Emotion is both a blessing and a curse. Without it, one would not be able to experience the full gamut of what life has to offer. Because of it, though, drives many of us to do questionable things. For example, look how many manage their investment portfolios: sell the winners and hold onto the losers, for the fear of losing gains and hoping losses turn into winners. That’s completely backwards. The same principles apply to the fantasy baseball universe, with one fundamental difference. Variance. When Amazan hits a homerun on quarterly earnings, it’s a no doubter. If Mike Trout hits a ball that’s headed for the stands, there’s a chance it goes foul….or a fielder robs him….or a gust of wind knocks the speed and trajectory of the ball down. Things happen within a small sample size which are not necessarily indicative of past, present, or future results. With that said, when people throw in the towel and capitulate, that could be the sign of a bottom. Over the past week, Kolten Wong has been dropped in 12.9% of ESPN leagues, to bring his ownership to 51.6%. Is now the time to be open to Kolten?
Wong’s 2019 season couldn’t have gotten off to a better start, as he hit 2 home runs in the season opener. Since then, he’s only hit 2 in 39 games. If I track the batting average over the season, it’s gone straight down. Well, not straight down, as there were 9 games in which it ticked up, but the trend has been sloped in the Wong direction.
I’ll break up things into three periods: Period 1 (3/28 – 4/13), Period 2 (4/14 – 4/30), and Period 3 (5/1 – 5/12).
The hard hit rate has dropped precipitously. Any wonder why there’s been a drop in power? I see some “encouraging” signs in the above numbers, though. The BABIP is low, so he’s bound for some positive regression, as he has a career .285 mark. He’s still making good contact, isn’t flailing away at pitches outside the zone, and the swinging strike rate is where it should be. Look at the HR/FB rate. His career mark is 7.7%. Statcast data shows the launch angle at a career-high 13%. The barrel rate is 2.8%, but he’s getting under the ball a career-high 33%. Wong is still elevating the ball and hitting fly balls, so with some luck, more of those balls should leave the yard.
The final thing I looked at were the splits: lefty/righty and home/away. Wong has a career .246/.304/.325 slash against left-handed pitching. So far this season, .179/.303/.286. I’ll side with the career numbers here. On the road, he’s performed very well, so I’d expect that to come back down, but he’s been atrocious at home with a .167/.287/.222 slash. His career numbers at home are .252/.327/.393.
Now, it sucks that he often bats 8th in the lineup, one spot ahead of the pitcher, but I see good times ahead. A potential 10/10 player who doesn’t strike out much and is likely due for some positive regression? Sign me up.