Alex Gordon- KC- Cold- There was more frustration with a silver lining for Gordon last night as he went 0-for-1 but walked twice. This month Gordon is hitting just .187, but a BABIP of .235 can explain a lot of that. He has a Batting EYE of .73 in September, which is very encouraging. Given Gordon’s overall BABIP of .261, improved plate discipline and minor league production, he qualifies as a sleeper for 2011, since he’s probably no longer in the hot prospect classification.
Aaron Hill- TOR- Hot- Hill’s home run stroke is making an appearance with 2 long balls in 4 games. Although Hill has hit a lot of fly balls this season (54.6%) he hasn’t been hitting them as far as he did last year (10.9% HR/FB ratio down from 14.9% in 2009). He seems to have become too much of a free swinger. Hill is swinging at more pitches outside the strike zone (31.4% as opposed to his career average of 23.5%) and making more contact with them (71.2% compared to career mark of 61.5%). The percentage of strikes he sees has dropped to 47.8%, continuing the fall that saw him see 51.7% strikes last year after having no fewer than 54.8% strikes thrown to him in prior seasons. Hitting 36 homers last year may have screwed up his approach to the plate. Hill is now looking to go deep and opposing pitchers are exploiting that, giving his production the opposite effect. His 26 homers this season aren’t a bad total, but he might continue to decline if he doesn’t get back to basics.
Matt Wieters- BAL- Idea- Wieters drop in average from his rookie campaign (.288) to this year (.252) is likely correlated with a change from good luck (.356 BABIP) to bad (.289). Wieters has made significant improvements in plate discipline, raising his Batting EYE from .33 to .52. He may be undervalued for 2011 and looks ready to make a step forward.
Derek Jeter- NYA- Hot- Jeter has gone 21-for-62 in his last 15 games but hasn’t done much in other categories. In that stretch he has no homers and just 1 stolen base. Jeter is not anywhere near his production of a year ago. That .334 average with 18 homers and 30 steals was the result of a perfect storm of good luck (.368 BABIP) and an uncharacteristically high control of the strike zone (.80 Batting EYE). This season his BABIP is at a career low .304 (his average is .356) and his Batting EYE is back to exactly his career average of .60. Jeter’s low batting average of .268 can be partially explained by bad luck, but the 17 steals and 10 homers seem to be about what can be expected from The Captain these days. Factor in some further decline for age when evaluating him next season.
Elvis Andrus- TEX- Cold- Regression to the mean hit Andrus like a 2 X 4. His BABIP for the limited appearances he has made this month is .183, a large part of his .155 average in September. This has brought Andrus’ BABIP for the year down to .315 and his average to .264. Increasing his BB% from 7.4% in 2009 at 9.5% this year has boosted his OBP from .329 to .341, which is a nice thing to see in a leadoff hitter. Andrus’ main fantasy contribution is in the steal column and he was a plus there, swiping 32 bases. He did not suffer a sophomore slump and will be a solid source of stolen bases in 2011.