Forget about the entire season, which players have been struggling with poor luck more recently? Today, let’s take a look at which hitters have posted the worst BABIP over the past 30 days and determine who may be due to catch fire after the break.
Victor Martinez – .158 – He’s hitting .294 for the season, which seems good and all, but remember that on June 17 he was hitting .345. He’s had just one multi-hit game since then, picking up 8 hits over his past 21 games. He’s a career .298 hitter, including three consecutive .300 years from ’05-’07. Baseball is a game of averages and his season is the prime example of that. Look for him to heat back up at some point, but likely maintain his overall average in the season’s second half. His luck is going to turn, but I wouldn’t expect an extended “scorching” hot streak, however.
Rick Ankiel – .179 – He’s not known for his average, so the fact that he’s hitting .215 is not his biggest issue. The five home runs on the season is more of a concern for fantasy owners (considering his nearly static fly ball rate), but at least you can take solace in knowing that he should rebound soon in the average department. Is he a strong buy low candidate? It really depends what you need. He’s not a .215 hitter and easily could raise his season’s average to .240-.250. Is that enough to convince you he’s worth owning without the power? He’s really more of a depth outfielder to be stashed away. If you have room on your bench and can acquire him for pennies on the dollar, it certainly couldn’t hurt.
Andre Ethier – .192 – It has been an up-and-down season for Ethier, getting off to a hot start with Manny Ramirez in the line-up then going into a deep slump once he was banished for 50 games. He finished the first half strong, going 6-20 in his final four games, giving hope to the owners who had started to lose some faith in him. Considering his career .290 average, there’s little doubt that he’s a better hitter then he’s shown recently. Last season he hit .335 in the second half. In ’07 it was .286. Needless to say, his luck is going to change, it’s just a matter of time.
Lyle Overbay – .196 – The real question is, does anybody care? He’s a career .279 hitter, so yeah there is some upside (he’s hitting .250 on the season) but he’s never going to be considered among the elite first baseman in the game. He’s a potentially solid option for the deepest of formats, but for all others you are better off keeping your distance.
Nelson Cruz – .197 – Power is the name of his game (as evidenced by his Home Run Derby performance), but he did hit .330 in a small sampling last season. We all knew that was a bit of an aberration, however, buoyed by a .388 BABIP. He’s hitting .263 on the season, with a .272 BABIP overall. I certainly could see his average improving from that, but I wouldn’t be looking a similar performance as he put up in 2008.
Ian Kinsler – .202 – From April 22 until the break he went 63-295 (.214), so it is not like the past 30 days is anything new. It’s unbelievable how far he’s fallen, hitting an even .250 on the season. This is the same player who hit .319 (based on a .339 BABIP) on the season last year, though it is worth noting that he hit just .258 in the second half. His overall BABIP is .241 and there’s little doubt that his luck has got to change in the second half, but given his struggles for the past year it is no guarantee. He’s still one of the top 2B, given the power (20 HR) and speed (18 SB) he’s posted. I would expect him to get the average going with a strong run somewhere, but it’s certainly possible he’s not a .300 hitter.
Jeremy Hermida – .203 – He’s only a .264 career hitter, so why would we think anything of his .255 average? Basically, he’s had a few hot streaks and a few cold streaks. The past 30 days was just a cold streak and nothing more. I wouldn’t bother considering him as a buy low candidate.
Jay Bruce – .206 – Given his broken wrist, keeping him out of action for the next 6-8 weeks, he’s obviously of little value for a while.
Placido Polanco – .221 – He’s a career .303 hitter, so the fact that he’s hitting .256 on the year is a big sign saying that if you need help in average, he’s a potentially good buy right now. The fact that it’s been a season long issue, not having his average over .273 since late April, is a little bit disconcerting. Since 1999 he’s never had an overall BABIP of less then .291. Currently, he’s at .263. Better luck is most certainly in his future, so if you are in need of help in the average department in deep formats, he’s worth considering. If you need HR, RBI or SB, however, don’t bother.
Kouske Fukudome – .222 – He was hitting .300 as late as June 6, so this really has been a more recent decline. Is he a sure bet to turn things back around? Remember last season he hit .279 in the first half and .217 in the second half. I wouldn’t completely give up on him, but I certainly wouldn’t depend on him either. Given his recent strong of poor luck, there is hope that things get going back in the right direction.
Which of these players do you think are due for a strong turnaround after the All-Star Break? Which would you rather ignore?
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