July 17, 2012
First, Third, and DH for 7/17/12
One of the reasons players linger longer on the waiver wire at this point in the season can be traced to their season line. A weak start can sandbag a player’s stats, and less-than-careful owners can overlook improvements by only looking at the bottom line. That’s the best explanation for the lower ownership rates for some of my VPs this week, who are all performing well of late despite weak overall lines.
Jordan Pacheco (Yahoo! 3%, ESPN 1%, CBS 14%) is hitting over .300 for the season, but he’s still out there on most waiver wires, with those ownership levels continuing to sink. That’s undoubtedly because he hasn’t backed up that .306 average with either power or counting stats. His subpar 4.5 percent walk rate is counterbalanced by a very strong 88 percent contact rate, so you can expect his batting average to remain high while his OBP and power will stay low.
Finishing the first half strong with four extra-base hits, Luke Scott (Yahoo! 12%, ESPN 13%, CBS 27%) started the second half weakly, going hitless in six plate appearances over the weekend. Some of this comes from his recent lack of patience—he picked up only his second walk in his past 83 plate appearances on Saturday—but I expect that to normalize when his swing gets more settled.
As reflected in BP’s new PITCHf/x cards, Scott has not been hitting pitches outside of the zone very well. As with many lefty sluggers—like Travis Hafner, as demonstrated last week—Scott gets worked down and away by pitchers (especially lefties), and in 2010 (his best season), he was driving those pitches or putting them in the air. This led, unsurprisingly, to greater power. In 2011, when his OPS was 200 points lower than 2010, he hit those pitches into the ground, drastically reducing his power. This season falls somewhere in between those extremes in line drives and fly ball rate, restricting his slugging. If he can find that plate coverage again and produce when pitchers throw to the outside part of the zone, he can put up a season more like 2010 and less like 2011.