Welcome back, welcome back! Another edition of Patience or Panic and this time we’re going to give you a healthy dose of information on multiple guys, not just one so strap in. For this edition we’re fresh off the trade deadline where a lot of big names found new homes. As you can see from the title, one of those big names just so happened to be chosen this week. We’ll start there to kick this week off.
Joey Gallo, OF, New York Yankees
Joey Gallo has been on the trade block for years while the Texas Rangers continue to march on in their rebuild, trying to build themselves back up into a contender. Always a guy with massive power, Gallo has recently become known for his defense, as he can play right field extremely well and has the ability to solidly hold it down in the other two spots too. This year his name once again popped up not just for his awe-inspiring power and Gold Glove defense, but because he also has another year of club control beyond this season, a quality that makes a player even more enticing to teams scouring the market in any given year.
It was reported multiple times that the San Diego Padres were in on the 27-year-old outfielder, but it was the New York Yankees who ended up with him in the end. Now Gallo goes into a park with a very short porch and to a team that hopes he can help spark their push for a playoff spot (and will be content knowing they’ll have him next year even if they fall short).
Except Joey Gallo won’t even be sparking a match until he breaks out of the current slump he’s in.
While he’s never been a guy with the highest batting average, the .167 he put up in July was truly dreadful. Sure he still hit 6 home runs during the month but a third of them came in one game. If he wasn’t hitting for such a poor average he may have been able to put up another 10-homer month like he did in June (or even surpass it).
For starters, Gallo struck out more in July than he did in any other month at a clip of 37%. But Gallo has always been someone who strikes out a lot, you just usually take it because the homers and walks come with it. Something that did stick out though is that Gallo’s batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was exactly the same as his standard batting average, coming in at .167 which is odd because usually there is some type of variation. However with a BABIP that low it still goes to show that there will likely be some positive regression coming Joey’s way.
One more thing before we get to the verdict here, in July Gallo had the lowest line drive rate, and the second-highest ground ball rate he’s had all year. With a guy with power like his you obviously want the ball in the air as much as possible. Once he starts hitting the ball in the air more, and gets a little bit better luck as far as his BABIP goes, things should start to even out for him.
All this goes to say that Gallo may have just had a pretty bad month, and while the .167 batting average looks bad, he still was able to produce a wRC+ of 115, which puts him 15% better than the average MLB player. He’ll be just fine, Yankee fans.
Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
While the Yankees wait for Gallo to break out of his slump and help their push for the playoffs, the Astros similarly are waiting for their star shortstop to break out of his and help them fend off the Oakland Athletics and keep the AL West crown. Correa had a July that was just dreadful across the board, no two ways about it, putting up a .178/.256/.301 slash line. It was easily his worst month of the season. Now sometimes you can see this happen, dog days of summer, a long and grueling season etc. etc. However for Correa he is usually very good in July, with a career .853 OPS during the month.
So clearly there is something going on, and if the Astros hope to compete with the likes of the Rays, White Sox and Red Sox come playoffs, they will have to get better production out of their star, and Correa will have to pick it up if he hopes to maximize his value before hitting the open market this winter.
Looking at some of the numbers, one thing that sticks out right away about Correa he struck out way more than he had at any other point this season, 29.3% of the time. His next highest clip was 19.5% in June.
Looking at his batted ball data, his contact rates were all generally the same as the rest of the season, with no number being higher or lower than a few percentage points in July than they were at any other point in the season.
So we look at the plate discipline, or lack thereof in this case. Once July hit, Correa for some reason started swinging more. And not just in general, he started chasing outside of the zone too. In July, he swung at pitches outside of the zone 27% of the time, compared to 22% in May and June. Maybe it’s a sell out for power, but in July Correa started swinging more and trying to get more hits but was missing and missing badly, which led to his slump that you would currently see him in should you watch an Astros game.
However when you look at his career, the numbers (swing percentage, chase rate exit velocity) in all other months outside of July were right in line with the numbers from previous seasons. This could be a case of pressing. Once he relaxes and gets back to his normal flow and stops chasing pitches that aren’t exactly his bread and butter, Correa should be back to normal in no time.
Dinelson Lamet, SP, San Diego Padres
I’m just gonna get out ahead and say it that Lamet’s going to go under “panic” here because his progression over the season has been very slow. He hasn’t recorded an out in the sixth inning yet this season and has cleared 80 pitches just once. He’s also been up-and-down in his starts, for example allowing four earned runs in just 2 and 1/3 innings during his last start against a putrid Arizona team, but going five and allowing none in the start before that against Cincinnati.
With the Padres in third place in the NL West despite their contender status, they’ll need Lamet to be more like the pitcher he was last year when he was their ace and posted a 2.09 ERA if they want to make a deep postseason push.
Graphic by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter & IG)
Correa had a non-COVID illness that put him in the hospital right before the ASB. I think he’s probably taken a minute to gain his strength and timing back