Jarrod Parker SP (OAK) - Parker earned his third straight quality start last night, allowing just 2 ER over 7 IP. However, Parker did not pitch that well. He walked 5 batters compared to just 3 strikeouts and of the 21 balls in play, 11 were fly balls, 5 line drives and 5 ground balls. Parker now has a 1.80 ERA after 3 starts, but owners should temper their expectations moving forward. Despite having a low K rate in his first 2 starts Parker managed a 86.7 LOB% and had not allowed a HR 23 combined line drives. After taking into account last night's start, Parker's LOB% will be even higher, and that is not sustainable as the league average is usually around the low 70's percentage wise. Also, despite allowing a HR last night Parker has now given up just 1 homer off of 22 fly balls, which is well below the league average. His BABIP is not super low but is a bit lucky when you consider he entered last night's start allowing a 31.6 LD rate, and in last night's start opponents had a LD rate of 23.8%. Don't be surprised if Parker has some rough starts in the near future, particularly on the road.
Derek Jeter SS (NYY) - Jeter is off to an absurd start hitting .397/.439/.595. I have to advise selling high on Jeter as there is no way he keeps up this pace. Consider that the 37 YO SS currently has a .198 ISO. That's higher than Jeter's ISO's the past 2 seasons...COMBINED. That is pretty unfathomable especially when you consider Jeter has a 62.5% GB rate and is chasing pitches outside of the strike zone more than ever before. It is also important to note that Jeter's ISO is being driven by 5 homers. Well, he has a HR/FB% of 31.3%. Jeter's previous career high is 17.1% and that happened 7 years ago; in the past 5 years Jeter has posted a double digit HR/FB rate just once.
Raul Ibanez OF (NYY) - Raul Ibanez hit a pair of homers last night to give him a total of 5 on the season. Early in the year Ibanez's indicators are strong and showing he can stave off decline for now. His EYE is .86, and he is hitting line drives at a whopping 26.2% rate. His HR/FB rate is right in line with his career average, and his infield fly ball rate is tied for a career best at 4.3%. In other words Ibanez is seeing the ball well, and it helps that entering play yesterday 88% of his plate appearances came against right handed pitching. Ibanez is a strong platoon option in leagues with daily transactions where you can afford to play him only when he starts against righties.
Kelly Johnson 2B (TOR) - Johnson ripped his 7th homer of the year last night and seems to be headed for a healthy bounce back year following an atrocious 2011. Will it continue? I think so. Johnson won't hit for a huge average as he is still striking out a ton. However a decreased chase rate (down to 26.8% from 30.7%) has led to more walks (career best 14.6 BB%) and a huge boost in EYE (up to .55 from .37). If there is a concern it is that Johnson's power could decline if his GB rate (career high 49.3 GB%) does not decrease as Johnson's current ISO is actually lower than last year's total despite a huge HR/FB rate of 27.3% which is not sustainable. If I had to guess, I'd say Johnson's GB rate decreases (improvement in chase rate should allow him to drive the ball) and that mitigates some of the ill effects from the almost certain HR/FB regression.
Elvis Andrus SS (TEX) - Back on April 24th analyst Joe Hettler wrote to be patient with Andrus' batting average. Hopefully our subscribers listened as Andrus is now hitting a robust .319 after a 2-4 night in which he scored 4 times. I am strongly encouraged by Andrus' start. At 23 YO Andrus is showing important improvements in patience (BB rate a career best 10.7%) and power (ISO's the past 3 seasons: .036/.082/.116). Andrus also has a 28.4 LD% and career LD% of 21.9% which is phenomenal. The chase rate has lowered from 25.1% to 20.5% and the swinging strike rate is where it always is at right around 4.5%. Both marks are elite. Andrus is headed for his best season yet.