Hey, this worked well last week with pitchers, so let’s do it again this week with hitters. Go where the people are.
Here are the bats ranked in the top 100 by Yahoo in the pre-season who are healthy, have managed 150 at-bats, and are currently ranked worse than 200 by Yahoo’s algorithm. They’ve been struggling.
I can’t get that worked up over a guy that’s still on pace to come close to a 30/30 season, so Julio Rodriguez won’t get a full rogering. Is anyone really all that upset about the start Xander Bogaerts is having? If he hits a homer tomorrow and has a hot week, his numbers will look almost exactly like they did last year, with more steals and runs to boot. These numbers were run Tuesday, before he did hit a homer that night.
But the rest of these struggle bunnies? Well, a bunch of them deserve a longer look.
Trea Turner, SS, Phillies
Here’s why you could worry a little about Trea Turner. He’s on an ignominious list: players who have added the most to their strikeout this year compared to last year (120 plate appearances minimum).
That’s not great. He hasn’t had a full season with a strikeout percentage over 20 and now he’s approaching 30 this season. It’s also backed up by the worst chase rate of his career and the highest swing rate of his career.
This is something we’ve seen with other players who have switched teams in the offseason — the average player swings more and chases more with their new team at first. The good news is that most of the sample regressed to their career means eventually. The theory is that once Turner has a normal week, even if it was due to a little good luck, he’ll feel more secure on his new team and will be a little less likely to try and push the envelope to prove he’s worth that big ol’ contract to his new teammates.
And the running? Who knows, really. He’s still in the 99th percentile of the league in sprint speed, and he’s coming off a 27-steal season. Why would he settle for 15-18 steals this year, with the new rules helping him along? That doesn’t make much sense. It also doesn’t copy that he’d land in Philly and see a power outage, so despite some of the reduced Barrel rates and max exit velocity numbers, there’s a bet here that he still ends up with around 20 homers, which is really his norm.
Austin Riley, 3B, Braves
A look at Austin Riley’s batted balls shows immediately what the problem is. Riley isn’t hitting the ball as hard, he’s not hitting the ball in the air as much, and he’s not hitting the ball hard in the air as often. That’s fine and all to say like that, but he just spent 1,300+ plate appearances absolutely mashing the ball and it seems unlikely that his skill in that area would just vanish at 26.
It’s possible that this flawed statistic provides us a clue as to why he’s struggling a bit on the power. Pitch type values sum up everything a player does on a pitch — take a ball, a strike, swing at…
Read More: Sarris: What’s up with that guy, Pt. 2 — examining seven struggling hitters 2023-05-25 21:56:09