by Eric Stashin (aka Rotoprofessor)
He was supposed to be the latest “can’t miss” outfielder, joining Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte to for a dynamic trio. However, after a hot start, things spiraled. So what exactly went wrong?
You can argue that part of it was poor luck with a .277 BABIP despite a decent line drive rate (19.9%) and ample speed. It’s fair, though he also saw his pop up rate explode in the second half, at 18.8%, which certainly worked against him.
That, however, was the least of his problems. Here’s how Brooks Baseball describes his eye at the plate:
- Against All Fastballs – A poor eye
- Against All Breaking Pitches – A league average eye
- Against All Offspeed Pitches – A league average eye
Of course, his fastball average was actually his biggest asset:
- Hard – .252
- Breaking – .234
- Offspeed – .214
So his eye against hard pitches was poor, with 27 K, but he struggled to make good contact against all other pitch types? That just sounds like a recipe for disaster.
To be honest, that’s about the only thing that jumps off the page as an “obvious” issue, and one that can be fixed. His contact rate was fine, with a 17.9% strikeout rate. His walk rate was fine at 9.0%. He also wasn’t swinging for the fences, with a 31.2% fly ball rate, nor was he chasing with a 29.3% O-Swing% (league average is 31.0%).
A career .287 hitter in the minors with a little bit of power and ample speed, there’s a good chance this was simply growing pains. There’s no reason to be overly concerned, yet, or to write him off. He’s going to be back for September (if not before), and there’s a good chance he gets ample playing time as well.
He’s got the same top level upside, so if someone in your league decided to give up on him don’t hesitate. There’s still a good chance that he makes an impact come September.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Brooks Baseball
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