Hot and Cold

One of my favorite additions of the year here at FanGraphs is the ability to split data down by time frames on the leaderboards. It makes finding out who has been hot or cold lately very easy, and it’s just a lot of fun. So, let’s take a stroll through the last 30 days of performance together.

On Fire

Justin Morneau: .345/.468/.690, 1.23 WPA/LI, 87 at-bats, 21 walks, 9 strikeouts.

Despite by praise for Denard Span this morning, Morneau is carrying the Twins offense right now. Minnesota really needed to get a hitter to stick behind him so that opposing pitchers are a bit more willing to pitch to him, because right now, Jason Kubel isn’t a sufficient threat.

Ryan Braun: .358/.397/.745, 1.46 WPA/LI, 106 at-bats, 7 walks, 24 strikeouts.

Braun’s on one of his patented slugfests, launching nine home runs in the last 30 days. He’s still as uber-aggressive as always, but with his raw power, it doesn’t matter. He can really hit a baseball a long ways.

Manny Ramirez: .453/.543/.787, 1.50 WPA/LI, 75 at-bats, 12 walks, 10 strikeouts.

For all the talk about Manny not playing hard for Boston, he was killing the ball when they traded him and he’s killing the ball in Los Angeles. Even with all his defensive issues and antics, it’s important to remember that Manny Being Manny includes him being one of the best hitters in the league.

Ice Cold

Jason Kendall: .148/.227/.216, -0.92 WPA/LI, 88 at-bats, 7 walks, 10 strikeouts

Braun is offsetting this miserable performance, as no amount of veteran leadership and game calling can make up for the fact that Kendall hits about as well as a pitcher nowadays. You have to wonder if the Brewers knew Pudge Rodriguez was available, because he would have been a monstrous upgrade for them at the deadline.

Mark Ellis: .188/.250/.259, -0.88 WPA/LI, 85 at-bats, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts

So much for all free agents going bananas in their walk years, as Ellis is struggling mightily as he heads towards a big payday this winter. His calling card remains his excellent defense at second base, but it’s his ability to hit a bit that sets him apart from guys like Adam Everett and John McDonald. Teams don’t value defense as highly on the open market as they do offensive performance, so if Ellis is going to land a big multiyear contract, he’d do well to start whacking the baseball again.

Jacoby Ellsbury: .226/.244/.262, -0.64 WPA/LI, 84 at-bats, 1 walk, 15 strikeouts

After a phenemonal debut last year, expectations for Ellsbury were high, but he’s run into the second year wall. His lack of power has pitchers challenging him in the strike zone, and while he’s making contact, he’s not doing anything with the ball when he puts the bat on it. As the slump has intensified, he’s tried to hack his way out of it, and that hasn’t worked much better. He’ll bounce back, but he’s got some adjustments to make, and right now, Boston can’t afford to have him making outs at the top of the line-up while they try to chase down the Rays.

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

4 Responses to “Hot and Cold”

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  1. Scappy says:

    Expectations should have not been so high for Ellsbury, just look at his BABIP for 2007, .388. With a line drive rate of 18.8, he was a healthy 80 points more lucky than the next guy. Lets give him the benefit of the doubt and say that BABIP can be controlled to some extent by speed, which he has plenty of, he was still some 60-70 points over his head. Take those numbers off his average and he becomes a much more pedestrian sub-300 hitter.

    What is odd is that he has been a little unlucky lately, 21.7% LD with only a .300 BABIP. His xBABIP should be around 330-340.

    I guess what goes around comes around.

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  2. taro says:

    On the other hand, Ellis continues his march to the bargain bin. Asides from a high number of popups, theres nothing to suggest that Ellis deserves his .250 BABIP. His BB% is acually the second highest of his career, and his BB/K is a career high, with a 19.7 LD% and healthy contact rates, hes been EXTREMELY unlucky.

    This guy could be the bargain of the ’08/’09 offseason.

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  3. dan says:

    It might just be me, but I find the Bill James projection for Ryan Braun just comical. He not only doesn’t regress him AT ALL to the mean, he thought he’d be better this year than last!

    .326/.383/.660 with 46 homers, 42 doubles was his BIS-projected line.

    Going into the 2007 season, James projected Kevin Kouzmanoff to have a .317/.378/.546 line with 121 rbi. That would have made him the 5th best third baseman in all of baseball in 2007, behind only A-Rod, Chipper, Miguel Cabrera, and David Wright.

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  4. mikedallas23 says:

    Ryan Ludwick says hi with a .354/.430/.747 line.

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