Second Half Power Decliners: Whose Power Regression Is Concerning & Whose Can Be Ignored (Benintendi & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There are always players who have extreme changes from the first half of the season to the second, so fantasy owners are left wondering which is for real?  There are always numerous factors that go into the changes, which complicates the decisions.  Let’s take a look at the players who saw the biggest drop in their HR/FB during 2018 and break down each player:

Player
HR/FB (1st Half)
HR/FB (2nd Half)
Difference
Ian Desmond37.50%9.80%(27.70%)
Shin-Soo Choo22.20%9.40%(12.80%)
J.D. Martinez33.70%23.30%(10.40%)
Jose Ramirez21.00%10.80%(10.20%)
Andrew Benintendi12.70%3.30%(9.40%)

The Drops To Ignore – J.D. Martinez & Jose Ramirez – Is anyone going to question just how good these two are?  While their power “dropped” as the season progressed, it’s no reason for red flags.  They are among the elite and are going to remain as such.

 

Andrew Benintendi
With those two off the table, Benintendi is clearly the biggest name on the list.  After hitting 14 HR in the first half he plummeted to 2 HR after the All-Star Break.  That corresponded to a drop in his fly ball rate (38.7% to 30.6%), though the first half numbers were much closer to his career marks (37.0% FB%, 10.0% HR/FB).

The bigger concern is that he lacked Hard% all season, with a 28.0%.  That’s a highly concerning number, though his approach was steady (7.6% SwStr%, 28.4% O-Swing%) and he consistently used the entire field (Oppo% of 28.5% and 27.8%).  That should help to support an improvement in his Hard%, as well as a rebound in his power.

It was a frustrating second half, to say the least, but not one that cripples his value.

 

Ian Desmond
He’s been a bitter disappointment since joining Colorado.  It was easy to chalk up his 2017 struggles to his wrist injury, but what now?  He continues to be a groundball machine (62.0%) with a lot of swing and miss to his game (13.1% SwStr%).  While there should be room for improvement in his second half HR/FB, we all know his 37.5% first half mark is unsustainable.  The problem is if he’s going to maintain the groundball rate, because even getting back to the 18-20% HR/FB the power simply wouldn’t be enough.  In deeper formats maybe he’s worth a late round flier, but there’s also the risk that he loses his job completely and becomes more of a bench player.

 

Shin-Soo Choo
While he exploded for 18 HR in the first half, we all know that’s not the player that he is.  He’s consistently been a 20-24 HR hitter and there’s no reason to think that anything is going to change.  He’s not a 22.2% HR/FB player, and he’s further capped by a fly ball rate that hasn’t exceeded 30% since 2011.  He’s a valuable OBP player, but one that doesn’t bring significant power or speed so don’t be swayed by the unsustainable first half.

Source – Fangraphs

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Make sure to check out all of our 2019 projections:

Player
Date Posted
Dylan Bundy10/22/18
Foltynewicz, Mike10/09/18
Gibson, Kyle10/29/18
Hoskins, Rhys10/16/18
Hosmer, Eric11/05/18
Wheeler, Zack10/02/18

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