If you see something, say something. You hear this phrase uttered prominently in the NYC Subways in hopes of tipping others off to potential danger and calls for caution. While this motto has kept many out of harms way and united people in the process, this can still translate to other aspects of life. And while complete transparency is always satisfying, if we see something we should say something no matter how good or bad. Here are a few things I have picked up on that should not go unnoticed:
PATRICK CORBIN, SP WAS (50.15 ADP)
34.4% Zone Rate (57th)
38.0% O-Swing (1st)
15.6% Swinging Strike Rate (2nd)
66.8% Contact Rate (2nd)
Patrick Corbin throws the ball in the strike zone on 34.4% of his pitches. That is dead last (57th) among qualified pitchers on the season. That means that he only throws the ball in the strike zone about 1/3 of the time, while the league average is 43.0%.
He also led the league in O-Swing (38.0%) and was 2nd in swinging strike rate (15.6%) and 2nd lowest in contact rate (66.8%). When you combine his incredibly low zone rate with his league leading plate discipline metrics, it seems like it would only take one savvy manager to tell his players to lay off the breaking stuff. And if the rest of the league gets wind of it and forces him to live in the zone, Patrick Corbin could be in for an ugly season.
RHYS HOSKINS, OF PHI (40.2 ADP):
March 29 to May 29 (216 Plate Appearances)
.233/.363/.415 (.778 OPS) 6 HR 28 R 28 RBI 10.6% BB 31.9% K
.315 BABIP .341 wOBA 114 wRC+
50.4% Flyball 34.2% Hard Contact 44.4% Pull
June 9 to September 30 (444 Plate Appearances)
.251/.349/.534 (.883 OPS) 28 HR 61 R 68 RBI 11.9% BB 20.0% K
.254 BABIP .374 wOBA 136 wRC+
52.2% Flyball 34.6% Hard Contact 52.2% Pull
Rhys Hoskins would go on the DL on May 29 after fouling a ball off his face and breaking his jaw. If you owned Hoskins last season you would know that he was pretty terrible for a month leading up to this DL stint, hitting .143/.241/.265 (.506 OPS) with a 31.9% strikeout rate from 04/28 until going on the DL on 05/29.
In the 3.5 month span after returning from the DL, Hoskins ranked 3rd in HRs and 9th in RBI, but didn’t crack the Top 35 in OPS, wRC+ or wOBA. What’s worse is his 34.2% Hard Contact rate ranked 203rd in baseball in this timeframe. While his .254 BABIP shows he was a bit unlucky, it could conservatively see a 50 point increase. But his 52.2% pull percentage (10th) and 52.2% flyball rate (3rd) paired with his poor hard contact percentage don’t instill confidence that his BABIP will get better or that he will ever be much better than this slashline. Hitting the ball in the air too much can be a bad thing.
TRAVIS SHAW, 2B/3B MIL (95.12 ADP)
Travis Shaw was a BABIP victim in 2018. His .241 average paired with a .242 BABIP was underwhelming and was way down from his .312 BABIP in 2017. His 10.3% Barrel rate was up 3% from his 7.2% in 2017. His strikeout rate was a career low 18.4%, while is walk rate was a career high at 13.3%. His 18.1% Line drive rate was the lowest of his career, while his 44.5% Flyball was the 2nd highest of his career. His hard contact rate was up 2.5% to 39.8%. His o-swing (28.8%), swing % (44.4%) and swinging strike rate (8.2%) were career lows, while his contact rates were career highs. Rhys Hoskins is a very interesting comp to Travis Shaw. Even while drastically underperforming in 2018, Travis Shaw put up an identical stat line to Rhys Hoskins in 73 less plate appearances. I kind of think these two are the same player, but Shaw has a better chance to break out in 2019.
TYLER GLASNOW, SP TB (166.15 ADP) last 10 starts:
4.30 ERA 1.11 WHIP 52.1 IP 59 SO 10.1 K/9 3.1 BB/9 12% SwSt
With the exception of a 7 run 0.2 inning outing, Tyler Glasnow was pretty exceptional after being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays. While this outing drastically inflated his ERA, he pitched to a 4.35 FIP and 3.59 xfip, which clearly indicates that he got a bit unlucky. He also allowed 9 HRs in 10 games, yielding a hefty 1.5 HR/9 (8th) and 19.1% HR/FB (7th). If he could limit the HRs, he may be in for a career year.
ZACK WHEELER, SP NYM (93.52 ADP) LAST 20 STARTS:
2.52 ERA 0.99 WHIP 132.1 IP 126 SO
8.6 K/9 2.7 BB/9 11% SwSt 21.6% Hard Contact
From June 1 until the rest of the season, Zack Wheeler ranked:
3rd in ERA (2.52) 2nd in Innings Pitched (132.1) 3rd in WHIP (0.99)
He also had the lowest hard hit percentage (21.6%) and the 4th highest infield flyball percent (14.9%) in the league in that span. He also carried the 2nd lowest HR/FB rate (5.8%) and the 2nd lowest HR/9 (0.5). Wheeler is not only limiting the long ball, but pitching in the strike zone and inducing poor contact. 2018 was clearly a breakout year for Wheeler, but his 2.94 FIP and 3.76 xFIP show that this line is legit and should be sustainable. The sky is the limit for Wheeler in 2019.
REYNALDO LOPEZ, SP CHW (252.88 ADP):
In his last 11 starts, Reynaldo Lopez was awesome:
2.70 ERA 1.05 WHIP 66.2 IP 8.8 K/9 2.7 BB/9 3.42 FIP 4.33 XFIP
24.1% K 7.4% BB 11% SwSt
His XFIP clearly indicates that he was getting lucky and pitching over his head, but his slider is showing promise, with a .194 average against on the season. The pitch also induced a 37.1% o-swing and a 46.1% zone rate, resulting in an impressive 17.3% swinging strike rate and a 5.7 pval. Lopez will be pitching for a bad White Sox team, but these results clearly show he may be pitching up to his potential. Don’t sleep on Reynaldo Lopez in 2019.
TREVOR RICHARDS, SP MIA (446.47 ADP):
In 8 starts from July 14 to August 29, Richards had a nice little stretch:
3.02 ERA 1.12 WHIP 44.2 IP 10.1 K/9 3.2 BB/9
3.81 FIP 3.80 XFIP 13% SwSt 27.5% K 8.8% BB
His best pitch is his changeup, which he throws 32.2% of the time and finished with an insane 14.7 pval. Opposing batters are hitting .166 against his changeup and are chasing 52.3% of the time (o-swing). The changeup also has a 36.5% zone rate and a 24.2% swinging strike rate. Richards is a guy that should be available on the waiver wire, but also an excellent arm to keep an eye on. His fastball got knocked around last year to the tune of a .312 average (-14.0 pval) and his curveball was no better, producing a .321 average and a -3.4 pval. If Richards could better develop his arsenal and fix his trash-bag fastball, he could be in for a solid campaign.
NICHOLAS CASTELLANOS, OF DET (87.47 ADP)
2014 – 2017 SEASONS:
.266/.314/.448 (.762 OPS) 6.3% BB 23.8% K 104 wRC+ .326 wOBA 39.3% FB 36.9% Hard Contact
.298/.354/.500 (.854 OPS) 7.2% BB 22.3% K 130 wRC+ .363 wOBA 35.8% FB 47.9% Hard Contact
Castellanos barreled 53 balls in 2018 (15th) with an 11.2% Barreled ball rate, which is up from 10.7% in 2017. While his K rate increased in 2018, his walk rate of 7.2% was the highest of his career and up 1% from his 6.2% mark in 2017. His inflated .361 BABIP is most likely to come down, but his hard contact rate of 47.9% is up 4.5% from his 43.4% in 2017. He is also crushing curveballs, hitting .353 against them and .380 against changeups. Here are two of his best months:
MAY (110 PA):
.356/.391/.577 (.968 OPS) 3 HR 12 RBI 14 R 3.6% BB 21.8% K .442 BABIP .409 wOBA 162 wRC+ 51.2% Hard Contact
53.8% Pull 31.3% Center 15.0% Oppo
SEPTEMBER (115 PA):
.350/.409/.590 (.999 OPS) 4 HR 16 RBI 15 R 10.4% BB 19.1% K .403 BABIP .413 wOBA 164 wRC+ 44.4% Hard Contact
38.3% Pull 35.8% Center 25.9% Oppo
If you look closely, you will see his walk rate skyrocket, while relying less on pulling the ball and using the whole field more frequently. He clearly became a more balanced, patient hitter and has flashed elite potential at times. I am in no way saying that Castellanos is the same caliber of player or even could be for that matter, but I see a lot of JD Martinez in his profile.
YANDY DIAZ, 3B TB (473.79 ADP):
Yandy Diaz hit .462 against sliders last season (.450 against sliders in 2017). He also had a 44.4% hard contact rate, which cracked the Top 40 among hitters with at least 120 plate appearances. His average exit velo of 92.1 mph was good for 22nd best in the league among batters with at least 90 batted balls events. And while I am aware that 120 plate appearances is a very small sample size, these numbers are elite. But his 4.4° launch angle is well below the 10.9° league average and is the equivalent of hitting the ball into the ground. His low launch angle translated to a 53.3% ground ball rate (33rd highest) and a 23.3% flyball rate (22nd lowest). These numbers are trash. If you take a look at his heat zone, he clearly thrives on pitches down in the zone. And with his well-below average launch angle, these hard hit balls are becoming ground ball outs:
While everyone is aware of his incredible hard hit rate and exit velocity, not much is being made of his elite plate discipline:
21.4% o-swing (23rd best) – 30.9% LEAGUE AVERAGE
6.4% swinging strike rate (43rd best) – 10.7% LEAGUE AVERAGE
85.7% contact rate (36th best) – 77.0% LEAGUE AVERAGE
Yandy Diaz is a very good hitter, which is evident from his career minor league numbers:
.311/.413/.414 (.827 OPS)
14.6% BB 14.3% K
But his low launch angle has prevented him from ever hitting more than 9 home runs in a season in the minors. In fact, Diaz’s wOBA, which is a stat that puts more emphasis on doubles, triples and home runs, has never even come close to exceeding his OBP. This indicates extra base hits are virtually non-existent in his profile. But with a launch angle adjustment and a 44.4% hard hit rate, these hard hit balls could easily turn into doubles and gap power to all fields. Pair this with a 21.4% chase rate and an 85.7% contact rate, Diaz could easily exceed .300/.400/.500 with extended playing time. But how many homeruns? With his 10.7% walk rate and 18.1% strikeout rate in his 299 major league plate appearances, Diaz has upside that can still be tapped in to. I’m betting the Rays will be able to get him to his full potential.