Batter’s Box: The Lion And The Lamb
It’s been a serious tale of two halves for Jake Lamb. Over the first half of the season, Lamb was slashing .279/.376/.546 and looking awesome. But over the second half, he’s slashed .206/.333/.397, though he had a nice game on Wednesday, going 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. So what does this say about Lamb’s prospects heading into next year? Well, I think Lamb has a little bit of Mark Trumbo syndrome. I don’t typically give first and second half splits much weight, but in the case of Trumbo, he’s had a career of hot first halves and slow second halves, for whatever reason. On his career, Lamb is a .284/.369/.549 hitter in the first half of the year and a .220/.305/.382 hitter in the second half. Now, of course, the sample size is a bit limited, but those are some significant splits. This year, one of the big culprits for his splits has been his BABIP, which was .332 in the first half and .235 in the second. But that’s indicative of his career so far too, as his career first half BABIP is .341 and his career second half BABIP is .273. For whatever reason, Lamb sees a major drop in BABIP, and his overall slash line, in the second half of the season. So what does this mean for him next year? I would say draft him, enjoy his awesome first half, and then when his stock is at its highest (say, around the All-Star Break), see if you can sell high on him. Now, that’s slightly risky, given that he could just be good all year at some point (he’s still just 26), but I think it’s a viable strategy given the pattern of his career so far.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday:
Josh Bell (1B, PIT) – 3-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Bell was advertised as a high-contact, mediocre power hitter, but this year he’s been the exact opposite, hitting for a mediocre average and good power. He’s got contact-hitting skills, we’ve seen it before, but that’s changed this year. Now, the fact that his HR/FB rate doubled from last year with only a minor increase in hard hit rate suggests that perhaps this power could be a little fluky, but he’s going to be an interesting player to keep an eye on next year. If he can keep up the power (or improve it) and simultaneously go back to being that .270-.280 hitter we all thought he’d be, he could be very useful.
Carlos Correa (SS, HOU) – 4-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Not much analysis here, Correa is awesome and I thought he deserved a quick shoutout given the ridiculous game he had on Wednesday.
Ian Desmond (OF/1B, COL) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Honestly, I’m willing to just say this is somewhat of a lost season for Desmond due to injuries. The production was essentially there when he was healthy, he just wasn’t all that healthy. I really thought he could have an amazing year playing in Colorado, and perhaps he can next year, but it’s important to keep in mind that he’s going to be 33, and these injuries might not be going away.
Nicky Delmonico (3B/OF, CWS) – 3-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Since being called up, Nicky Delmonico’s been pretty solid. Once he was called up, he lit things up, slashing .307/.429/.573 in August. He’s cooled down a bit since then, but he’s flashed some talent which makes him an intriguing potential end-of-the-draft flier next year.