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Death By BABIP: Unlucky Hitters Of The Last Two Weeks

Death By BABIP: Unlucky Hitters Of The Last Two Weeks

While there are many different indicators to help spot unlucky hitters, BABIP can be one of the best. Combine it with other sabermetrics and you put yourself in a position to add some sneaky fantasy baseball production to your lineup.

A few weeks into the season I covered some early season hitters being held down by poor BABIP numbers. BABIP is something that ultimately fluctuates during the season so it can be good to check in every few weeks and see who may be due for a bump in production. Some guys out there have bad BABIP luck due to the fact they struggle with squaring up the ball. This list is meant for the guys who are tearing up the ball despite their stats saying otherwise.

David Peralta – OF (13.9% Owned)

A quick glance at Peralta’s stats the last two weeks and you’d see a .205 average and only .186 BABIP. Not what you’d typically look for when wanting to add some juice to your roster.

One of the biggest things Peralta has been able to do despite the unluckiness is still put up plenty of counting stats. Over those last two weeks (12 games), Peralta has put up a double, three home runs, and eight RBI. Much of that production has come from Peralta’s excellent plate discipline. Over that two-week span, Peralta is chasing a below league average 27.5% and making well above league average contact on pitches in the zone (90.4%). This has resulted in an average exit velocity of 90.3 MPH and a 13.3% barrel rate.

The big thing that has been holding down Peralta’s BABIP is his flyball rate. Over the 12-game span, he’s still managed a 26.7% line drive rate, very good for his BABIP. His 50% fly-ball rate and 21.3-degree launch angle, on the other hand, are hard to make up for. He’s done a good job barreling up the ball and hitting it on the sweet spot (career-high 37.3%), but he needs to flatten out that swing to help the real production begin. Especially with the fact he’s only been striking out 21.7% of the time.

As someone with a career launch angle of only 12 degrees and a 22.8% fly-ball rate, expect his two-week numbers to normalize sooner rather than later. His .258 xBA and xSLG of .464 (second-best of his career) also help solidify Peralta as a solid fantasy contributor in waiting.

 

Chas McCormick – OF (1.6% Owned)

McCormick is someone not usually associated with fantasy baseball ownership, but he looks to be a solid 12-team add. Over the last two weeks, McCormick’s BABIP is only .216 and average is .213, but he’s still been productive. Much like Peralta, he’s been tearing the cover off of the ball.

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In his 13 games over the last two weeks, McCormick has three doubles, one triple, and two home runs while also scoring nine runs. Solid production from the often-overlooked outfielder. Even though McCormick hasn’t had the exit velocity that jumps off the page (87.7 MPH), he’s been more than making up for it. McCormick’s been barreling the ball up 15.4% of the time recently with a 41% hard-hit rate. While those numbers are great, he’s also seen a similar spike in his fly-ball numbers (48.7%). His line-drive rate has also dipped at 15.4% (21.9% for the season). McCormick is doing an excellent job of hitting somewhat powerful popups which doesn’t bode well for someone not known for having home run power.

One thing that McCormick has done exceptionally well is his use of all fields. He’s been going the opposite way 35.9% of the time as well as up the middle 33.3%. His plate discipline has been good as well. Over the 13 games, McCormick is making contact 75.5% of the time, with a low strikeout rate of only 17%. As someone who has shown improved plate discipline, barrel rate, and elite speed (91st percentile according to Statcast), McCormick is more than worth a fantasy flyer. Expect him to improve on his 12-double, 14-home run season from a year ago. He won’t be on the unlucky hitter’s list for long.

 

Amed Rosario – SS /OF (43.2% Owned)

When it comes down to it, Rosario is a total bases machine. Except for these last 10 games for him where he’s been arguably the most unlucky hitter in the sport. Those games have resulted in an uncharacteristic .143 BABIP and .128 average. Unlike the other unlucky hitters on this list, much of Rosario’s bad luck is his own doing. Despite that, I still think there’s reason for hope.

To be blunt, I don’t know what the hell has happened to Rosario’s swing these last two weeks. It’s been so bad that I have him listed because at this point it has to get better. After being a career 20.7% line drive and 50.6% ground ball hitter, Rosario has spent the last two weeks sitting at 60% ground ball and an insane 2.9% line drive rate. As a hitter who’s only 26, there is no way he’s managed to decline to that level. His launch angle has deviated a bit from his career average (career 7.2, 11.8 last 10 games) but not to a level that would bring this much drop-off.

The biggest issue I can find is his uptick in infield fly balls at 23.1% and his unusual pull rate of 43%. Even so, he does still make excellent contact. During the cold streak, he’s carried an above-average barrel rate (8.6%) and hard-hit rate (43%). Rosario just needs to hit his way through these issues. He has a long enough track record that it’s safe to assume if he keeps barreling the ball up like he has, that BABIP will get back closer to his career .324 number than his season-long .238. He should be owned in all 12+ team leagues currently and has 10 team upside.

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Jesús Sánchez – OF (38.3% Owned)

Jesus Sanchez is a big, big dude with big, big power. Even though he strikes out more than someone I’d normally put on this list, his power potential is way too much to overlook. Especially with the BABIP struggles he’s been having these last two weeks. Overall for the season, he has a solid .333 BABIP and .244 average, but these last 12 games he’s slipped to .182 and .108 which has dropped his ownership by 21.8% in ESPN leagues.

Much of Sanchez’s recent dip in average is due to his 36.6% strikeout rate. His BABIP dip, on the other hand, correlates almost perfectly with his dip in hard-hit rate (31.8%). He’s just not making the same contact with the ball these last two weeks as he normally does. Things like his line drive rate have dipped (13.6% compared to 21.7% on the season) and he’s had an ever so slight dip in barrel rate (9.1% compared to 10%). Sanchez has also been much more pull-heavy as of late, pulling it almost 10% more than his career average (45.5%/36.7%). All of these are things that will self-correct over time. Use that to your advantage.

Many of these are very fixable issues. Sanchez is still batting in the heart of a young, talented lineup and has enormous power. He’s currently making more overall hard contact this season than last (43.3%/42.7%). Despite the lack of XBH in his cold stretch, he still has an average exit velocity of 88.3 MPH. Sanchez has the elite power that is deserving of a roster spot even in 10-team leagues. Ride out the storm and prepare for the extra-base hit parade that’s coming on the other side.

 

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Dad of 3 youngsters. Overly obsessed baseball fan. Founder of Dualthreatsports.com, previously wrote for Rotoballer, Sodomojo and BealeStreetBears. Articles previously featured on sports illustrated, bleacher report and fox sports. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Buhhlockaye

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