We’re about 20 games into the season and certain players are beginning to standout — some for good reasons, and some for bad. Today I also attempt to coin (you’ll get that joke at the end) a new nickname for a player.
Not only is he currently hitting .300 with five home runs and three steals, Alex Rios is also posting the strongest walk rate of his career. In addition to his increased walk rate, he is also posting the second lowest strikeout rate we’ve seen from him. We’re still dealing with less than 100 plate appearances at this point, however the early signs from Rios are great. His 42.8% Swing% would also represent the best of his career, and Swing% tends to normalize around the 50 PA mark. It may not be hard and conclusive evidence, but Rios is certainly hitting the ball better. His early season hot streak isn’t a BABIP illusion either, as his .296 BABIP is actually below his .308 career average mark. If (and that is the keyword) Rios keeps this up, he will end up as a top 50 player. I’m not quite to that point of believing in Rios just yet, but it looks like Rios will get a decent bump up in next weeks tiered rankings updates.
I may have whiffed horrible on some of my bold predictions (Jose Reyes, I’m looking at you), but it appears as though Austin Jackson has indeed rediscovered his speed. He has five steals in 18 games and is yet to be thrown out. His .291 average is similar to the .300 mark that he posted last year, and his GB% is very similar as well. Last season Jackson posted a 42.2 GB% and this season he has a 42.9% rate. We’re not quite to the point where batted ball information is fully stabilized, but the signs point to Jackson having another big season. Even if Jackson only hits 10 home runs, he isn’t in your lineup for power. Expect plenty of runs and steals with a solid average. Anything on top of that is just being spoiled.
How can someone be bullish on a player hitting .164/.257/.279? At this point in the season it is about process as much as it is results. Clearly Reddick’s results have been less than what people have hoped for, however his .200 BABIP is the real culprit. His strikeout and walk rates are on par with his career norms and his Swing% is actually below average. From a fan perspective, Reddick does not seem to be pressing at the plate or swinging at everything in an attempt to break out of a slump in one swing. His average is down, but he has 12 RBIs and and a surprising five stolen bases already and hasn’t yet been caught. If the steals become a real part of Reddick’s game, that adds an extra dimension to his value. His rate stats will bounce back with time and that makes for a very good buy-low candidate.
The time to sell high on Adam Jones appears to be on us, at least in re-draft leagues. Currently hitting a robust .354/.376/.549, Jones has 10 extra-base hits to go along with 11 singles. If you think that hits are falling at a very rapid pace for Jones you would be correct, as his .426 BABIP is over 100 points higher than his .319 career average. Make no mistakes, Jones is a very good player and should hit well the rest of the season, however he won’t maintain this torrid pace for long. If you can move Jones at his current price, that is like selling Bitcoins before they tanked last week. Like Bitcoins, Jones is a fairly common commodity that has a value that isn’t stable just yet. Investing in either is a high risk, high reward operation. If you hang on to Jones and win your league, maybe you should invest in Bitcoins with the winnings. It would have to be an omen.
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