What should you do with struggling players? Should you hold out hope that he figures it out and start producing? Or should you cut bait and run because there’s little hope? There’s obviously no simple answer, so let’s take a look:
Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
Posey has often been viewed as one of the better offensive catchers in baseball, though it’s been a different story in 2019 as the results have been downright ugly:
.246 (43-175), 3 HR, 18 RBI, 18 R, 0 SB
Things have been trending in the wrong direction, especially in terms of his power. You can actually argue that the power has “rebounded” to an extent this season, after he hit just 5 HR in 398 AB a year ago. That said is anyone going to get excited by these types of HR/FB marks:
- 2016 – 9.8%
- 2017 – 8.4%
- 2018 – 4.7%
- 2019 – 6.4%
So if we are going to accept that he’s a non-factor in terms of power, that is going to also influence his average. Sure he is willing to use the entire field (27.9% Oppo%), but he has little speed and hasn’t hit the ball with significant authority (34.0% Hard%). Maybe he sees a slight increase in his .278 BABIP, but he’s also chasing outside the strike zone more than ever before (33.3% O-Swing%, compared to a 27.7% career mark).
Does any of that sound overly promising? There should be better days ahead, but Posey is far from being one of the elite at his position. Depending on the format, he suddenly looks disposable as opposed to a must use.
Verdict – Droppable (in shallower formats)
Nomar Mazara – Texas Rangers
We keep waiting for the breakout (and yesterday’s 505 foot blast tells us why), but it never seems to happen. On the surface he appears to be the same player that he was a year ago, hitting .265 with 9 HR, 39 RBI and 40 R over 260 AB (prior to yesterday). He continues to put the ball on the ground a bit too much (50.0% groundball rate), and while he’s hitting the ball harder (45.0% Hard%) it’s not quite enough given the regression in his approach:
- SwStr% – 11.5%
- O-Swing% – 38.6%
That regression is even more confusing when you realize his Whiff% is right on par with what he’s done in the past (2018 // 2019):
- Hard – 8.63% // 9.67%
- Breaking Ball – 17.19% // 20.74%
- Offspeed – 12.62% // 8.59%
So if he’s going to maintain the strikeout rate (21.1%), with the Hard% and the potential for a little bit more power… There are a lot of ifs, but there’s also enough upside that we need to pay attention. At the very least he’ll continue to be a solid player, but it’s not impossible that he puts it together and really starts to produce some big numbers.
Verdict – Hold
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball