Time to Buy on Dodgers Justin Turner and Padres Wil Myers
Names, Numbers and Fantasy Baseball Insights
What MLB players are ready to turn it around? Who is benefiting from good luck at the plate? Looking over analytics and statistics we can target players to buy low, and those to sell high on because of their inflated values.
Is Justin Turner’s Wrist Slowing Him Down?
After a great 2017 season, Turner has seen a dip in production so far in 2018. His batting average is down .072, and has not had the same power that we have seen over the past three seasons. The easy way of pointing out why he is struggling is to say that his wrist still is not 100 percent. It does not seem as much an issue to manager Dave Roberts, who told the Orange County Register that Turner told him it doesn’t really bother him while hitting, and it mostly bothers him when backhanding a ground ball. By the numbers, it appears that Turner is having bad luck. His BABIP of .253 is a career low, and down significantly from his career average of .314. He is still hitting a good rate of fly balls, at 49 percent. The issue is that the home run to fly ball rate is down to six percent, which is the lowest since 2013 with the Mets. I expect Turner to see positive regression on his current numbers, and he is a great buy low candidate. If the wrist injury is holding him back, it will only get healthier as the season goes on.
Eric Thames’ First Half Surge
The home run hitting phenom is hitting for great power again in 2018. The Isolated Power of .320 is one of the best in baseball, but we have seen this story with Thames before. In the first half of last season, Thames had a blistering .314 ISO and had his strikeout rate was down at a manageable 27 percent rate. However, in the second half pitchers started to figure him out. He struck out 33 percent of the time, and saw his ISO drop to .210. He is a very inconsistent hitter, and I believe pitchers will start to get the better of him as the season goes on. The main areas that seem unsustainable are his strikeout rate, and fly ball rate. The strikeout rate of 26 percent is similar to the beginning of last season, but likely won’t continue. His 51 percent fly ball rate is up 10 percent from last season, and will drop as pitchers try to limit his home run ability. Thames has yet to deliver a consistently great season, and I don’t see it happening in 2018. Sell him to an owner that is in love with his home run upside.
Is Wil Myers Ready to Produce?
After being on the shelf for most of this season, Myers is a hitter people might have forgotten about. In his last two seasons, he was very productive, posting 28 and 30 home runs, to go along with 28 and 20 stolen bases. The 74 RBI were not great last year, but he has an improved lineup around him this year. With just 15 games under his belt in 2018, his numbers have not been great, but could be used as an opportunity to buy him at lower cost. He is still smoking the ball at a 48 percent hard hit clip, which is an elite rate. That ranks alongside the likes of Aaron Judge and J.D. Martinez. At 27 years old, Myers is in the prime of his career, and an overlooked player due to the team he plays for. Myers can get it done in multiple categories, making him a perfect target in trades before he starts to turn it on.
Ryan Braun’s Bad Luck at The Plate
It has not been a great season so far for Ryan Braun. He is hitting .239/.292/.431, which are all career lows for him. Another career low for Braun is his BABIP of .269, which is down a good amount from his .329 career average. He seems to be another player suffering from bad luck as his expected wOBA is .048 higher than his wOBA, and his expected batting average is .038 higher than his batting average. His luck at the plate should normalize as the season goes on. Despite his low OBP, he has seven stolen bases and can get past 15 stolen bases if he stays healthy. Another issue this season has been injuries that have popped up. He has had calf tightness, back tightness, and a thumb injury. If he can stay fresh for a longer stretch, he can settle into a groove and start seeing positive regression with his numbers. Entrenched in a great Brewers lineup, I would trade for Braun.
Who is the best shortstop in MLB?
4.3 WAR, 148 wRC+, +9.0 DRS
2.9 WAR, 124 wRC+, +9.0 DRS
2.8 WAR, 149 wRC+, -16.0 DRS
2.7 WAR, 132 wRC+, +2.0 DRS
2.4 WAR, 129 wRC+, +2.0 DRS
— Dan Clark (@DanClarkSports) June 26, 2018
Jean Segura’s Big Season
Segura is having a crazy good season so far, but is it sustainable? By the numbers it does not look likely. His .331 batting average ranks third in all of baseball, and looks great on the surface. However, his .357 wOBA is telling a different story. It currently ranks 41st in MLB and shows he is due for regression. He is not showing an elite level of run-producing hits, and the ground ball rate of 52 percent is in line with his career average, but concerning to me. The luck will start to run out for Segura, and the career high .368 BABIP signals an unsustainable start. I expect him to fall back to around a .290 to .300 batting average. His current value is the highest it will be all season, and it’s a good time to sell him.
Chris Archer’s Road Back
With Chris Archer currently working his way back to the Rays’ rotation, it is time to buy low on him. He most recently threw a 20-pitch bullpen session June 22nd and is set to throw a simulated game on the 28th. I would expect him to back in at least two weeks, and pick up on the success he had in May. He struggled in his first few starts, but in May, Archer had a 2.33 ERA, and allowed just a .204 batting average. However, over the whole season he has seen a drop-off in his strikeout rate. It is currently at 23.7 percent, after a 29.2 rate last season. I believe his strikeout rate should start to climb back up, as his swinging strike rate and O-Swing percentage is very similar to last season. Also, he is due for some positive regression at home. He currently has a 4.55 ERA at home, but is typically great there with 3.26, 2.65, and 2.94 ERAs over the past three seasons at Tropicana Field. If you can afford to wait a bit longer for Archer to return, he is a great trade target.
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