Hi, what’s up with Hayes – September 28, 2021
Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B (PIT)
Hayes was undefeated Monday with a strike-out in four plate appearances, dropping his wRC + to 88, 107 points lower than his 95-PA period last season in the majors. Hayes does not have the benefit of 2020’s .450 BABIP and 25% HR / FB rate. Up to 0.321 and 8.6% respectively in 2021, Hayes’ overall production is very pedestrian. However, the peripheral regression is not unfounded. A four percent drop in barrel pace, five percent reduction in launch angle, 10 percent regression in striking pace and eight percent downturn in sweet-spot pace show a significant change in Hayes’ batting profile. The BABIP and HR / FB decline can therefore not be explained simply by bad luck. However, it is important to note that Hayes has missed significant time with a wrist injury and wrist problems can severely inhibit a butcher’s strength. Monitor the young 3rd baseman’s health over the off-season as he is talented and represents an interesting buy-low candidate.
Joey Votto, 1B (CIN)
Votto was a big presence in Cincinnati’s 13-run outburst on Monday, putting his second two-homer game in the last five, both against Pittsburgh. He added four RBIs and the 38-year-old is two home runs after hitting his career high and four RBIs from his fourth 100-RBI season. Votto’s power surge coincided with the highest swing strike rate of his career, three points above his career average. His contact rate is an everyday low and his CSW rate is the highest of any full season. But, and I think you know where it’s going, Votto’s quality of contact is phenomenal, significantly higher than any season of the Statcast era, among the very best in all of baseball. He rediscovered himself in his 14th season. Projecting him in 2022 is difficult. Will he show age-related regression or can this reimagined Votto sustain this power-driven production for three or four years? It is a high-risk / high-reward choice that should only be selected with the appropriate supporting cast.
Eugenio Suarez, 3B (CIN)
Suarez was a key contender in the Reds’ offensive outburst on Monday and finished with three shots and a step, including his 29th home run of the season. The three-stroke effort moved him seven points closer to the Mendoza line. With just two seasons removed from 0.271 and three removed from a .283 batting average, Suarez will place his second consecutive season with an average around .200. This is directly linked to BABIPs in the low .200s (.214 in 2020, .220 this season). So how can Suarez go from six consecutive seasons with BABIPs over .300 to rugby seasons with BABIPs in the low .200s? Part of it can be attributed to a rising launch angle limiting his line drive and a failure to hit the ball on the sweet spot of the bat. Therefore, its hit rate has decreased and also its HR / FB rate is lower due to more weak pop flies. It’s almost as if Suarez has lost track of what made him great. For several years, he smashed stands on the lower inner corner. That hasn’t changed, but his swing percentage on those pages has dropped. He does not swing in the zone he normally demolishes. This indicates an external problem that needs to be fixed. At 30, he has time to fix it.
Josiah Gray, SP (WAS)
Gray escaped his first career start at Coors Field with moderate damage, allowing three runs on four shots and three walks in 5.1 overs. All the damage came in the 6th inning. After allowing only two hits and one step through the first five frames, Gray stumbled through the series for the third time, allowing two hits and two steps before getting the hooker. On the plus side, having allowed at least one home run in each of his first 11 games, Gray has not allowed a long ball in each of his last two starts. Unfortunately, its velocity was lower on Monday while its average exit velocity was higher. Nevertheless, there is a lot to like about the young fireball player. Its flavor rate is impressive and hiking was not a problem in the minor leagues, so I would expect the unremarkable hiking rate of 10.9% to stabilize. Gray has been put in a very unenviable position: trading after only two career appearances. He needs a full off-season with the expectation of opening 2022 as a regular rotation piece in Washington. Let other fantasy owners hide from this subpar campaign and take a chance on the talented prospect.
Bryan Reynolds, OF (PIT)
Reynolds doubled on Monday for his 62nd extra shot put this season. Reynolds has always been able to hit average, but the power has really come to the fore this season and turned the 26-year-old outfielder into a deep-league goalkeeper. Reynolds’ .212 ISO is 23 points higher than his previous career best and his wRC + stands at an encouraging 136. His more selective approach to the record has contributed to an improved EYE and a better option for pitches to swing to . He chases pitches less and so his swings are simply more productive. Reynolds, always a strong fastball batsman, improved his power against break / speed sheets. He has seven home runs against non-speedballs, up from just two in 2019. Underestimated and undervalued, Reynolds is a clever fantasy target to bolster the outside field.
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