by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Nick Swisher – Cleveland Indians
Sometimes being a Nick Swisher owner can be the most frustrating thing. Among the streakiest players in the game, he has now disappointed for the first month and a half of the season by hitting .196 with 3 HR and 16 RBI. Is this the season that he’s not going to recover, or is it just a matter of waiting for the hot streak to come?
He is popping the ball up more than usual, with a 14.8% Infield Fly Ball percentage. Outside of that? The peripherals are right there with his prior production:
- 21.6% strikeout rate – Career mark is 21.4%
- 12.6% walk rate – Career mark is 13.2%
- 23.2% line drive rate – 21.8% or higher each year since 2011
He’s simply having some poor luck (.238 BABIP) and also isn’t generating the power we are accustomed to (5.6% HR/FB). He’s a streaky power hitter, so the latter isn’t a major concern. If you stick with him, you have to assume the power will come.
Given his line drive rate, you also have to think that the luck will turn in time. He may not be a .300 hitter, but he also isn’t a .180 guy. There’s going to be an improvement, we just need to stay patient.
Now is not the time to give up on him, despite being dropped in the batting order. In fact, it’s the time I would kick the tires and see if an owner in your league has grown frustrated and is ready to give him away.
Nick Castellanos – Detroit Tigers
He was a highly touted prospect, but thus far Castellanos has struggled as he’s hitting just .233 with little power (4 HR). While strikeouts have been a little bit of an issue (25.0%), the fact is that he’s hitting the ball better than his average would indicate.
While we may say there is going to be a regression (and there should be), he currently owns a massive 33.0% line drive rate. So when you think a .276 BABIP isn’t unlucky, with the way he’s hit the ball it actually is.
He may not be a major source of power (think 16-20 HR this season, though he should develop into more than that), he should be a much better source of average. He was a .303 hitter in the minor leagues and, while the strikeouts won’t allow him to post that good of an average, is seeing him finish around .265-.270 such a stretch?
With eligibility at both 3B and OF he brings flexibility and upside potential. Don’t lose sight of that.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Reference