Walker and Weeks: 2B Ownership Decliners

On Monday, I looked at two 2B, Danny Espinosa and Ryan Roberts, who are being dropped the most in ESPN leagues. Today, I am going to look at the next most dropped 2B, Jemile Weeks and Neil Walker.

(Values after name are ESPN ownership %, % point drop in ESPN ownership and Yahoo ownership %)

Jemile Weeks (68%, -21%, 61%) – Most of Jemile’s drop can be directly attributed to his sub-0.200 AVG. Projection systems had his AVG projected to be between 0.266 (Steamer) and 0.296 (Marcel). The drop in AVG is not from an increase K% which is almost identical to his career rate of 14%.

His low average is a from 0.207 BABIP. His 2012 batted ball numbers are similar to his 2011 numbers when his BABIP was 0.350.

Year: LD%, GB%, FB%
2011: 23%, 40%, 37%
2012: 23%, 43%, 34%

Using my xBABIP spreadsheet, here is what his xBABIP should be for the 2 seasons:

Year, xBABIP
2011: 0.332
2012: 0.316

While he was a little lucky in 2011, he has been extremely unlucky so far this season. I would expect his AVG to increase as a few more batted balls begin to fall for hits.

Weeks other problem bringing down his value is the sub-standard Oakland offense that is scoring only 3.1 Runs per game. That value is the lowest in the AL and 3rd lowest in all of baseball. Even if he is able to turn his season around and hit for a better AVG, his counting stats are going to be surpressed until Oakland, as a team, hits better.

Neil Walker (67%, -15%, 53%) – Neil has two factors driving down his value and his ownership rate. The first is that he is hitting for no power. Currently his ISO stands at 0.027. Of his 22 hits, just 2 have gone for extra bases, a couple of doubles. While he is hitting for a decent AVG (0.293), there seems to be no power behind it.

To further show the drop in power, here are his fly ball and home runs average distances over the past 2+ seasons:

Fly ball and Home Run distance
2010: 292 ft
2011: 286 ft
2012: 264 ft

So far in 2012, his fly balls have traveled, on average, 20 ft less than in the past. I looked to see if he was suffering from any injurys, but could not find anything. Normally a player’s power is peaking at age 26, not declining.

The other problem with Neil Walker is that he is playing for the Pirates. The Pirates are currently last in the league with 2.8 Runs per game. They are not giving him the chance to generate many counting stats when he hits his singles.

Right now, Neil looks like a Plug-n-Play guy if owned in a shallow league. The high average won’t be a drag and he will get a few counting stats. In deeper leagues, the options available on the waiver wire are probably thin, so his owners may just have to ride out the power slump.




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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.


5 Responses to “Walker and Weeks: 2B Ownership Decliners”

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  1. Johnny Come Lately says:

    So Walker’s not suffering from any injurys, but what about injuries? Maybe that’s the cause.

    Sorry, bitter Walker owner here. My league’s too deep to just drop him. Jerk.

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  2. Greg says:

    What’s the likely hood that Jemile’s older brother, Ricky, will follow suit?

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  3. mcbrown says:

    For Walker, the average flyball distance may not really tell us much other than that he hasn’t hit any homeruns, which we already knew. If he hit a homerun or two, the average distance would be longer… is the lower flyball distance cause or effect? I’m guessing effect.

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    • Jason says:

      Umm… if he hit his flyballs farther, it would *cause* them to go over the wall. He isn’t doing that. I already dropped Walker in my league, I’m sure his production will pick up, but he was just a backup to provide me more options with Howie Kendrick’s positional flexibility anyway. I’ll keep my eye on him as the season progresses, but for now I can just pick up some hot hands on the wire (specifically, Aaron Hill) and let him find his way without taking up a roster spot.

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      • KDL says:

        Put a slightly different way…
        I suspect Pujols flyball/hr average distance is down a bit at the start of this year. Based on that information, and your assertion about Walker based on this stat alone we have to assume you think Pujols is going to hit FAR fewer home runs than normal this year, right?
        Or another way…
        Mike Minor had a much lower strand rate last year, so he is a going to have a significantly worse year. I mean, it’s not like his strand rate could return to a more normal level and he suddenly looks like a better pitcher.
        I think mcbrown offers an thoughtful ‘grain of salt’ perspective.

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