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Fantasy Roundup: Will Wright Rebound?

If you’re like me you shake your head every time you look at a Mets box score and see David Wright’s numbers. It seems as though he either goes 1-for-3 with a single and an RBI or he goes hitless. OK, I’m over-exaggerating, but you know what I mean; it seems as though he’s not making hard contact. As of Thursday morning he has a .097 ISO, nearly 50 points than the lowest ISO of his career (.140 in 2009).

For his career he has a 13.4% HR/FB rate, yet he currently has a 5.6% HR/FB rate. The current HR/FB rate screams positive regression, but let’s looks a little deeper. Since 2007, 80 of his 131 home runs have come on fastballs (I count fastballs and sinkers as fastballs). The table below shows his performance against fastballs since 2008. WHAV is well, hard-hit average.

The first trend I noticed was his WHAV is better than last year, but his HR/FB rate is incredibly low. If the HR/FB rate positively regresses, and that’s a big if, the home runs may not improve as dramatically if continues to hit ground balls more than 44% of the time.

For the year he has 43% stolen base success rate, which is extremely low considering he has 76% success rate in his career prior to this year. Since he’s 31 it’s possible he has lost a step, but his UBR (Ultimate Base Running) per FanGraphs is less than 2013, but it’s relatively the same as 2011-12. The URB indicates the low success rate is not due to a decrease in speed, which provides optimism the success rate should improve.

By the end of the year Wright should finish the season with 15 HR, 15 SB, and 85-plus RBI but I wouldn’t project more than that. If I own him I’m trying to package him for players with higher upside such as Todd Frazier or Brett Lawrie. Last week I wrote about how Frazier’s power increase is legit.

Game Notes

Kevin Gausman has faced the Athletics and Blue Jays, easily the two best offenses in the majors, and has only allowed nine hits and two runs over 13 innings. The chatter in fantasy circles prior to the game was Gausman was going to go back to the minors, but I cannot see how Orioles management can do that. He’s clearly the best or second-best starting pitcher on the roster. At the very least he’s better than Bud Norris. Even if Gausman does get sent down he’ll be back up in a couple of weeks, which makes him a great stash in all formats.

Ervin Santana got lit up for six earned runs against the Rockies. In four of the past six starts he has allowed five earned runs or more. One the biggest reasons for his ineffectiveness has been his slider. For the first six starts of the season his slider had a 45% strikeout rate, but in the past five games it’s only 29%. His next three starts are home against the Phillies, at the Nationals, and at the Phillies. I would stream him in every start in every format because I think he figures it out.

Jesus Montero was recalled by the Mariners and he “would be mostly used against left-handed pitchers and as a designated hitter, but is an option to play in the field at first base.” With Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders on the DL, there is a clear path to everyday at-bats at either DH or first base, but the question is will receive a significant portion of those at-bats? If so, will he productive?

In Montero’s career at home he has a .226 batting average compared to .277 on the road so his home/road splits suggest he can be a competent hitter. In AAA this year his slash line is .270/.345/.455, which isn’t that overwhelming considering he was regarded as an elite prospect three years ago. Everyone is writing him off (at least according to Twitter), but I would take the chance on him in a two-catcher league or a deep mixed league with one catcher. Carlos Ruiz is currently the 14th-rated catcher on ESPN’s Player Rater. I believe Montero has the ability to at least provide similar value to Ruiz. The likelihood Montero fulfills the potential of the elite prospect ranking three years ago is slim, but if he can hit for the next two weeks he should be able to supplant Justin Smoak as the primary first base/DH option.

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About the author: I write a daily column for Baseball Professor called the Fantasy Roundup. You can also find my writing at Through the Fence Baseball and MattCommins.com.

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