Knowledge Drop June 3, 2018 – Tim Raines Edition* (30)
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*Raines, a Hall-of-Famer and seven-time All Star, was a career .294 hitter. He swiped 808 bags (and was caught only 146 times) in his 21-season career with four teams.
TOP KNOWLEDGE — WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
A CLOSER LOOK AT TOMMY PHAM AND MARCELL OZUNA
We’ve made it to June – very much the make-or-break month for Fantasy (and real) baseball. We’ve seen many players have a solid April and a slumping May, and an equal number did the reverse. Some players just haven’t gotten in a groove.
Coming into the season, two of the most discussed and anticipated players were Cardinal outfielders Tommy Pham and Marcell Ozuna, both breakout hitters in 2017. Ozuna has been, well, dreadful, almost the entire season. Pham continued his hot hitting in April and, despite launching 6 HR in May, Pham is in a severe slump.
So here are their total numbers so far:
Both players were .300 hitters last year with Ozuna tallying 37 HR and 124 RBI. Pham hit 23 HR, stole 25 bases and collected 95 runs. He’s on par for more of the same, but we’re concerned by his recent trends.
As for Ozuna, we see small things that indicate he will bust out of this slump any day now. But we’ve been waiting for that for about eight weeks. We speculated an injury early in the season, but he hasn’t missed time, though almost every number is down from last season.
We’ve created a pair of FanGraphs graphs that show both bad and good news for Ozuna. This first one shows a steep recent drop in hard hit percentage and, naturally, a steep climb in soft contact. If you look at 2017, Ozuna had this peaks-and-valley trend throughout the year, so this may not be problematic.
The second graph intrigues us; it signals a big increase in contact rates and a decrease in swings-and-misses and swings at pitches outside the strike zone. But notice the big recent uptick in the o-contact percentage, that is the rate of pitches outside the zone that Ozuna made contact with. This is almost always bad contact, so an increase in o-contact is not necessarily good news.
Overall, we’re still concerned about Ozuna. He’s making better contact, well, he’s making more contact – if he can lay off pitches out of the zone, he can snap his slump. But his exit velocities are down, on average, and his soft contact is problematic. We still think he might have a nagging condition, but if not, time is running out for him to have a valuable Fantasy season.
As for Pham, remember he is 30 years old, so even though he exploded on the scene last year, his was a relatively late coming out party. Look at the graph we compiled and tell us you’re not worried after looking at his May averages:
This is an unmitigated disaster. Though, like Ozuna, Pham is a ground-ball hitter, look at that point in 2018 when the GB% and FB% were about equal – then the roof caved in. He was extremely lucky to hit 6 HR in May – he owned a 40+ percent HR/FB rate. He’s swinging more and making much less contact.
Anyone can turn on a dime and put away bad habits. But in both Pham and Ozuna, we see problematic trends that we think are more likely to linger through the summer than go away. Pham represents a prime trade chip however. His surface stats are all in line with his big 2017 season. Ozuna has little value right now, so try patience a while longer, but if you have better options, slide them into your active roster.
A THOUSAND WORDS
Today @BatFlipCrazy urges you to sell Jorge Soler. Now:
Jorge Soler’s skills have dropped quickly. Over his last 20 games: O-swing: 37.1% Contact: 63.6% Hard: 36.1% GB: 50.8% He’s been lucky: AVG: .278 / xAVG: .235 wOBA: .369 / xOBA: .332 Sell fast.
Follow @BatFlipCrazy on Twitter and read more in-depth data analysis at batflipcrazy.com
RIDDLE ME THIS
A newspaper is supposed to have 60 pages.Pages 14 and 21 are missing from the newspaper.
Which other pages won’t be there as well?
Email your guess to BigMacFantasySports@gmail.com
DAD JOKE OF THE DAY
What did the French chef give his wife on Valentine’s Day?
A hug and a quiche.
WHAT WE ARE LISTENING TO