by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We are now two full months into the season, so we are starting to get a better feel of which players are worth buying and which should be ignored. Here are two examples of players who haven’t fully lived up to their potential that could be worth targeting in all formats:
Pedro Alvarez – Third Baseman – Pittsburgh Pirates
On the surface you would think that Alvarez was producing just as we would’ve expected, hitting .216 with 10 HR over the first two months of the season. All power, no average, just as we figured he’d be… However, as you dig a little bit deeper into the numbers there’s actually a lot of promise.
For one, the strikeouts are down significantly. After posting strikeout rates north of 30% in each of his first four Major League seasons, he’s currently at 22.0%. It doesn’t appear to be a complete aberration, either, as he is currently posting a career best SwStr%:
- 2010 – 12.9%
- 2011 – 13.1%
- 2012 – 13.6%
- 2013 – 16.4%
- 2014 – 11.6%
He’s also drawing walks at a career best mark of 10.3%, showing a better command of the strike zone in general. The biggest concern in the average department would be his significant decline in line drive rate, currently at 12.7%. It is something to watch, as you have to wonder if he’s forfeiting a little bit in his effort to make contact more regularly (career line drive rate of 17.9%).
However, there is promise in the underlying average metrics overall. There also is significantly more upside in the power numbers as he is currently sporting a 16.4% HR/FB (21.4% for his career). The potential for a better average and more power? Sign me up.
It’s hard to consider him a buy low candidate, because Alvarez’ owner was not going to be expecting a viable average to begin with. However, kick the tires and see what the cost is. It likely will be worth paying market value, because he should be in for more production moving forward.
I’d rather own Alvarez over Matt Carpenter, Anthony Rendon (basically any 3B outside of the Top 5)
Domonic Brown – Outfielder – Philadelphia Phillies
When you planned on having Brown on your team you knew you were going to have to deal with some hot and cold stretches. Unfortunately, all we’ve gotten is cold over two full months of the season. He’s hitting .201 with 4 HR, 27 RBI, 15 R and 4 SB, with rumors starting to circulate that he could ultimately see time at Triple-A to try and fix his issues.
However, there actually is a little bit of promise in the numbers. His strikeout and walk rates are nearly identical to his 2013 marks (18.0%/7.5%) and his line drive rate has been trending in the right direction:
- April – 14.7%
- May – 17.3%
His overall BABIP still sits at a pathetic .228, however, meaning there’s definite room for improvement in the average department.
Brown has been putting too many balls on the ground, with a 53.0% groundball rate, and he’s also seen his HR/FB drop (19.3% to 8.7%). He proved last season that he could get as hot as anyone, however, and he really is just one hot streak away from impressive numbers.
Even without the power, there should be better numbers moving forward. Yes, acquiring him does take a little bit of a leap of faith, but you also haven’t had to endure all of his struggles thus far.
I’d rather own Brown over Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter
Source – Fangraphs