Hold ‘Em or Fold ‘Em: Which Swing & Miss Happy Hitters Are Worth Holding (Baez, Castellanos & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Obviously if a hitter isn’t making contact it’s going to be tough to be productive.  So who is swinging and missing at the highest rate in June (through Monday)?  Who should we be concerned about and who do we expect to bounce back?  Let’s take a look at the five worst marks and try to figure it out:

 

1) Javier Baez – Chicago Cubs – 18.5%
Baez has shown off some power and speed this season, with 14 HR and 13 SB, but he continues to show an alarming approach at the plate (overall he has an 18.2% SwStr% and 47.6% O-Swing%).  Those marks have led to few walks (4.2%) and the strikeout rate is heading in the wrong direction:

  • April – 22.2%
  • May – 23.6%
  • June – 31.5%

He’s also seen his power fall off a cliff (1 HR in June), which shouldn’t be a surprise as there was going to be a correction in his HR/FB (28.0% and 24.0% over the first two months).  It’s all coming together for an ugly package, especially since playing time isn’t a guarantee.

Verdict – Fold

 

2) Joey Gallo – Texas Rangers – 18.2%
Does this number really come as a surprise?  He’s at a 36.5% strikeout rate, right along the lines of his 2017 (36.8%) and career (38.7%) marks.  Gallo is what he is, and that’s a non-factor in AVG (though a better fit for those in OBP formats) who is going to provide ample power (59 HR over the past two years).

It’s interesting that his SwStr% is better overall this year (19.2% in ’17 vs. 18.1% in ’18), though it’s not enough to get excited about.  As long as you selected him knowing exactly what you were going to get, and didn’t expect anything more, you are getting what you paid for.  Considering that, why would you give up now? (Note: I have never been a supporter of Gallo so don’t take the “Hold” as an endorsement)

Verdict – Hold

 

3) Lewis Brinson – Miami Marlins – 17.9%
There were high expectations, but Brinson has been a disaster hitting .177 with 9 HR over 279 PA.  His approach has been bad all season long, with a 17.9% SwStr% and 39.2% O-Swing%, leading to a pathetic 31.2% strikeout rate and 4.3% walk rate.  Opposing pitchers simply aren’t throwing him many fastballs (56.86% “Hard” pitches seen), and his lack of adjustment against anything else stands out (Whiff%):

  • Hard – 13.55%
  • Breaking – 25.21%
  • Offspeed – 27.66%

He needs to make an adjustment, and it’s possible that he’d benefit from a little bit of success at Triple-A.  Regardless, it’s getting harder and harder to believe.

Verdict – Fold

 

4) Teoscar Hernandez – Toronto Blue Jays – 16.5%
He made an initial splash, and while he does have 13 HR things could be heading in the wrong direction.  Just look at the strikeout rate:

  • April – 21.7%
  • May – 22.7%
  • June – 31.4%

He’s needed a .388 BABIP to maintain a strong average in June, something we know he can’t maintain, and it’s helping to mask the obvious issues that are looming.  While we wouldn’t cut him flat out, because the power has been consistent, it makes sense to look into selling high before the average starts to bottom out and the value plummets.

Verdict – Fold (sell high candidate)

 

5) Nicholas Castellanos – Detroit Tigers – 16.0%
He may be the most surprising inclusion on this list.  Of course he owns an overall 15.8% SwSr% (14.0% for his career) and that’s never stopped him from being a useful player before.  Maybe he’s not the .300+ hitter he currently is (a .373 BABIP would’ve told us that as well), but he continues to hit the ball exceptionally hard (29.4% line drive rate) and should see his power tick up a little bit more (10 HR courtesy of an 11.4% HR/FB).  If you can really sell high it may make sense, but there’s too much value to give up.

Verdict – Hold

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

Missed our Top 100 prospect rankings?  Make sure to check it out by clicking here.  

14 comments

  1. Sawyer says:

    How do you feel about Odor? He has done better as of late. Are the underlying stats positive, or will he continue to struggle to get back to relevance?

  2. Dman says:

    how would you rank these players for the rest of the season, travis shaw, adam jones, ian desmond, matt olson? i own shaw and jones and thinking of dropping one of them for desmond or olson…

    thanks

  3. The Old Professor says:

    As Baez crushes two more bombs on his way to a 30/30 season as a shortstop.. unreal how much people hate on the most productive player in the cubs lineup

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      The strikeouts will catch up to him and prior to yesterday he hasn’t been hitting for much power. I’d still sell high

  4. dude says:

    In a keeper league ($245 salary cap for 15 players, with all others thrown back in off-season).

    I have a $7 Senzel.

    My Herrera got traded, Giles has mostly lost his job, and Viz is hurt.

    I’ve been offered Knebel for Senzel or Kimbrel for Senzel and Herrrera. Am I overthinking things in leaning towards Knebel? My thought is that Herrera has the potential to takeover for Doolittle is he gets hurt (50/50 chance?) and Knebel is only a tier down from Kimbrel.

    Help!!! =)

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I don’t think that’s a crazy sentiment at all honestly. Trading Senzel is always going to be tough, especially for a closer (and I wouldn’t want to), but if that puts you over the top to win today you do what you have to

      • dude says:

        Which trade would you lean towards?

        Knebel for Senzel

        or

        Kimbrel for Senzel and Herrera?

        Hate losing Senzel, but I’m in 1st, but losing ground in saves. I have a lot of young talent, so I can afford to trade him for a title.

        • Rotoprofessor says:

          I’m not sure that I’d hold out that Herrera is going to get the job (though Doolittle’s injury history it makes sense). That said Knebel isn’t guaranteed every opportunity with Hader in the mix, so I’d lean towards the Kimbrel deal

  5. Jay says:

    H2H Points drop Kyle Seager for Max Mucy?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Not if you are looking for power, as Muncy should slow in that regard. That said, there’s probably similar value overall

  6. Jay says:

    H2H Points drop Kyle Seager for Max Muncy?

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