Batter’s Box: In Need of a Little Salvation
Coming into August 1st, if you owned Salvador Perez as your catcher, you were pretty happy. He was slashing .286/.315/.524 and at the miserable position that is catcher, that’s more than solid. But if you’ve been dealing with him since the beginning of August, you’ve probably been pretty miserable, as he’s been slashing an abysmal .130/.161/.222, good for the sixth-worst month in all of baseball according to ESPN’s player rater. However, on Monday, Perez had a decent night, going 1-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Sure, it was just a solo home run, but it was his first home run in a month, so you’ll take it. So what’s been going on? And is it going to continue? Well to answer the second question first, likely not, he’ll get better, this month has been some serious bad luck. First and foremost, the thing that really sticks out to you when looking at Perez’s stats since the beginning of August is his horrible .154 BABIP. I can promise you that that will not stick and should kick back up sooner rather than later. You might also notice the increased strikeout rate, from 19.4% heading into August to 25% since then, however all of his plate discipline stats look fairly normal, so it’s not that. It’s a combination of BABIP and also bad contact, as his hard hit rate has plummeted from 40% heading into August to 27.5% since then. With that, he’s seen an increase in ground balls and a decrease in HR/FB rate, but Perez’s hard hit rate will get better as will his BABIP. For many people, it’s the playoffs right now, and if this week is do or die for you and someone like James McCann (who I think will have a good week) is sitting out there on the waiver wire, I can understand dropping Perez to fill in someone who isn’t slumping at the worst possible time, but if you’ve got the roster space to hang onto Perez while filling him in with another catcher, I’d try to do that, because he’ll get better, and it should be soon.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Monday:
Starlin Castro (2B, NYY) – 3-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Castro has been having one excellent month, slashing .359/.390/.538 over the past 30 days and is somehow not owned in 100% of leagues (he’s available in around 36% of ESPN leagues). While he’s not going to his above .350 the rest of the way, there’s no reason he can’t hit in the .280s with a few more home runs.
Chris Davis (1B, BAL) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Davis is finally starting to sort of turn things around lately, or at least he’s doing what you expected out of Chris Davis. Sure, over the past two weeks he’s batting .222, but he’s slugging .481, and that’s what you expected out of Davis – power and a low batting average. He’s available in around 43% of ESPN leagues and if you need power to get you through the playoffs, he’s not a bad option. He’s prone to streaks, and if he’s starting a hot streak, he could be very useful.
Welington Castillo (C, BAL) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. The Orioles finally realized that platooning Castillo with Caleb Joseph was a bad idea, and it only took a .359/.406/.766 month to get them there. Regardless, I’m happy with it because Castillo has been demolishing the ball (he’s slugging .909 over the past two weeks). His ownership percentage has shot way up, but he’s still available in just under 40% of ESPN leagues, so snatch him up as soon as you can.
Jose Reyes (3B/2B/SS, NYM) – 2-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. BABIP is a beautiful thing, and it’s been the key to the excellent month that Jose Reyes has had, as he’s been slashing .302/.413/.429 since the beginning of August. It hasn’t been all BABIP, as he’s boosted his walk rate from 7.8% entering August to 16% since then, but BABIP’s had a lot to do with it. Entering August, Reyes was slashing .226/.289/.387 with a .237 BABIP. Since then, that slash line I mentioned earlier has come along with a .375 BABIP. He’s not going to keep this streak up, but with his position eligibility, he’s a very useful player to ride while he’s hot, and he’s available in around 85% of ESPN leagues.
Josh Bell (1B, PIT) – 3-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI. Bell started off the year doing something a lot different than what he was billed as a prospect: he was hitting for a mediocre average with really good power when he was billed as a .300ish hitter with decent power. Well now that average is coming back up, as he’s been hitting .311 over the past month, but the power’s still there, as he’s slugging .578 over that same time span. He’s also available in just under 50% of ESPN leagues, so I’d recommend grabbing him if you can.
Kendrys Morales (1B, TOR) – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Man, what a week for Morales, four home runs in five games (though three of them came in one game). Morales has kind of just been doing what he does this year, hitting home runs with a mediocre average, and that’s what he’ll keep doing the rest of the year.
J.D. Martinez (OF, ARI) – 4-5, 4 HR, 4 R, 6 RBI. The playoff savior, Martinez might just win you your week with the historic night he had on Monday. Not much analysis here, we all know that Martinez is a ridiculously good power hitter, but a night like that just has to be mentioned.