(Values after name are ESPN ownership %, % point drop in ESPN ownership and Yahoo ownership %)
Jemile Weeks (68%, -21%, 61%) – Most of Jemile’s drop can be directly attributed to his sub-0.200 AVG. Projection systems had his AVG projected to be between 0.266 (Steamer) and 0.296 (Marcel). The drop in AVG is not from an increase K% which is almost identical to his career rate of 14%.
His low average is a from 0.207 BABIP. His 2012 batted ball numbers are similar to his 2011 numbers when his BABIP was 0.350.
Year: LD%, GB%, FB%
2011: 23%, 40%, 37%
2012: 23%, 43%, 34%
Using my xBABIP spreadsheet, here is what his xBABIP should be for the 2 seasons:
While he was a little lucky in 2011, he has been extremely unlucky so far this season. I would expect his AVG to increase as a few more batted balls begin to fall for hits.
Weeks other problem bringing down his value is the sub-standard Oakland offense that is scoring only 3.1 Runs per game. That value is the lowest in the AL and 3rd lowest in all of baseball. Even if he is able to turn his season around and hit for a better AVG, his counting stats are going to be surpressed until Oakland, as a team, hits better.
Neil Walker (67%, -15%, 53%) – Neil has two factors driving down his value and his ownership rate. The first is that he is hitting for no power. Currently his ISO stands at 0.027. Of his 22 hits, just 2 have gone for extra bases, a couple of doubles. While he is hitting for a decent AVG (0.293), there seems to be no power behind it.
To further show the drop in power, here are his fly ball and home runs average distances over the past 2+ seasons:
Fly ball and Home Run distance
2010: 292 ft
2011: 286 ft
2012: 264 ft
So far in 2012, his fly balls have traveled, on average, 20 ft less than in the past. I looked to see if he was suffering from any injurys, but could not find anything. Normally a player’s power is peaking at age 26, not declining.
The other problem with Neil Walker is that he is playing for the Pirates. The Pirates are currently last in the league with 2.8 Runs per game. They are not giving him the chance to generate many counting stats when he hits his singles.
Right now, Neil looks like a Plug-n-Play guy if owned in a shallow league. The high average won’t be a drag and he will get a few counting stats. In deeper leagues, the options available on the waiver wire are probably thin, so his owners may just have to ride out the power slump.
Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.