Morales is off to a slow start this season hitting just .222 through the first week of the season with 5 K’s and 0 BB’s in his first 27 AB’s. The interesting thing about Morales’ breakout season last year is that it was entirely a breakthrough in the power department. Morales’ plate discipline actually eroded as his K Rate nearly doubled. Morales ISO was tremendous at .263, but is it sustainable? The highest ISO Morales posted at the minor league level was .202. In addition Morales HR/FB Rate was over 18%, which is about 5% higher than the league average. You’d expect a higher HR/FB for a big power hitter, but since Morales was at just 12.5% the year before, you have to wonder how much of the power explosion last year can realistically be sustained? I have legitimate concerns and think Morales might settle in more as a 25-30 HR guy as opposed to a 30-35 HR guy. In addition trading out Chone Figgins for Erick Aybar in front of him in the lineup coupled with the decrease in power output could see his RBI’s drop back below 100.
Cruz is off to an eye-popping start to the season going 9-20 with 2 2B’s, 4 HR’s and perhaps most importantly just 3 K’s, compared to 4 BB’s. Cruz’s power has been unquestioned for years but an improved approach at the plate would make his ceiling almost limitless. Now I’m not expecting an EYE suddenly above 1.00, but an improvement back into the 0.65-0.75 range could mean some help in the BA category and more opportunities on base. With a monstrous 36-23 HR-SB projection for Cruz this year, we’re pretty excited about the hot start coupled with solid peripherals. Cruz is a potential #1 OF, being valued as a back-end #2 or #3, and is the type of player we recommend “buying high” on.
I was perhaps Fantistics loudest voice in the face of David Ortiz last season, referring to him as “done” on a number of occasions and indicating he had only become a viable fantasy option when playing at Fenway. Ortiz’s big 2nd half in the power department gave some owners some hope of a potential turn-around with just a bit of a quicker start this year, but I remain skeptical. Ortiz’s peripherals fell apart last season, specifically his EYE which was met with a reduction in his BB Rate and a heightened K Rate. In addition his HR/FB Rate dropped for the third consecutive season and his ISO dropped approximately another 10% for the 2nd consecutive season. Through the first week it’s more of the same as Ortiz has struck out 9 times in his first 18 AB’s (50% for those non-math majors out there) and picked up just 1 extra base hit. I had gotten Ortiz late in a couple OPS driven leagues and figured I’d take a shot on the 2nd half, but I’ve quickly abandoned ship and I suggest you do the same.
Rios looked like a prime bounce-back candidate coming into the season, but he’s off to an abysmal start going just 4-23 through the first week. A closer look though shows Rios is suffering from some horrid luck. His skills (.75 EYE, 13% XBH Rate) in the early season small samples, are actually quite good; but a .059 BHIP% is skewing the batting average significantly. Considering the year Rios struggled through last year his owners may be particularly impatient and this might be a nice early season buy low candidate.
Jackson picked up 2 hits on Sunday to raise his average on the young season to .296. It was a pretty successful week for Jackson as he scored 5 Runs, swiped 2 bags, and picked up 8 hits in the Tigers first 6 games. On the periphery it looks like its all systems go for the rookie CF, as his BHIP% of .222 indicates his success isn’t luck-driven. But I’m concerned about the 9 K’s in his first 27 AB’s. In order to sustain this level of success Jackson is either going to have to maintain his 14.8% XBH Rate (not likely) or he’s going to have to cut down significantly on the K’s. Considering Jackson had a high K Rate in the minors (24%) while displaying just an 8% XBH Rate, I’m thinking things eventually turn ugly for Jackson.
There are over 100 player news blurbs posted in the member area each morning, members can read the rest of today's player news by clicking here link:www.fantistics.com/baseball00/. Not a member? Join today link:www.fantistics.com/join/join.php3
Yesterday on Twitter we had instant analysis on the closing change in Texas as well as injury information regarding Jacoby Ellsbury. Follow me all season long at http://twitter.com/DrewDinkmeyer