by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Jason Heyward – Outfielder – Atlanta Braves
If it feels like it has been nearly 14 months of waiting for Heyward to reemerge as a 20/20 candidate, that’s because it has. After hitting .269 with 27 HR and 21 SB in 2012 the expectations were high. Instead, he’s done nothing but struggle:
- 2013 – .254 with 14 HR, 38 RBI, 67 R and 2 SB in 382 AB
- 2014 – .209 with 3 HR, 10 RBI, 14 R and 6 SB in 139 AB
It’s definitely nice to see the SB back as a part of his game this season. He also didn’t completely watch his power disappear in 2013 (13.0% HR/FB), a sign that his slow start could quickly rectify itself.
Still, after this long of a struggle why should we expect anything to change? For one, he has had some poor luck (.250 BABIP), while his strikeouts aren’t out of control (20.8%) and he is drawing walks (11.3%). Obviously that’s not enough, but at least it’s something.
Of course, he’s also popping the ball up (11.6% IFFB) a little bit too much for anyone’s liking and hasn’t hit the ball exceptionally hard (18.9% line drive rate). That’s not to say that Heyward can’t turn things around, it’s just that he’s not guaranteed to do so.
We want to believe that he can get himself going atop the Braves lineup, flashing 20/20 stuff and scoring a ton of runs. Unfortunately, while he should improve, it’s just not a given. That’s not to say that he isn’t worth buying, it’s just that you should do so not expecting a savior. If you can get him at a reasonable price it’s worth the gamble, just keep your fingers crossed that things finally click.
Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians – Catcher/Third Baseman
Maybe I’m just a sucker when it comes to Santana, because he’s a perpetual disappointment, but sooner or later the talent is going to shine. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
He has 31 BB vs. 32 K, showing that he has a very good eye at the plate. However, he’s hitting just .145 because when he does make contact it’s been pathetic:
- Line Drive a Rate – 10.5%
- Groundball Rate – 49.5%
- IFFB – 13.2%
He’s long proven to be better than that (18.5% career line drive rate), and there’s no reason to think that he won’t come back from this slow start this season. Maybe he’s not the .275+ hitter we envisioned, but he’s certainly not THIS bad.
He has too good of an eye at the plate and does have pop on his bat. There’s a hot stretch coming, so try to take advantage of a frustrated owner and capitalize on it. Catcher eligible players seeing AB elsewhere are a valued commodity, especially one with his upside.
Source – Fangraphs