August 28, 2012
First, Third, and DH for 8/28/12
While his talent is undeniable, Josh Vitters (Yahoo! 1%, ESPN 0%, CBS 8%) has also been slow to develop in the minors, something that appears to be translating to the majors. While Vitters picked up his first career homer last week, a no-doubter at Miller Park, he also recorded his fifth straight multi-strikeout game. In 51 plate appearances this season, he’s whiffed 16 times and walked just once, which is no way to start out your big league career, homer or no homer. Hang onto him in deep keeper leagues but wait for him to stabilize at the plate before counting on him in other leagues.
I’d added Eric Chavez (Yahoo! 11%, ESPN 10%, CBS 27%) to VP largely due to the absence of better options and his own hot streak. He’s cooled off, smacking just two hits to go with six whiffs in his last 21 plate appearances, and there are now other players to consider, so I’ll send Chavez packing, though he’ll still hold value in AL-only and very deep mixed leagues.
While his hit trajectories this season are in line with his rates in the past, the first anomaly to jump out of Scott’s performance this season is his 5.1 percent walk rate, which is roughly half of his career average. Scott had offseason LASIK surgery, so one would expect a player to see the ball better, not worse, after improved vision. In Scott’s case, however, he’s had trouble with breaking pitches and cutters this year, perhaps an indication that he’s still learning to recognize these pitches with improved vision (or maybe it’s merely random). The increased aggressiveness suggested by that reduced walk rate could even mean he’s seeing the ball too well, and every pitch suddenly looks hittable. (Sort of like how I play baseball videogames.)
Just as likely a culprit, however, are the back problems that led to Scott’s first stint on the disabled list. His season triple-slash line stood at .220/.281/.424 in 196 plate appearances when he went on the DL on June 9, but in the 81 plate appearances immediately prior to that, he hit just .194/.259/.292, suggesting that his back had been bothering him for a while. After returning from the DL, he didn’t pick up a hit in his first 25 plate appearances, then went on a 10-game tear, hitting .385/.415/.769 in 41 plate appearances before his latest injury (an oblique) laid him low again. An injury-hampered start, a bit of rust after returning, and the reason behind Scott’s weak season line become a bit clearer.