Okay perhaps this one is more wishful thinking, but I really think Andrew Benintendi (2019 stats: .266/.358/.452 with 8 HR, 47 R, 43 RBI, and 9 SB through 404 PA) is bound to turn his season around soon. This one isn’t a case where his metrics suggest positive regression. In fact, his .339 BABIP is higher than his .323 mark. His .240 xBA suggests that based off his quality of contact, his .267 BA is actually higher than it should be. Benintendi’s strike out rate (+7.3%) and swinging strike rate (+4%) are significantly higher than last year’s marks. Oh right, I’m supposed to be convincing you why you should be buying him. I include these stats because like I said, this is more of a gut feeling than something backed by Statcast metrics or batted ball data. We have seen Benintendi perform at an outstanding level, and this isn’t it.
One thing that does stick out in his batted ball data is that he is making hard contact (34.5%) on batted balls 6.5% more than last season. This, combined with a career high fly ball rate of 45.6% should hopefully mean more extra base hits are to come. While his 8 home runs certainly aren’t very impressive, his 25 doubles are tied for 14th most in the league. His 4 triples are tied for 15th most among major league hitters. It is encouraging to see Benintendi’s 10.4% walk rate in line with his career mark, so we know he is still seeing the ball well. He hits in an extremely potent offense, so Benny should see lots RISP opportunities. He can be bought pretty cheaply, and he has shown in his career that he is a solid source of pop and speed. Going 10/10 the rest of the way is certainly not out of the question. ZiPS ROS: .278/.358/.452 with 6 HR, 33 R, 32 RBI, and 7 SB through 248 PA
2019 stats: .248/.336/.431 with 19 HR, 57 R, 48 RBI, and 0 SB through 419 PA
This seems oddly familiar to last year. After mustering a measly .209 average through the first 2 months last season, Goldschmidt would go on to finish with his typical Goldy-esque statline. He hit .329 with 27 home runs from that point forward, to finish with a .290/.389/.533 slash line and 33 homers. While the stolen bases have evaporated from Goldschmidt’s game as he ages, there’s little to suggest his bat can’t rebound again. His 19 home runs are certainly nothing to sneeze at, but his .248 mark is nearly 50 points lower than his career average. Goldy’s strikeout and whiff rates are pretty much identical to last season, so it doesn’t appear his bat skills are rapidly declining. His contact rate of 76.1% and zone contact rate of 82.4% are actually slightly higher than his 75.9% and 81.7% figures from last season.
Goldschmidt’s xStats are significantly lower than last season, but they still fare well compared to the field. His xSLG (.465) and xwOBA (.345) both rank in the top third of MLB hitters. His hard hit rate of 48.3% is 2% higher than last season, and puts him in the 66th percentile. Goldschmidt’s BABIP of .300 is a full 50 points lower than his career mark, and hints that we should see that average start creeping up. His .772 OPS is far off his career .916 mark, and his sharp decline in slugging percentage is the main culprit. After smashing 40 2B+3B in 158 games last year, Goldy has just 10 through his first 99 games this season. On the bright side, his 19 long balls show us that he still has some pop left in that bat of his. He is not quite the 5 category superstar he was a couple years ago, but Goldschmidt’s bat still has a ton of value in fantasy. His stock is down right now, and those who buy into him at a discounted rate could reap the benefits of a strong finish similar to last year.
ZiPS ROS: .263/.365/.463 with 11 HR, 36 R, 33 RBI, and 4 SB through 257 PA
2019 stats: .249/.315/.364 with 7 HR, 52 R, 34 RBI, and 12 SB through 426 PA
Another guy who has seen father time strip away his speed, at 33 years old Cain no longer appears to be a threat to swipe 30 bags. You likely drafted him for speed and average, and as mentioned his speed has not quite been what it has in years past. After getting caught stealing 7 times all of last season, Cain has already been caught 6 times this year. His stolen base success rate last year was 81%, but it sits at a disappointing 67% this season. At least he has had a high average like every other season right? Oh wait, his .249 batting average is nearly 40 points off his career mark. He hits leadoff in one of baseball’s most potent lineups, but his 52 runs scored are tied for 69th most among big leaguers. To put it simply, Cain has been one of fantasy’s biggest draft day disappointments so far this year. He has made some absolutely spectacular plays in the field and robbed multiple home runs, but his offensive output has been a shell of itself. Despite his shortcomings, I still think Cain can rebound and salvage his poor first half.
Cain’s .280 xBA suggests he has been making better contact than his .249 average shows. This seems to be due to some bad luck, as his .291 BABIP is almost a full 50 points lower than his career .340 mark. While he has been striking out 2.4% more than last year and walking 3.5% less, those numbers are actually right on par with his career marks. His contact rate is 2.4% less than last year, but is also right in line with his career (81.1%) figure. One thing Cain has going for him is that he has more pop than he did last year. After hitting 10 home runs and 25 doubles in 141 games last season, Cain already has 7 home runs and 23 doubles through his first 94 games. Despite his overall disappointing season so far, Cain has still been leading off for the Brew Crew. Hitting in front of Hiura, Moustakas, and of course reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich should ensure plenty of opportunities to score runs. Cain must get on base more to maximize those chances, but the metrics suggest his average is due to climb. Cain owners are likely very willing to part with him, so he doesn’t carry much risk to pursue.
ZiPS ROS: .273/.343/.393 with 4 HR, 29 R, 18 RBI, and 8 SB through 223 PA