Daniel Robertson revamped his swing and it’s working

Coming into this season the Tampa Bay Rays weren’t expected to contend for a wild card spot. Lately they have turned it around which included an eight-game winning streak. The player who has been the most valuable to the team in terms of WAR (wins above replacement) is Daniel Robertson. Robertson spent the off-season revamping his swing and so far the results have been phenomenal. Are the results sustainable? Let’s dive into the season numbers.

Year Team PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% Avg OBP
2015 AA 347 4 49 41 2 9.5 16.7 274 363
2016 AAA 511 5 50 43 2 11.4 19.6 .259 .358
2017 Rays 254 5 22 19 1 11.4 28.7 .206 .308
2018 Rays 98 3 14 8 1 18.4 24.5 .295 .439

It seems that Robertson has always had a good eye, but this season he’s walking at a ridiculous rate of 18.4%. The swing changes seem to have helped him in the early going as he is close to matching his totals from last season. We’ll need to look at his plate discipline to see if his walk rate is sustainable.

Year 0-swing z-swing swing% o-contact z-contact contact% swstr%
2017 24.2 61.2 41.3 62.8 83.3 77.2 9.4
2018 17.7 50.3 31.3 57.8 84.4 75.9 7.5

This is fantastic as he is making big strides from last season. He has decreased chasing pitches off the plate from 24.2% to 17.7%. Also his swing percentage has decreased to 31.3% and his swinging strike percentage is now 7.5%. He’s definitely looking for his pitches to hit. I don’t think he’ll keep walking at a 18% rate, but these numbers show he can easily sustain double digits. Let’s check out how he’s hit the ball this season:

Year GB/FB LD% GB% FB% HR/FB Pull Cent Oppo Soft Med Hard
2017 1.26 17.8 45.9 36.3 9.4 29.7 44.6 25.7 18.9 47.3 33.8
2018 1.22 25.9 40. 33.3 16.7 44.4 27.8 27.8 27.8 35.2 37.0

Right off the bat he is showing he wants to hit more line drives. His home run total will decrease as his home run to fly ball ratio is high. It’s important to note that he is pulling the ball at a 44.4% rate and it will be interesting to see if he keeps it that high as more teams will put the shift on him. Speaking of the shift, I was looking into his splits and he is pulling ground balls 72.7% of the time while fly balls and liners are 11.1% and 42.9% respectively. I’d like to see pull more fly balls rather than grounding out into the shift. Digging into the Statcast numbers his xAVG is .258 while his xSLG is .451. These numbers tell us that what he is doing is legit to a certain degree.

Daniel Robertson profiles as a contact before power hitter. His plate discipline is very good and could be a valuable bench bat since he carries multiple positions. He bats in the fifth spot so he should be cashing in on his RBI opportunities. With a new swing and improved discipline, he’s definitely on his way to having a breakout year.

 

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Jordan Lyn

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Watching one hockey game after another until the night is over.