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Digging Deep: Hot Rods and Lemons (Week 3)

Digging DeepWe’re back with a new installment of Hot Rod or Lemon. This time we’re trying to get some names for you prior to Sunday night FAAB to maybe throw some money at (or to drop whilst picking up someone else). This article looks at StatCast data through Friday night’s games.

Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player.

Hot Rods

J.D. Davis

xwOBA (2.04) + AvgEV (1.69) + AvgDistance (-0.12) + Barrels/PA (1.93)

No surprise to see him written up here after revealing his name during the podcast. The Mets’ third baseman has been hitting lasers since getting more playing time in New York. With Todd Frazier’s looming return though, we’re not sure how the plate appearances will shake out – and in fact, he hasn’t started the last two Mets games on Thursday and Friday. But so far in 24 balls in play, Davis has been in the top 3% for barrels per plate appearance and xwOBA and in the top 10% for average exit velocity. His average distance, interestingly, is only league average so he may have a launch angle issue. Even still, he’s an intriguing option – provided the Mets give him plate appearances.

Hunter Dozier

xwOBA (1.24) + AvgEV (1.35) + AvgDistance (2.09) + Barrels/PA (1.31)

The former first-round pick may finally be putting it all together this year, as he is in the top 15% for these key StatCast batted ball metrics and in the top 3% for average distance. He’s having no trouble barreling the ball and in a retooling Royal season where they will likely be giving their players a long leash, he may have the freedom to thrive. In addition to the listed metrics, Hunter Dozier also grades out as a 60 for Maximum Exit Velocity and Maximum Distance. So he not only has Game Power, he is showing Raw Power too.

Jordy Mercer

xwOBA (0.97) + AvgEV (0.29) + AvgDistance (1.17) + Barrels/PA (1.36)

You wanted sleeper names, here is a sleeper name for you. The Tiger shortstop has played 13 games in a row (albeit hitting out of the 8th or 9th slot primarily) but has quietly put up some shockingly solid peripherals. Despite the superficially poor results (.195 batting average and .243 wOBA), his expected numbers are remarkably solid: .297 xBA and .401 xwOBA. In fact, his xwOBA-wOBA difference of +0.158 is the third largest discrepancy in the league. For those of you desperate for a shortstop, you could do much worse than Mercer.

Lemons

David Peralta

xwOBA (-0.57) + AvgEV (0.45) + AvgDistance (-0.34) + Barrels/PA (-0.54)

Despite the batting average of .359 and the wOBA of 0.386, the Diamondback outfielder is due for some significant regression as his xwOBA is actually below average at 0.283. His other hitting peripherals aren’t much better. If you can sell him at a good price, now might be the time to unload some freight.

Leury Garcia

xwOBA (-0.77) + AvgEV (-0.85) + AvgDistance (-1.26) + Barrels/PA (-1.27)

Leury Garcia was a popular name last week in FAAB – and for good reason, as he has hit at the top of the White Sox batting order in eight of the last nine games. And with a .341 batting average and wOBA of .349, it made a lot of sense. Unfortunately, looking under the hood, we see a lot of the same red flags that we saw above with David Peralta – but to an even larger degree. All of his batted ball metrics are not only below league average but essentially a 40 grade across the board. Don’t be surprised if the outfielder’s production falls off a cliff. Caveat Roster.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa

xwOBA (-0.81) + AvgEV (-1.85) + AvgDistance (-2.49) + Barrels/PA (-1.27)

Before the season, the hyphenated Middle Eastern chickpea meal was a popular sneaky name as he was expected to get full time at bats in a utility role and with all-important Catcher eligibility. And so far this season, on the surface he seems to be doing…okay but with a less-than-full-time role. His batting average is a reasonable .273 and his wOBA is actually above average at .338. Unfortunately, the reality is stark: he is hitting the ball with so little authority that he is in the bottom 2% of the league for exit velocity and distance. If you were holding on to him in the hopes he would eventually get full time playing time and the corresponding production, my suggestion to you is to cut bait.

Garrett Hampson

xwOBA (-2.06) + AvgEV (-2.68) + AvgDistance (-1.57) + Barrels/PA (-1.27)

The fantasy world has been waiting for the Rockies rookie to get untracked for weeks, but his underlying metrics have only reinforced the notion we are all guilty of forgetting sometimes. Repeat it with me: Spring Training Stats Don’t Matter. The brief idea that Hampson would begin to produce when Ryan McMahon joined David Dahl on the IL has become more and more a pipe dream as Hampson’s batted ball metrics have just not been inspiring in any way. In fact, there is a strong argument to be made that he is not ready for the major leagues at all right now.

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