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Barrel Risers & Fallers - Statcast Hitter Analysis (Week 17)


It's been a while since we looked at the Barrel leaderboard, so let's go back to this telling metric. For a detailed explanation of what makes a Barrel so valuable, click here to revisit my first article on the matter.

Many of the leaders have maintained their status, such as Gary Sanchez, Mike Trout, Joey Gallo, and Christian Yelich. There's little change among the season-long leaders and no need to analyze those studs so I will instead focus on the last month of play to see if any surprising names surface.

Let's dive into the Statcast numbers to find buy/sell/add/drop candidates for the second half of the 2019 fantasy baseball season.

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Surprising Chart Toppers

All stats current as of July 21, 2019 and display leaders over the last 30 days.

 

Rougned Odor (2B, TEX)

Nine Barrels in last 270 pitches - 3.3%

The man's xBA is in the 6th percentile on the season, he's batting .189, slugging .391, and has a 33.2% strikeout rate that is one of the worst in the league. If anybody needs to turn a corner, it's Odor. Over the past month, he has done that. Sort of.

Since June 21, Odor's nine Barrels are tied for 11th in the majors. He is hitting a respectable .250 over that time and has driven in 16 runs thanks to five homers and seven doubles. Of course, he has also struck out an absurd 29 times in those 72 at-bats with just one walk. He's going for broke at this point because, why not? He's not losing his job any time soon, so if you truly don't care about batting average at this point, you can latch on to his recent power surge for help in HR and RBI along with the occasional steal, when he isn't getting caught.

 

Josh Donaldson (3B, ATL)

Nine Barrels in last 430 pitches - 2.1%

Many were predicting a drought at the hot corner in Atlanta this summer due to a lack of rain. It appears the rain is now being brung (brought?). Like Odor, Donaldson is also one Barrel away from the top 10 in that category over the past month. He's been on fire, launching eight homers, driving in 20, and walking more times than whiffing with 21:19 BB:K ratio.

Donaldson has managed to keep his exit velocity, hard-hit rate, xSLG, and xwOBA all in the 90th percentile or higher for the season. If there was any doubt he could maintain his power production in the National League and at the age of 33, those have been quelled. There will always be the possibility of injury looming but so far he's played in 97 of the Braves' 101 games. I wouldn't advise buying high at this point but if you took a chance on him on draft day or swung a deal while he was slumping in late May, pat yourself on the back.

 

Lourdes Gurriel (2B/SS/OF, TOR)

Nine Barrels in last 382 pitches - 2.4%

Just hours before this was written, Gurriel kept the hotness going with a two-run homer and an RBI double against the Tigers. He's batting .298 with eight long balls over the past month. With an xSLG and Hard Hit % that are both in the 87th percentile for the season, Gurriel's breakout is more than just a hot streak. He continues to be overlooked with all the hype Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has generated but the truth is Gurriel is slugging 180 points higher and has twice as many HR in 32 fewer plate appearances this year. How Gurriel is only 77% owned is beyond me.

 

Alarming Bottom Dwellers

All stats current as of July 21, 2019 and display leaders over the last 30 days.

 

Willie Calhoun (OF, TEX)

One Barrel in last 191 pitches - 0.5%

Am I the only one still holding out hope here? I mean, just because he was sent down to Nashville a week ago doesn't mean he won't come back with a vengeance, right? Maybe it's all the FAAB I spent on him in TGFBI league talking but I like to think Calhoun could still turn things around in what counts as his rookie season.

His numbers don't look too bad (.277 AVG, .802 OPS, 5 HR, 13 RBI in 94 AB) but much of that production came in his first week after being called up and before hitting the DL. He initially picked up where he left off, but it's been an especially quiet July with five hits in his past 28 at-bats. While some of this can be attributed to a relative lack of plate appearances and inability to stay in the lineup consistently, therein lies much of the problem. If he's not a regular for the Rangers, he can't be for fantasy teams either. He's hitting just .118 against left-handed pitching this season, bringing his career mark to .172 vs LHP.

Now that the Rangers are an actual playoff contender, against preseason expectations, they won't be as patient with their prospect. Hunter Pence's return off IL just sealed the deal. If you are in a dynasty rebuild, this is a great time to buy low on Calhoun. He may never be a star but his hit tool is good enough that he can contribute next season.

 

Luke Voit (1B, NYY)

One Barrel in last 247 pitches - 0.4%

Will it be a tale of two halves for this Bronx Bomber? Fantasy owners certainly hope not. Early on, he was one of the biggest draft-day sleepers to pay off. He slugged 14 homers in the first two months, posting 75 R+RBI as well. Things are starting to change, though.

Voit has gone deep four times since June began and has just one barreled ball to his name over the last 30 days. He's actually batting .319 over that stretch but we need more than just singles here - the power is lacking. It's worth noting that while he spent nearly all season in the top half of the Yanks' lineup, mainly in the two-hole, he has batted seventh, fifth, sixth, fifth, and seventh respectively in the past five games. Another 0-for-4 game with a pair of strikeouts doesn't inspire confidence. Voit isn't a strict must-sell but there's no guarantee he works back up to first-half levels or climbs up in the order again to generate the same value.

 

Gleyber Torres (2B/SS, NYY)

One Barrel in last 341 pitches - 0.3%

The obvious question regarding Torres' ROS value is: how many more times will he face the Orioles? Answer: four. While he's an obvious DFS play that week, it's hard to say where he falls among middle infielders otherwise. His expected stats are all hovering around league average, with an xBA in the 55th percentile and a 36.7% hard-hit rate that Statcast ranks at the 37th percentile. This is including those games against Baltimore, mind you.

Torres may well wind up with 30 HR and a .300 average when it's all said and done, so there doesn't seem like much to complain about here. This looks more like a case where the sum is greater than the whole of the statistical parts. Just keep in mind that his power comes and goes in spurts, so be content with the high average and R+RBI totals when he goes through a dry spell.

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