Rotoprofessor’s 10 Unluckiest Hitters
Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor
Before we get started, here’s a link to the Rotoprofessor’s Call-up Central on San Diego’s Kyle Blanks.
Today I wanted to take a look at the hitters with the 10 worst BABIP through Tuesday to see who may be in store for a major hot streak and therefore are worth buying:
Jay Bruce (.206) - I’m not sure you are going to be able to buy him very low, thanks to the power, but there could be someone in your league that is tired of the terrible average. The problem is that as good of a hitter he is, I’m not sure we can expect him to continue on the power surge he’s been on. He’s currently posting a FB% of 48.3%. Over his entire minor league career, his FB% was just 38.1%. Could it be that he’s getting older and stronger? It’s possible, but considering he was at 34.2% in the major leagues last year, I’m not sure I’m completely buying that theory. If you are looking for average, yes, he is likely worth picking up. He’s not a .217 hitter, just don’t do so expecting him to continue on with the same type of power he’s shown thus far.
Garrett Atkins (.216) - At this point, I’m at a complete loss. He simply has not produced and, with Ian Stewart breathing down his neck, is in jeopardy of losing his starting job. He’s been too good of a player for too long to think that he’s just suddenly lost it, but if his playing time is going to be greatly reduced he’s not going to be able to turn things around. If you have a deep bench, I still think he’s worth getting on the cheap if someone is selling. He’s a career .291 hitter with his worst BABIP over the past four years being .313 back in 2005. Things are going to turn, they almost have to.
Brian Giles (.216) - Does anyone really care? Great, he’s unlucky in 2009. He also has become on OFer who provides little power and speed. Even if he was to surge a bit in the average, he just doesn’t offer enough upside anywhere else to have value in anything but NL-only leagues.
Ken Griffey Jr. (.227) - His return to Seattle just has not gone off as planned. At 39-years old, how much did we really expect to get from him this season? He’s hit .252 or worse in two of the past three seasons, so even if he was to get a little bit luckier, just how far is he going to go? He’s not worth buying.
Jimmy Rollins (.227) - This is another curious one, as we’ve discussed multiple times already. He just cannot get a consistent hot streak going. He still has scored 38 runs, as well as stolen 10 bases, so he is helping your team, but this isn’t what we want from a first round pick. I doubt that anyone is really going to give him up for less then full value, but I guess you never know. He hasn’t hit less then .277 since 2003 (he hit .263 that season), so you have to think that sooner or later things are going to come together for him. If you can get him, it’s a no-brainer. If you own him, just sit tight.
Chris Young (.230) - I declared him a potential Trade Target recently (click here to view), so make sure to check that out. He’s proven time and again not to be a good average hitter in the major leagues, carrying a career .235 average, but this is getting a little bit much. Of course, since I wrote that piece, his FB% has gone from 53.7% to 54.5%, so that definitely needs to be noted. If he’s swinging for the fences and simply hitting fly balls, nothing is going to change. He should be utilizing his speed, something he’s clearly not doing. Yes, I still endorse buying him if you can, but unless he gets things in gear he’s a threat to hover around .200 all year.
Dan Uggla (.232) - He’s hit .245 and .260 over the past two seasons, so the fact that he’s struggling really should not be very surprising. He’s actually cut his strikeouts dramatically (from 32.2% last season to 22.9%), so there is hope that he begins to hit for a higher average. Like Young, he’s an extreme flyball hitter (51.1% this season), which is worth noting. Still, I like his chances of getting the average up to the .250 range. He proved he could do it last season with significantly more Ks. As long as he keeps putting the ball in play, his luck will turn.
Jason Giambi (.233) - Since 2003, he’s had just one season where he posted a BABIP higher than .264. Did anyone really expect much from him? Considering he is not offsetting the average with elite power, he’s just not worth using outside of AL-only formats.
J.J. Hardy (.241) - Here’s a player that appears to be a perfect candidate to acquire, if possible. He’s posted seasons of .277 and .283 the last two years, so there is little chance that he has suddenly regressed to a .219 hitter. His strikeout rate (17.2% vs. 18.1%) is similar to last year’s. He’s actually improved his walk rate (8.4% vs. 10.4%). The biggest difference is his FB% (36.1% vs. 40.6%, though he did have a 41.7% in ‘07) and his HR/FB (14.1% vs. 8.2%). Are those decreases enough to justify a 60-point drop in his average? I don’t think so. If someone in my league was selling low, I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger. His luck has got to change and the average is going to rise.
Orlando Cabrera (.245) - Here’s another player that poses the question, does anyone really care? Yeah, as a .272 career hitter the average is going to increase over time, but he offers little in the power department and has managed just 2 SB thus far this season. I wouldn’t have wanted him prior to the season, so I definitely am not buying him now.
So there you have it. Which of these players, if any, do you think are in store for the biggest improvement? Which do you not care about?
Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.