(Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire)
Here we are, back again for another week of Patience or Panic. A series where I attempt to read the undercurrents of players stats and decide whether we should be hitting that panic button or waiting for better times. This is still tough when we are only looking at 20 innings for pitchers, and 60-70 PA for hitters. We have some stars struggling early (I’m looking at you, Chris Archer) and some young guns failing to fire.
First, let’s take a quick look to see how the three players faired since last weeks edition:
Bradley Zimmer – 5/12, 1 R, 0 RBIs, 0 Hrs, 0 SBs
This week was a huge improvement for Zimmer who only struck out twice in the last week, and improved his season K-rate to 38.1 (still not great but trending in the right direction). He only has gotten 12 at-bats this week after several postponements for the Indians. The K-rate is trending in the right direction but lack of counting stats is still a worry.
Kenley Jansen – 2.2 IP, 3 K, 2 ER, 1 SV
The Dodgers closer had been looking better this week until he gave up two earned runs last night to the Padres in a inning of work. His velocity on his famous cutter was back up to 92 MPH last night which is a good sign, the closer has looked anything but his usual dominate self but still deserves more patience.
Luis Castillo – 12.2 IP, 7 ER, 12 Ks, 1.03 WHIP
It looks like Castillo is righting the ship with his last two starts. Cody Reed allowed two inherited runners to score in the 7th to add two more runs to Castillo’s line. He had his season high in strikeouts for a start on Monday. The young Reds ace is turning the corner and you should be throwing out feelers in your league to see if any owner is panicking yet.
It is looking like all two of the three players (Zimmer/Castillo) from last weeks edition of Patience or Panic have started to turn the corner which is great (2/3 got a Patient verdict last week). So now that we have finished our appetizer let’s get to the main course of the article and look at some more players who are struggling start to the season:
Yoan Moncada – 0.214 AVG, 2 HRs, 7 Rs, 5 RBIs, 2 SB
I really want to love Yoan Moncada, I truly do but I just can’t. He currently has a 42.4 K-rate which is the fourth worst in the majors. The most frustrating part of Moncada’s astronomical strikeout rate is that when he does make contact with the ball, he hits it hard. Very hard. His average exit velocity so far in 2018 of 97.4 MPH is the highest of any batter with 25 + AB. As a prospect, the young 2B had a 70-grade speed tool and stole 111 bases in 267 games in the minors, but has yet to show that stolen base prowess upon his call-up. With just 5 stolen bases in 7 attempts so far in his 72 career games, Moncada is looking less and less like the super prospect we had high hopes for. Moncada has stolen a base in each of the past two games, along with hitting a dinger. His value resides in his ability to keep his K-rate under control because when he manages to make contact it is loud. The 20/20 potential for Moncada at a shallow position is too much for me to give up on just yet.
Chris Archer– 20.2 IP, 1-1, 7.84 ERA, 1.69 WHIP
I told myself all off-season that I didn’t want any Chris Archer shares. I nearly made it until he just dropped so far that I decided I had to take him. I would bet a lot of fantasy baseball managers had the same thought process as me. Archer is a two-pitch pitcher who typically focuses on his fastball/slider combo. He is still doing it this year, but his fastball is being hammered to a tune of .419/.486/.742. Meanwhile, his slider is still getting whiffs at a 20% clip. Archer issues are compounding on himself and lefties are slugging .825 versus the Rays ace. On a more positive note, the right-hander is still due for some positive regression. His LOB-rate of 55 is well below his career 72.1, and his strikeout rate is right around his career average of 25%. Archer has too long of a track record to be this bad and he deserves more patience than 20 IP to truly panic.
Domingo Santana – 0.246 AVG, O HRs, 3 Rs, 3 RBIs
After a remarkable 2017 season for Domingo Santana, the outfielder is failing to replicate that season early in 2018. His ISO of .018 is the 4th worst among qualified hitters. Santana has seen his GB rate jump up +12.6% while his line drive rate is down to -7% which is a worrying sign for a player who outperformed his xStats in 2017. With Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun coming back any day now, Santana needs to start hitting or he might be finding himself on the bench.. I’m not officially in panic mode but I am close. Keep an eye on how the playing time situations plays out when all of the Brewers outfielders are finally healthy.
Chris Davis – 0.125 AVG, 1 HR, 2 Rs, 2 RBIs
Chris Davis has really fallen from grace since his 47 HR campaign in 2015. The former slugger is currently struggling with an ISO .075. That’s a far cry from when he was at his peak with his ISO hovering around .300. Even more, worrying for the hulking lefty is the putrid 83.3 MPH exit velocity so far this season, down 6.6 MPH from 2017. That ugly exit velocity puts him in the bottom ten of the league and around the likes of Jonathan Villar and Orlando Arcia. Without the power that Davis usually possesses he should not be owned. He will drain your average, and he is no longer hitting in the middle of the Orioles lineup. There are other cheap power options at first base that will provide more for your team.