At this point in the season is it still possible to call someone a slow starter? Two and a half months is a lot more than a “slow start”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t opportunities to buy low and capitalize either. Let’s start looking at a few options and determine who we should be quickly trying to buy and who is only a slight possibility if the price is right:
Rickie Weeks – Milwaukee Brewers – Second Baseman
When we drafted Weeks prior to the season we all had a good idea of what we were going to get:
- Injury prone player
- Risky average hitter
- Should provide power
Well, Weeks has been healthy thus far this season but that’s about all we can point to as a positive. Hitting .184 with 5 HR, 19 RBI, 22 R and 6 SB in 234 AB the season has been a bitter disappointment.
He’s posted a 16.8% line drive rate, which would be the fourth time in five seasons where he has posted a rate under 17%. In other words it’s not a disturbingly low number. While he’s posted BABIP over .300 each of the previous three seasons, given the line drive rate you wouldn’t consider it a lock that he significantly improves on his current .253 BABIP.
Throw in the fact that his strikeout rate is up significantly, at 28.7%, and his HR/FB is down at 8.8% and you get an understanding as to why the average is as low as it is. You would think that he should be able to improve on the numbers, but you also can’t assume that he’s going to go on a tremendous tear either.
He should hit for a little bit more power, considering his 13.8% career HR/FB and being over 16% each of the previous three seasons. However, the average could easily continue to hurt you.
If I could get him for pennies on the dollar than sure, but otherwise I’m not rushing out to acquire him. The line drive rate and strikeout rate cause some serious concerns and makes you wonder how big of a rebound is coming.
Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians – Catcher
He’s supposed to be the premier hitting catcher in the league, but through Tuesday he has hardly lived up to the billing:
- .233 average
- 5 HR
His 29 RBI and 28 R are nice numbers for a catcher, as is his 15.9% walk rate and the fact that he is in the lineup on most days (thanks to seeing time at 1B and DH). However, we can’t overlook those two glaring numbers.
However, there is plenty of reasons to think that the average is going to rise significantly. I know he batted .239 a year ago, but he is currently posting a 21.0% line drive rate (he was at 15.4% in ’11 and is at 22.2% in June) yet his BABIP is just .276 (.250 in June). His strikeout rate is also nearly equal to what he did a year ago, at 20.3%.
In other words, the signs point to a dramatic swing in the average department.
As for the power, you would think that he would be able to improve upon his current 9.3% HR/FB (he posted a 16.0% mark in ’11). You also have to keep in mind that, while he did hit 5 HR in April in 2011, he had just 1 in May (giving him 6 in the first two months. Through June 16, 2011 he had just 6 HR, before he finally got things really going.
So, there is a very good chance that he turns the power up before you know it just like he did a year ago.
I still fully believe that he is the premier hitting catcher in the game, it’s just a matter of time until he puts his skills on display. He is a big-time buy for me in all formats.