July 2, 2012 posted by Matthew Dewoskin

2012 Fantasy Baseball: Leaders and Laggards Swing % LAGGARDS

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Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto Blue Jays

Some guys are just statues at the plate. They wait and wait for their pitch. It’s useful in real life. Guys who take pitches help their team. Taking pitches wears down pitchers and exposes the soft, sweet under belly of the bullpen. The more pitches a batter sees, the more likely he is to see a mistake. It’s a helpful skill, but it doesn’t always translate to fantasy baseball. There actually is such a thing as being too selective and, yes, it is annoying to have one of these guys on your fantasy roster.

We’re going to break down the top ten statues in major league baseball who aren’t in Monument Park in this week’s Leaders and Laggards: Laggards Edition. 

1. Ben Zobrist 36.3%
2. Jamey Carroll 36.8%
3. Joe Mauer 37.1%
4. Dustin Ackley 37.1%
5. Lucas Duda 37.3%
6. Jemile Weeks 37.4%
7. Logan Morrison 37.6%
8. Jose Bautista 37.9%
9. Carlos Santana 38.3%
10. Martin Prado 38.7%

Ben Zobrist is awesome to own in OPS leagues, but painfully, painfully frustrating in standard leagues. His patience is basically wasted in a standard format league. The walks are nice and he might nick a few more runs, but it’s essentially a season full of 0-2 days. He’s got a 19.7% O-swing %. That means that he swings at one out of every five pitches outside the strike zone. For comparison sake, Josh Hamilton swings at 46.5% of all pitches he sees outside the zone. That boils down to every other pitch outside the zone.

Jamey Carroll? In fantasy baseball? Are you trying to lose your league? He gets on base reasonably well, but he has zero power and less speed. There really isn’t an imaginable scenario in which a fantasy GM would have Carroll on their roster.

Joe Mauer’s plate discipline has never been in question. His health and power production are in question. Mauer has simply given up on trying to hit homers. He’s posting a 3.10 GB:FB ratio with a 19.2% FB %. Anyone who drafts a healthy Joe Mauer before the 10th round in a standard league needs to have his/her head examined. The batting average and runs are nice, but he’s not going to help in any other categories.

The swing metrics on Dustin Ackley indicate he’s going to develop into a solid, patient major league hitter. The sad fact is that he’s not there yet and he’s stuck at a home park in which he’s posting a .217/.295/.252 slash line. He’s competent on the road, but it’s starting to look like SafeCo wasn’t built for Dustin Ackley.

Lucas Duda’s minor league numbers indicated he might strike out a ton, but it’s not really clear why. He’s actually very selective at the plate. He only swings at pitches outside the zone only 22.8% of the time he sees them and he only swings and misses 8.0% of the time. He’s suffering through a .254 BABIP. He does profile as a fly ball hitter with a 0.95 GB:FB ratio, but .254 is low even for him. Duda could looks poised to have a solid second half.

Jemile Weeks is a patient hitter(19.9% O-swing %) with speed who puts the ball on the ground(1.46 GB:FB ratio). So, why is having such a poor year? The .248 BABIP might have something to do with it. This is the regression that was looming after his .350 BABIP last year. He actually looks like a decent buy low guy for the second half if you need help with speed and batting average.

Logan Morrison is way too patient to be this bad. His swing metrics don’t really have any red flags. His .241 BABIP is very low for a guy with a 1.10 GB:FB ratio. He’s been unlucky and looks like a decent buy low guy if you need a fifth outfielder for the second half.

Jose Bautista is about elite as it gets. Not much to see here other than a guy who you would be lucky to have on your roster. His .237 batting average is a function of his .194 BABIP and his 0.72 GB:FB ratio. He puts a lot of balls in the air and you want him hitting balls in the air. That’s when homers happen.

Carlos Santana is still showing the plate discipline that he exhibited as a rookie and he certainly looks like a major league hitter, but he can’t really hit. He only swings at 58.7% of pitches he sees in the zone. It’s okay to take the bat off the shoulder, son. That’s the only way you can hit baseballs. He hits a lot of balls on the ground(1.29 GB:FB ratio) and has a low BABIP(.267). He’s starting to look like Matt Weiters in his second and third years. The only difference is that Weiters was able to post an OPS over .700.

Martin Prado is actually a very selective hitter who happens to be good at putting balls in play. He’s a victim of the luck dragons more than most hitters. He’s ownable when his BABIP is high(.341 right now) and waiver wire fodder when he’s not(.266 last year).


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