Will A Big August Translate Into A Strong September For Christian Yelich & Kennys Vargas?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Does a strong August mean that a player is locked in to finish with a big September as well?  Not necessarily, so let’s look at two potentially appealing players who enjoyed August success to get an idea of their September outlook:

 

Christian Yelich – Outfielder – Miami Marlins
Yelich is coming off a big August, where he hit .339 with 1 HR, 11 RBI, 18 R and 3 SB. The speed has been consistent all season (he’s had either 3 or 4 SB in each month), but can we expect the other numbers to continue?

The quick answer is no, as his extended hot streak is bound to come to an end. Not only was he lucky in August, with a .439 BABIP, but that was preceded by a .413 mark in July. Now, consider that in August his line drive rate was 20.7% and you realize how much luck was truly involved in the numbers. Yes he has speed and should be able to maintain an elevated BABIP, but this kind of number is extreme.

Throw in a consistently elevated strikeout rate, at 21.3% in August and 21.7% overall, and there are definitely reasons to be concerned about his average. He hit .274 in the first half and that would be a much more believable number for September (and he could easily come in below that).

Considering that it’s only a decent average, coupled with solid speed (though he hasn’t shown the proficiency to pile on the SB) and little power (a 63.1% groundball rate tells us that) and there is no reason to feel obligated to play him. While he’s going well he’s worth utilizing and is definitely worth owning, just don’t make the mistake of locking him into your lineup right now. Ultimately that could backfire.

 

Kennys Vargas – First Baseman – Minnesota Twins
He was on fire in his first month in the Majors, hitting .309 with 4 HR, 24 RBI and 17 R. Of course he also struck out a ton (27.5%), didn’t draw many walks (3.1%) and benefited from a .400 BABIP (despite a 19.1% line drive rate)

Since 2011 his minor league strikeout rate had been 20.3%, though it was 16.8% in 2014.  He also made the jump directly from Double-A adding to the risk. While he could improve slightly, it’s not a surprise to see some lofty strikeout numbers. Couple that with a 14.2% minor league line drive rate (.287 hitter in he minors since 2011) and there’s little doubt that his average could easily plummet.

Can he maintain the power, however? Probably not, considering his 19.8% HR/OFB at Double-A this season and 26.7% in the Majors. There’s no question that he can contribute a few home runs, but a slow down is likely in order.

Average regression? Power regression? This doesn’t sound too promising. He’s a player to use while he’s hot, but unless you are in a keeper/dynasty league be prepared to cut bait.

Sources – Fangraphs, Minor League Central

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