by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Buy low… Sell high… It’s an easy philosophy, in theory, but not always one that is followed by the masses. Knowing whose value is on the rise and whose is falling is one of the biggest keys, so let’s take a look at a few first base eligible players and try to determine who we can trust and who could disappoint moving forward:
Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves
It’s not that he hasn’t been producing since returning from the DL (broken wrist), but the power is down:
- Pre-Injury – HR every 9.6 AB
- Post-Injury – HR every 20.6 AB
We are always concerned about a wrist injury, and this quote courtesy of David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (click here for the article) puts further doubt:
“I talked to Dr. (Gary) Lourie the other day, and he says it’s going to be a whole offseason (before it’s back to normal),” Freeman said. “I have lost a lot of strength. I’ve hit some balls that I thought were home runs, and they’re not going.”
Obviously no one is about to cut bait on Freeman, but he’s unlikely to be a stud over the remainder of the season. Knock your expectations down a tier or two.
Stock – Down
Rhys Hoskins – Philadelphia Phillies
He hit his sixth home run yesterday, and there was never a question about his power potential. What’s interesting is that he entered Tuesday without any additional extra base hits. While being a little bit homer happy is a concern, considering a 51.6% fly ball rate, and he will likely see a regression in his home run rate (31.3% HR/FB) there’s a lot to like.
Despite the power stroke he’s been unlucky, with a .154 BABIP despite a 25.8% line drive rate. He’s also shown a tremendous command of the strike zone, with a 4.6% SwStr% and 26.7% O-Swing%. Sure it’s in a very limited sample size, but with his worst Whiff% being 13.04% against offspeed pitches all of the signs are promising.
He has shown the makeup of a .280+ hitter with plus power, and that makes him a potentially Top 10 option over the remainder of the season. The fact that he’ll also gain outfield eligibility, though he should step into Tommy Joseph’s spot at some point, only adds to his appeal.
Stock – Rising
Dominic Smith – New York Mets
Called up around the same time as Hoskins, Smith has gotten off to a bit of an inauspicious start. His pate discipline was supposed to be his strongest skill, but he’s looked terrible thus far:
- SwStr% – 14.6%
- O-Swing% – 43.3%
It’s not that he’s swinging for the fences (31.0% fly ball rate), but it’s still a disappointing start. The fact that he’s also sitting against southpaws knocks him down another peg. We’d expect him to turn things around and get hot at some point, so keep him stashed if you own him, but if he can’t refine his approach quickly he’s going to regress into a cut candidate.
Stock – Falling
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out our Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects by clicking here!