by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Just how much leash do we give a player off to a slow start? Is now the time to give up? Is there time for them to turn it around? Let’s take a look at two players who we felt would be overvalued prior to the season, but have still fallen short of expectations:
Danny Santana – Minnesota Twins
Santana was one of those players we were skeptical about entering the season and, needless to say, they appear to be legitimate. Entering Thursday he was hitting .221 with 0 HR, 11 RBI, 21 R and 4 SB over 172 AB.
Sure he’s hitting he ball relatively hard (23.5% line drive rate) and you could argue that his .304 BABIP is a bit unlucky. However, is that enough to get us to buy? Nope and let me count the ways as to why:
- For a player with little power, his 26.0% strikeout rate is simply unacceptable and will help keep him from hitting for a strong average (don’t cite last season, when he benefited from a .405 BABIP)
- He fails to draw walks, with a 1.1% walk rate, so if he’s not getting on base he won’t be able to utilize his speed
- There’s little power and his 251.590 average distance on non-groundballs helps support his 0 HR
While he was impressive last season, Santana’s issues are widespread and virtually remove all fantasy appeal. He certainly isn’t a buy low candidate and if you own him he’s more of a player to stick on your bench and hope he figures it out.
Matt Kemp – San Diego Padres
Were you someone hoping that his strong end to 2014 would translate to a monster 2015? Clearly those opinions were a bit misguided, as he entered play on Thursday hitting .247 with 1 HR and 5 SB.
While we’d have expected more, one key numbers you need to remember from his second half surge:
HR/FB – 26.2%
That was not likely to be repeated, but the fact that he moved to San Diego made it nearly impossible. The fact that he’s opened the season with an average distance on non-groundballs of 254.398 simply makes it that much worse.
As it is his fly ball rate has fallen to under 30% (29.3%), making the power hard to come by. Throw in the strikeouts (23.2%), and the lack of power also eliminates all of his average upside as well.
Barring a significant change there’s little reason to think that anything is going to change. While he should produce a little bit more power, don’t expect him to match many preseason expectations.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Heat Maps