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Is It Time to Hit the Panic Button?

Is it time to hit the panic button for these high-profile players?

It has only been 15 days since the 2022 season kicked off yet, here we are, already stressing over the slow starts that some of the game’s premier players are having. Many things can be attributed to the slower starts across the league. Whether it be the quick ramp-up after the lockout, some players struggling with the weather in certain states, or off-the-field issues, fantasy managers are wondering whether it is time to smash the panic button on some of the players on their rosters.

Gerrit ColeBo BichetteKetel Marte, and Eloy Jiménez are some stars that are currently struggling. However, the names that are to follow, might be some that could be a little more concerning. Are we panicking with these players, or should we be exercising patience with these high-ADP players?

 

Keep Your Hands in Your Pockets

 

Kyle Tucker is not someone that we should be worrying about right now.

Yes, through 12 games this season, his slash line is not appealing. Slashing a cool .095/.208/.238, Tucker is not off to the hot start that many were expecting after breaking out in 2021. Though his batting average, and his .218 wOBA, are uninspiring, his expected stats prove that he is just suffering from bad luck. His xBA is at .281, while his xwOBA is at .416.

Let’s not forget that Tucker also started slowly last season, before finishing the season as one of the better hitters in all of baseball. With that being said, all of his quality of contact measures are promising. So no, your hands should be far away from the panic button.

 

Hands Out of Pocket, But Still Not Pushing the Button

 

Marcus Semien broke out last season with the Blue Jays, leading him to sign the massive 7-year, $175 million contract that he signed with the Rangers this offseason. We knew coming in that the Texas ballpark was not as hitter-friendly as Dunedin, Buffalo, or Toronto is known to be.

Semien is coming off of a season where he set the record for most home runs by a second baseman in a single season. He has also finished top-three in American League MVP voting in each of the previous two full seasons. Even though he started slowly last season as well, hitting .211/.290/.368 in April, Semien’s advanced metrics are not inspiring much confidence. He currently ranks in the 7th percentile in HardHit%, xwOBA, and xBA. Also ranking in the bottom 10th percentile in Average Exit Velocity.

No, Semien has not forgotten how to hit, and Manager Chris Woodward has recently stated that the slow start could be attributed to him getting acclimated to a new team and that he began the season feeling under the weather. We are not panicking just yet on Semien, but the hand is near the button and could be pushed if he is not able to break out of this slow start in the upcoming weeks.

 

Push the Button

 

Fastball Freddy Peralta had an incredible 2021 season after there were questions as to whether he would even begin the season in the rotation for the Brew Crew.

Command was always something of concern with Peralta during his five seasons in the majors. In two starts this season, it seems that Peralta is, again, dealing with some command issues.

As shown on the heat maps above, his pitches are all over the place. Peralta has a BB% of 16.2%, which ranks in the 11th percentile in the majors so far this season. Hitters are being patient against Peralta and forcing him to beat himself, rather than aggressively attacking his pitches early in the count. His 1st Pitch Strike% is down from 61.6% in 2021, to 54.1% this season. Hitters also have a 45% HardHit% against all of his pitches so far. So, when they do go up swinging, they are hitting the ball hard.

Though it is a small sample size, the pitch mix usage is also something to follow. In 2021, his slider usage was up near 26%, currently sitting at 15.2% thus far.

Peralta is not the only pitcher in the Brewers rotation that is struggling, but his profile is the most worrisome. His previous track record has me concerned going forward and is one that has me panicking this early into the season.

 

Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Michael Packard (@artbyMikeP on Twitter & IG)

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