 games with a horrid 38.7 percent soft-contact rate (versus a 16.1 percent hard rate) in that span. He’s also rocking a 54.8 percent ground-ball rate there, as he’s rolling over the ball with lesser power. We know he’s amazing and should stabilize, but this is a bad look.

Avisail Garcia - (OF, CWS):

It was a fun ride, but Garcia hadn’t produced an extra-base hit since April 29 before a double tonight (May 11) and is reverting back to his over-swinging, not-so-productive self. He still has an absurd .410 BABIP on the season, but it seems like the fun is over. Most of you have likely moved along, but his entering play on May 11 as one of 13 qualified hitters with a .000 ISO.

Max Kepler - (OF, MIN):

Speaking of players with a flat-lined ISO, Kepler has done even worse there. He hasn’t logged an XBH since clearing the fence on April 23. Since then, he’s gone 6-for-32 with three RBI and two steals. And out of the 10 balls that he’s struck at 98 mph or greater since 4/23, none of them have been at a launch angle greater than 10 degrees (eight of them were negative values). Maybe he just really hates gophers right now, but he needs to flip the switch soon and get some lift on those hits.

Yangervis Solarte - (2B/3B, SD):

Solarte’s first game of May saw him launch a two-run homer, but he’s cooled off lately and hasn’t logged an RBI or run scored across his last five games. He’s now 3-for-22 over his last seven games and leads the MLB with a 41.7 percent soft-contact rate in May. That’s not an honor one wants. The aforementioned two-run homer was also the last time he struck a ball at 100 mph or greater and the average distance on his three HRs this season is a paltry 380 feet, which sandwiches him on that leaderboard between vaunted sluggers like Francisco Cervelli and Andrelton Simmons.

 

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