(Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire)
Time for our weekly edition of Is It Legit. Let’s take a look at this week’s hot players.
Javier Baez (20 AB / 4 HR / .250 AVG)
With back to back 2 home run games, Baez jumped right out of his cold start. He was likely to win many weekly matchups for those owners that were willing to take the chance on him. Last week he only had 5 hits total and 4 of them left the park. Baez is showing an improved walk rate this year and while his contact rate is still atrocious at 68.5% it is an improvement. He’s swinging at way more pitches in the zone but slightly lowered his out of zone swing rate. Overall I see improvements but his BABIP sitting at .167 is going to hold anyone down. Basically, he has stopped hitting ground balls and turning them into balls in the air, which is great. The line drive rate is too high to sustain a BABIP that low so I’m expecting a big swing upwards for his batting average. Overall I’m buying it. LEGIT
Joey Lucchesi (12 IP / 9 H / 17 Ks / 1 BB)
Lucchesi has 4 pitches but all he’s been throwing is his 4-seam and his churve. He’s been spotting the corners more and more each start, showcasing that plus command we’ve seen on scouting reports. Deception and command have allowed him to succeed thus far and eventually, he’s going to need to show more than just the two pitches. I’m confident he will show them eventually and the fact that he’s having so much success as-is makes me a fan. You may not know this but Lucchesi threw only 60 innings in AA and skipped AAA entirely. Any success at all is a miracle but the Padre’s trusted him and their faith has been rewarded. LEGIT
Mike Moustakas (25 AB / 3 HR / .440 AVG)
Moustakas is still walking infrequently and hitting the ball in the air. What has improved from last year has been the hard-hit rate. His contact rate has correspondingly gone down a bit which makes me think he may be intentionally trying to swing harder. All in all, xStats.org believes it to be a good thing because his xAVG is at .317, a good 30 points higher than he’s been at any other point in his career. I can’t say that things are necessarily going to continue since we’ve seen so much from Moustakas at this point in his career but I can’t really deny it either. As the Kansas City Star suggests, this may simply be the benefit of being another year removed from his knee surgery. I’m going LEGIT.
Jose Pirela (30 AB / .367 AVG)
Pirela is a perfect example of a player having boosted value due to consistent playing time. Averaging 4.5 plate appearances a game, Pirela has the increased opportunity to provide your fantasy team value. If he’s going to hit for a high average, it’s more beneficial to you than someone doing it in the 5th spot in the lineup simply due to the added volume. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t produce much beyond average and even that might not be a safe bet to make. xStats.org puts his xAVG at .278 and that basically passes the glance at his FanGraphs page as well. Nothing in his plate discipline numbers suggests a super high batting average. A safe bet to hit .280ish maybe but that’s about it. He hits no fly balls and even if he did he’s in Petco Park. He doesn’t get good speed scores. There’s basically nothing here. NOT LEGIT
Ivan Nova (13.2 IP / 15 Ks / 0 BBs / 2 Wins)
Not a ton has changed for Nova this year from what I can tell. He’s basically the same guy we’ve seen the last few seasons. He’s plenty valuable but these past couple starts aren’t likely to be a sign of anything better to come. He may have made some changes to his grips because his curve is showing much more movement than it did the past couple years and it has become a very strong pitch for him. Unfortunately, his sinker still kind of blows and he’s still throwing it over 40% of the time. There’s not enough moving in the right direction to make Nova jump into a more valuable fantasy pitcher so I’m going NOT LEGIT.