Mark Teixeira- The Yankees have been waiting for several seasons for Mark Teixeira to heal from the wrist injury he suffered prior to the 2013 season. Well, the wait ended in 2015. Teixeira hit his 30th home run on Friday night. He is currently sporting a .315 ISO, which would be the best of his career. It is astounding that Tex has been able to rebound in this manner, and it may be more astounding given how frequently Tex is hitting the long ball. His 24.0% HR/FB rate is also a career high. I don't know if you can continue to expect career highs from Tex in his age-35 season, but at this point, there isn't really anything to do but ride that ride.
Josh Donaldson- Josh Donaldson has eclipsed his 2014 home run total with his 30th bomb of the year on Friday. The big news is that Donaldson has done that in almost 200 fewer plate appearances as playing in the American League East seems to agree with Donaldson. The big difference has been an 8.4% increase in Donaldson's HR/FB rate from 2014 to 2015. Everything appears to be in line for Donaldson to finish strongly in 2015, but I will caution owners that his batting average could regress slightly as his BABIP is inflated compared to 2014 (although it is in line with 2013 so this might be an unnecessary concern).
Joe Kelly- When a pitcher's fastball sits in the mid-90's, it is assumed he will be able to generate strikeouts based on his velocity. Joe Kelly has consistently struggled with meeting that expectation despite his very solid velocity. On Friday night, he looked a bit closer to what we expect from a pitcher with his velocity as he struck out 7 in the first 3 innings. The only probably with Kelly's increased K Rate is that it appears to be coming at the cost of some ground balls as Kelly is pitching to a less than 50% ground ball rate for the first time in his career. The ideal for Kelly would be to continue to trend positively with the strikeouts while regaining the ground ball rate. We will have to see as the year progresses if he can continue to improve on this.
Brain Dozier- Brian Dozier was a favorite of mine to write about in 2014 as he broke out with a 23 home run and 21 steal season. In 2015, Dozier has been less of a surprise and a slightly less valuable asset as he has not run nearly as often. Dozier has already exceeded his 2014 home run total with 24, but at only 9 steals through this point, it is a fair bet that Dozier will struggle to reach even 15 steals on the season. It's tough to complain too much about a second baseman who has an outside chance of hitting 30 home runs on the season, but the decrease in speed has changed the way we need to value Dozier moving forward.
Carlos Santana- We have seen a disappointing change in Carlos Santana's power in the 2015 season. Santana has just about every indicator we don't want to see for a home run threat. His fly ball rate is down a couple points from 2014, his IFFB Rate is up 4% and his HR/FB is down almost 5% this season. All of this is an indication that Santana's power is just not what it was in 2014, which is incredibly concerning. Over the last 1,088 plate appearances, Santana's BABIP has been in the .250 range. This has led him to hurt owner's batting averages. In 2014, you could accept that batting average sacrifice for the 27 home runs. In 2015, it is questionable as to whether you will even get 20 home runs for a similar sacrifice. It will be difficult to trust drafting Santana come 2016 given this kind of power shortage.
Today's American League Player Blog is brought to you by Nicholas Rossoletti. You can follow Nicholas on Twitter @NRoss56.
This is just a small sample our our daily analysis, join our member area for more premium content: http://www.fantistics.com/join/join.php3