Pick Up All the Padres

The Rockies finish out their seven game homestand with a three game series against the Padres beginning on Friday. If you’re in the a daily transaction league, now may be the time to load up on as many Padres as you can, if you haven’t already filled your roster with Rockies. Let’s discuss who might be available in your league.

Ha-Seong Kim | SS/3B 31% CBS Owned

Initially, the assumption was that Kim would get a couple of months of regular playing time until Fernando Tatis Jr. returned from injury. With Tatis now out for the season, having not made it back at all thanks to a suspension, Kim has remained a starter nearly all season. Unfortunately, after a disappointing debut season last year, he hasn’t rebounded much or performed anything like he did in his Korean league days.

While he has reduced his strikeout rate and avoids swinging and missing, he simply hasn’t shown the type of power we had hoped for. It’s surprising though as his maxEV is healthy and he has remained a fly ball hitter. He has just not barreled up the ball at a high enough rate, so he hasn’t gotten the most of his above average maxEV.

He hasn’t been useless though, as he has stolen 10 bases, while his .247 batting average is actually above replacement level. I still have higher hopes for him in the future, and he makes a decent pickup for a couple of Coors Field games given his contact ability.

Austin Nola | C 25%

Since performing admirably and showing off above average power in both 2019 and 2020, Nola’s bat has gone gold the last two seasons. The majority of his skills have remained stable, and I love his mid-single digit SwStk%. However, he has hit for almost no power, with HR/FB rates around just 4% the last two seasons and a sub-.100 ISO this year.

However, like Kim, his maxEV remains above average, providing some optimism, but he simply hasn’t been able to barrel his balls. Interestingly, his 2019 Barrel% was weak, and didn’t match with the mid-teen HR/FB rate, so perhaps those early power numbers were the fluke.

That said, a catcher with good contact ability that has flashed power in the past is worthy of starting for a three game set at Coors.

José Azocar | OF 0%

The Padres have been mixing and matching in center field recently, with Azocar getting the start the last three games. While one might have assumed he would serve on the short-side of a platoon with Trent Grisham as the right-handed side, two of those three games were against right-handers. So I’m not sure exactly what the Padres are doing, but since he has earned the last three starts, the best bet is to assume he’ll also earn the majority (or all) of the starts during their three game series at Coors.

Azocar has failed to hit a home run in 169 at-bats, which is pretty shocking for a guy who posted a 22.7% HR/FB rate over a small sample at Triple-A this year and a 13.2% mark at Double-A last year. But he’s oddly gone through powerless spells before, as he also failed to home at Triple-A last year over 190 at-bats. He does steal bases though, and has swiped five with the Padres this year, so he hasn’t been a complete bust for the few fantasy teams that have owned him.

What he does do well is post strong BABIP marks, which have remained well above .300 every stint since 2018. Even without much power, that has ensured a positive batting average. That’s not something to count on over a three game series, so he’s not high on the list of Padres to pick up to take advantage of the Coors games.

Trent Grisham | OF 38%

Fantasy owners would certainly prefer if it was Grisham who made the starts during the team’s Coors Field visit. Of course, he would likely get benched against a left-handed starter, and a southpaw is scheduled to start against the team on Sunday. So at most, he might only start two games, but daily transaction leaguers have the ability to replace him on Sunday.

Grisham has endured his worst offensive season of his short career, posting a sub-.300 wOBA for the first time, which has made him less than a strong side platoon player. It has mostly been driven by a career worst BABIP, which has collapsed to just .228. That’s the third lowest among hitters with at least 450 PAs. However, an xBA of .208 versus his .189 actual mark suggests he hasn’t deserved a whole lot better.

He has still shown his normal power though and makes the most of it with a 43% FB%, plus he has chipped in six steals. So like Kim above, he’s exactly the type of pickup to make during a trip to Coors Field, as the category he has struggled with, batting average, isn’t one you can bank on over a small sample anyway. Add him for the potential power and speed and make sure he’s in the lineup first before doing so.

Wil Myers | 1B/OF 18%

Though he doesn’t have a regular position, Myers has still been in and out of the lineup enough recently to believe he could start two games at Coors. Obviously, a daily transactioner would have to ensure he’s in the lineup first before using a roster slot on him.

Like many this year, Myers’ power has disappeared, as his ISO has slipped to a meager .112, the second lowest mark of his career, and lowest since 2014. His HR/FB is sitting at a career low and only in single digits for the second time. Once again, his maxEV is relatively healthy and in line with his last two seasons, but his Barrel% is at a career low. He has also stopped walking and his strikeout rate continues to rise. I don’t know what has happened to his offense, but he’s been in a downward spiral.

That said, this is still Wil Myers, who has been an excellent fantasy contributor in previous seasons. I don’t think he has necessarily forgotten how to hit, and unless injuries are to blame, he has the potential to have a big game at Coors Field, which is why he would be worth speculating on if in the lineup.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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