by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There are many players around the league who are struggling, including two of our preseason Top 6 second baseman. The question is if they are going to rebound, or has the time come to cut bait and move on? Let’s take a look:
Dee Gordon – Miami Marlins
Gordon is not going to provide any power, so his value needs to stem from three categories: Average, Runs and Stolen Bases. We all know that the speed is there, and he’s stolen 11 bases on the season (tying him for second in the league, behind only Billy Hamilton). That does give him value, but instead of a three-category contributor he’s looking like a one-trick pony:
- Average – .255
- Runs – 19
While he’s running when he gets on base, those opportunities have been limited. The owner of a subpar .305 OBP, he’s never been a player to draw many walks (4.3% in ’17, 4.8% for his career). Unless he can turn his average around, it’s hard to imagine the runs scored suddenly growing.
In regards to his average there is reason to believe. For a player with a 23.0% line drive rate and ample speed, does a .298 BABIP seem believable? We aren’t going to suggest that he will match his .383 BABIP from ’15, but he should see that number increase. With an ability to make consistent contact (13.4% strikeout rate) his average will rise. With that improvement there will be more opportunities to steal bases, as well as more opportunities to score runs.
While some will want to write him off due to last season’s suspension and the subsequent struggles, there will be better days ahead. He may look like a one category producer today, but he should significantly improve his numbers in short order.
Ian Kinsler – Detroit Tigers
It’s been a highly disappointing season, as he’s limped to a .233 average with 3 HR and 1 SB. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he hasn’t been able to match last year’s 28 HR pace, but it’s fair to wonder if the power surge got into his head. After watching his fly ball rate rise in the second half of ’16 (46.3%), he’s seen the number increase even further in ’17 (47.5%).
He’s also been popping the ball up a significant amount, with an 18.8% popup rate, which also will limit his average potential. While he’s not striking out a lot, which helps, how much upside is there to his .255 BABIP given the other numbers (including a 19.8% line drive rate)?
Should things get better? Probably a little bit, but it’s no guarantee. If he continues swinging for the fences there isn’t going to be an improvement, and as a player who no longer can steal 20+ bases the value is going to be minimal. At this point there’s little reason to be targeting hm.
Source – Fangraphs
Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:
|First Base||April 26|
|Second Base||May 1|
|Third Base||May 4|