With a BHIP% over 90 points higher than Branyan’s career average in the middle of June, some significant batting average regression was expected. Here in July we’re seeing it come fast and furious. Branyan’s in the midst of an ugly 7-45 slump that includes 20 K’s. The .100 BHIP% during July is a big part of the batting average drop, but a continued increasing K Rate by month is the big culprit here. Branyan’s K Rate has gone from 28% in April to 30.6% in May to 33.7% in June to 44.4% here in July. For a guy with a career 39% K Rate at the big league level, this deterioration in contact skills doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but it is the indicator that Branyan’s going to have a terribly difficult time replicating his first half success. 15 more HR’s seems likely, but alongside a .220-.230 batting average the rest of the way is also a fair expectation.
Sabathia saw some needed regression in his BHIP% on Sunday as he allowed 9 hits in 6 2/3 innings. He also walked 3 in the outing and the 12 base-runners turned into 5 ER’s as he picked up his 6th loss of the season. Sabathia owners may have their disappointments with a slightly lower K Rate than may have been expected (.74) and just a 3.86 ERA at the conclusion of the 1st half. However, taking a look at Sabathia’s career splits suggest this should’ve have been the 1st half expectation. For his career Sabathia has posted a 3.87 ERA during the 1st half and a 0.79 K Rate. Those numbers improve in the 2nd half to 3.39 and 0.89. With Sabathia showing improvements in his K Rate of late, after a slow start, his owners should feel good about the big LH’s chances of replicating his career rates in the 2nd half.
When the guru speaks you should listen. Back at the end of June we were treated to a few blurbs from site founder and statistician Anthony Perri and one of the highlighted blurbs was to sell high on Mark Buehrle, whose peripherals suggested far worse production than had taken place on the field. It seems almost all of that regression came in Sunday’s outing in the Metrodome. Buehrle surrendered 10 hits, including 3 long-balls, and a walk in just 3 1/3 innings and a whopping 8 of those 11 base-runners crossed home plate. A .255 BHIP (30 pts below his 3 year average), .80 Strand Rate (.07 higher than his 3 year average), and 9.8% HR/FB Rate (4% below league average), were all corrected in the outing. Buehrle’s Ratio production is now closer in line with his peripherals, expect some milder regression as the season goes on if he continues to struggle with the long-ball in his ERA and some continued deterioration in his WHIP, but a high 3’s/low 4’s ERA and a WHIP in the mid-to-high 1.2’s seems about right.
I highlighted Anderson’s improving peripherals back in the middle of June and now we’re seeing a budding star. Anderson threw another 4 scoreless innings before being removed with back tightness on Sunday as a precautionary measure, striking out 3 and walking 1 against the vaunted Rays lineup. He’s now struck out 37 and walked just 10 in his last 40 innings. Throw in a 48% GB Rate and pitching in spacious Oakland Coliseum and Anderson is becoming mixed league worthy in a hurry. A Strand Rate of 0.69 shows some room for improvement in his ERA as do the improved peripherals of late. In 14 team mixed leagues and larger I think he’s a must-own because of the peripherals and great pitching home, while in 12 team leagues and less he remains a viable back-end starting option. With just 105 innings last season, there is some mild concern for Anderson being limited down the stretch (already at 87 1/3 innings), but I think Anderson is a terrific waiver wire addition as long as he’s out on the mound.
The pace has slowed considerably for Adam Jones as he’s scored just 15 Runs and knocked in just 11 since May 28th, a span of nearly 150 AB’s. Though Jones has always struggled with plate discipline, he’s made slight improvements this season and his great power rates early in the season encouraged me to proclaim stardom. Perhaps it was a bit early given Jones’ struggles as he’s now gone 53 AB’s without an extra base hit and has just 6 in his last 159 AB’s for a putrid 3.8% Rate. This comes after racking up 25 extra base hits in his first 161 AB’s (15.5%). With a career 10.5% extra base hit rate at the minor league level, 13.8% rate his last season in AAA, I expect improvement over his 7.7% Rate last season. Perhaps the early season rates were extraordinarily high and due for regression, but I still believe a 9-10% rate is likely the rest of the way and as the O’s offense gets going again Jones will start racking up the run production. Unfortunately “stardom” may have been a bit premature as a tag on Jones, whose last month and a half of production has been well below replacement level.