by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Nearly three months into the season our preseason rankings/projections are fairly meaningless. It doesn’t matter what we thought would happen, we need to look at what’s actually happened and try to determine if a player will maintain or improve upon his performance. With that in mind, let’s take a look at two players who we had high expectations for entering the year, but have fallen flat thus far:
Eric Hosmer – San Diego Padres – First Baseman
His first season in San Diego has been a disaster, hitting .256 with 9 HR over 340 AB. There are several issues in the underlying metrics, and you have to wonder if he’s going to be able to overcome any (or all) of them:
- Groundball Rate – 60.9%
- Strikeout Rate – 22.3%
- SwStr% – 11.9%
Hosmer has always been a more groundball-centric hitter (54.0%), but this represents a career worst mark after moving to a pitcher friendly ballpark. That’s a terrible combination, and even if he gets closer to his career norm (which he was over the first two months of the season, with groundball rates of 56.3% and 54.8%), expecting a power surge is misguided (6 HR over the first two months).
As for the strikeout rate, could it be the move from the AL to the NL? Perhaps, though he was at 19.8% in 2016 when he hit .266. It’s starting to look like he’s that player, with a little less power, and that’s not someone we’re looking to invest in.
Verdict – Ditch (though drop, but in shallower formats he’s cuttable)
Josh Harrison – Pittsburgh Pirates – Second/Third Baseman
He hit 16 HR with 12 SB last season, but that feels like a lifetime ago as he has 4 HR and 3 SB over his first 237 PA. His 10.0% HR/FB from a year ago seems like the aberration, not the new rule, as his 6.0% in ’18 is right along the lines of his career 5.7% and his 35.8% fly ball rate doesn’t scream slugger.
He does have four straight seasons of 10+ SB, but never more than 19. Considering how little he’s running thus far, is that something to hang your hat on?
A career .279 hitter, he’s hitting just .260 as he continues to chase outside the strike zone (40.8% O-Swing%) leading to weaker contact and an inability to post an elevated BABIP. What about this makeup is something that we’d want to buy in any format?
Verdict – Ditch (can stash in 14+ team formats, but anything shallower he’s a tough sell)
Tanner Roark – Washington Nationals – Starting Pitcher
There were high hopes for Roark entering the year, but he currently owns a 4.76 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. His skills across the board have been pedestrian, at best:
- Strikeouts – 7.63 K/9
- Control – 3.36 BB/9
- Groundballs – 42.3%
Last year’s increased swing and miss stuff (10.1%) looks like an aberration, as his 8.6% in ’18 matches his career mark. Couple that with the control and home run issues (1.23 HR/9) and where’s the upside?
He’s now allowed 4+ ER in four of his past five starts, with 13 ER over 11.0 IP in his past two starts. You can argue he’s better than this, but the luck metrics don’t indicate an improvement (.298 BABIP, 71.7% strand rate) and the skills seem mediocre. The Nationals season is sinking, and Roark appears to be the epitome of the problems.
Verdict – Ditch (in most formats)
Source – Fangraphs