We’ve reached the midpoint of the baseball season and it is time for fantasy owners to start making some tough decisions. Who do we give up on? Who is worth trying to acquire on the cheap? Let’s start looking at some of the disappointing players from around the league and draw some conclusions (all stats are through July 3):
Logan Morrison – Miami Marlins
After producing 23 HR in 462 AB in 2011, along with upside in the average department thanks to a .265 BABIP, there was a lot of hope for 2012. Unfortunately, the numbers have been pretty poor. The power is down, with just 9 HR and a significant drop in his HR/FB (18.1% to 11.4%). As if that wasn’t enough, his BABIP has fallen even further, down to .253, helping him to a .238 average.
It appears things started to improve in June, however, as a HR/FB up to 15.2% that helped him to a 5 HR month. However, it wasn’t all positive. With a fly ball rate up to 48.5%, he posted a horrid .234 BABIP and a .238 average.
It appears that, after posting an impressive line drive rate in April (28.3%) without the power, he has slowly tried to alter things at the plate. In May the line drive rate fell to 10.8% while in June it was 14.7%. With those types of numbers it isn’t surprising that the average is continuing to suffer.
He needs to find a balance and, until he does, he’s going to continue to have trouble. Given what he’s shown over the past 18 months, how can we really say that it will happen in 2012? Sooner or later things are likely to click, but it’s hard to predict that it’s going to happen too quickly.
If I had to bet I would say he’s going to be a decent source of power in the second half, but at the expense of his average. Seeing him hit around .250-.260 with 10-15 HR after the All-Star Break would be a solid prediction. If those numbers have value to you, then he’s a player to target. If not, then I’d move on, though he still holds a ton of potential and could outperform the numbers I’m laying out there. Use those as a floor to determine if the gamble is worth it.
Jake Arrieta – Baltimore Orioles
He has actually been pitching significantly better of late, though he has tossed a stinker in from time to time (like allowing 5 ER over 3.2 IP to the Indians on June 29). He had allowed just 6 ER in 20.0 IP in his prior three starts and 4 of the runs came off one swing from Ike Davis (the lone mistake he made in his start against the Mets).
Overall he has posted a 5.81 ERA and 1.38 WHIP on the season, but has shown good strikeout stuff (7.92 K/9) and solid control (2.58 BB/9). It’s the latter number that is very important for Arrieta, as his control has always been a problem. It has also been consistent all season long, between 2.51 and 2.67 each month, making it all the more believable.
On the year he has posted a 24.3% line drive rate, a number that has actually gotten progressively worse by month at 23.1% to 26.3% to 28.6%. That is a worrisome number, because it gives credence to the .321 BABIP he’s allowed. It does not, however, make his 60.4% strand rate more believable. That is a number that he should be able to improve upon.
While we’d like to see opponents hitting him a little bit softer, he does generate a good groundball rate (43.3%), is showing good control and has strikeout stuff. That’s a great combination and, when you throw in the potential for improved luck, it is possible that Arrieta finally puts it all together.
He’s a low-end option at this point, but one that could ultimately make the difference in your fantasy success. I’d be buying him in all formats.