Do you remember that one kid in elementary school who always seemed to win every raffle, cake walk or prize when it was nothing more than dumb luck? Well, welcome to Major League Baseball where that same kid is reimagined as Chris Davis and instead of winning the cakewalk, he wins a ridiculous $161M contract. Both of these guys stink if you are not them and the second one sinks your fantasy season as well. This week our hitter profiles dig into a few luck metrics to warn or yearn for the rest of the season. Do not worry, I won’t mention Chris Davis again.
- My goodness J.D. Martinez, a .480 BABIP is pretty strong. Strong enough to be 100 points higher than the league leaders in 2021 driven by speedsters Starling Marte and Tim Anderson. There is no chance this holds up and Martinez will be heading back to earth soon. The good news for him, is that he is a .290 – .300 hitter with pop even at normal levels.
- It is nice to see Cody Bellinger no longer being a victim of such terrible luck like last year. Unfortunately, that means his poor results are even more real to all of us. Maybe if he fixes that 30% strikeout rate, we will see the old Belly, but I am not counting on it.
- Tyler Stephenson, how I want to believe in you! However, looking at poor exit velocities, plate discipline and significant luck tell us that the cliff is coming. I would be cashing in this chip today.
- Willy Adames is having a strong season overall, but it feels masked by a .208 batting average. Adames has a career BABIP over .330, yet it is nearly 100 points below that mark hiding the truth that his quality of contact is the best of his career. This is a buy low opportunity for a savvy manager.
- There is a young guy named Juan Soto that has fallen on some bad luck this year. Something tells me he will turn it around.
- Unfortunately, Bryan Reynolds has basically repeated his 2020 season from a results and luck perspective. The good news is that Reynolds had a strong 2021 with a much more normal luck perspective showing the kind of player he can be. The truth is likely somewhere in between and he will continue to be a solid #3 outfielder.
- Chris Davis alert! I know I said I would not mention him again, but Manuel Margot showed up fourth on our BABIP Surgers and third on our HR/FB Surgers. He has been valuable to this point, but the ride is soon to end.
- C.J. Cron has been a bit of a breakout star this season and although he has seen a bump in his fly balls leaving the yard, the numbers still fall close to his career norms. A slight uptick in luck combined with the Coors effect has led to nice results that are likely to sustain.
- Baby Vlad shows up on our list as well and there are certainly disagreements between Statcast and Fangraphs on the reality of his HR/FB rates. Ultimately, his homers are generally no doubters and his profile remains strong. No concerns here.
- Marcus Semien might appear to be the recipient of bad luck, but all of the non-luck metrics down across the board are driving the lack of homers. This is not looking to be a case of waiting for the bounce back, but rather the time to sell for fifty cents on the dollar.
- On the other end of the spectrum is Jesse Winker who has struggled with poor luck and injuries so far this season. Seeing that his plate discipline and xBA still are solid, he just needs time to work out of the funk and injury. If the price is discounted, I would be willing to invest. However, recognize that he may be playing hurt for a part of the season.