The All Star game is behind us and the trade deadline is approaching. Things are only getting more interesting in MLB. As we push into the second half of the season, now is the time to make some moves to ensure your march to the playoffs does not end in disappointment. Here are some performances you need to be aware of as you ponder lineup changes the rest of the way.
As always, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @hedenson18 should you have any questions on these or any other players you would like highlighted.
- Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Gurriel is having a strong 2019 so far, slashing .296/.347/.606 with 16 home runs. Much of that production has come in his last thirty days, including 10 of his bombs and a solid .313/.352/.667 line. While his BABIP lately has been high (.354), his overall rate is rate (.331) is more believable given previous production – though that average will likely fall somewhat. The real question lies with the insane power barrage (.310 ISO) he has shown this season and whether or not he can continue mashing to that level. His quality of contact says yes.
While the exit velocity is merely ok (89.8 MPH), a 12.9% Barrel rate and 46.3% Hard Hit% will cover many woes. An increase in fly balls (+9.1% in 2019) has helped as well, and while he will not continue sending balls over the wall at this rate, do not expect it to disappear from his toolbox. His expected production (.266 XBA/.367 XWOBA/.540 XSLG) is in line with his overall production, and his multi-positional eligibility only adds to his value the rest of the way.
- Madison Bumgarner
Bumgarner has not been the same since injuring his shoulder in a dirt bike accident a few years ago. The ace we saw during the Giants World Series runs is likely gone, though the Giants lefty has started to reclaim some of his shine over the last 30 days. Over his last six starts Bumgarner is striking out 28.1% of batters faced and posting a 13% SwSTR%. He hasn’t faced many easy lineups either, with only the Cardinals ranking outside the top 16 in runs scored.
Bumgarner has thrived when hitters chase outside the zone in these outings (62.5% O-Contact%; 38.5% O-Swing%) and his control (6.1% BB%) has allowed him to take full advantage of living on the edge of the strike zone. His overall stats (3.86 ERA, 3.97 SIERA, 24.9% K%) are solid, though Bumgarner could flirt with elite production the rest of the way if he can maintain this increased ability to miss bats.
- Victor Robles
Robles has provided solid production so far in his first full big-league season, posting an equal (13) amount of home runs to stolen bases with his .249/.321/.444 line. His strikeout rate is manageable (23.6% K%) though his walk rate could use some work (5% BB%). He has hit .304/.372/.565 over his last 30 days with four home runs and steals, exactly what you want from a player with his skill set. However, a few things worry me about his profile.
Apart from a 23 game run in Rookie ball during the 2015 season, Robles never posted a +10% HR/FB% in the minors. His current HR/FB% is 14.8% despite one of the worst exit velocities in the majors (only Billy Hamilton and Ender Enciarte are lower) and a Hard Hit% that ranks in the bottom 5% of the league. While he did post a similar HR/FB rate during his stint with the Nationals last season, I just cannot get behind Robles as a source of power unless something changes in his profile. The speed he offers makes him a useful fantasy outfielder, but his contact issues and lack of walks stand out as larger worries for his future value.
- Kyle Seager
‘Corey’s Brother’ is a ghost at the plate. He has posted a .149/.217/.270 line at the dish over the last month with only two home runs to show for his efforts. His overall numbers aren’t much better (.193/.276/.353 with six home runs) and you have to wonder how long the Mariners at going to keep running him out there given these struggles.
Seager has been somewhat unlucky (.211 BABIP) at the dish given his batted ball profile, and there is room for growth when you look at his expected line per Statcast (.239 XBA/.326 XWOBA/.429 XSLG). He has managed to walk more this season as well (+4% BB% in 2019). Missing the first part of the season likely is not helping him at the plate but Seager offers limited upside even if he mirrors his expected line the rest of the way.
- Hunter Dozier
Has this Cinderella turned into a pumpkin? This Royal was balling before heading to the injured list on June 3rd, boasting a .314 batting average and .987 OPS in his first 52 games. Since his activation on June 21, however, Dozier has barely hit his weight, slashing .183/.256/.352 with two bombs. He’s striking out 32.1% of the time and is chasing pitches outside the zone (34.3% O-Swing%) without much success (44.3% O-Contact%).
Though he has struggled, I do not think this is a sign he is coming back to earth after his hot start. He has posted a .250 BABIP (.322 BABIP for the season) since his return despite a 28.3% LD% and no other significant changes to his batted ball profile. He has actually hit the ball harder since returning as well (+5.2% Hard% since return). Look for things to turn around soon. Dozier is a great buy low option right now.
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