A few weeks into the season, let’s take a look at some slow starters. I’m looking at hitters with the lowest BABIP. Most of these guys are good Buy Low targets, good luck finding a worried Mark Teixeira owner tho.
Mark Teixeira league worst .119 BABIP (career .306), K% up to 26.7% (career 20.2%), HR/FB% down to 11.1% (career 18.8%). It’s pretty easy to say Teixeira is struggling out of the gate, but that is usually the case (career .239 AVG in April). Nothing is out of line (O-Swing%, Contact%) in terms of his plate discipline, he is actually swinging at less pitches outside of the zone, so I wouldn’t worry about the K%. Try to get him.
Aramis Ramirez .128 BABIP (career .289), K% up to 34.9% (career 15.4%). ARam has some contact issues in the early going; his O-Contact% is down, his Z-Contact% is way down. Overall his Contact% is 69.4%, down from his 80.8% career Contact%. His Line-Drive% is an ugly 7.1%, last year it was 21.3%. Ramiriez is another slow starter (career .259 AVG in April), but the K% is worrisome. He hasn’t posted a K% this high in a month ever. If you are in need of a 3B, I’d ask a Ramirez owner what he wants for him.
Carlos Quentin .156 BABIP (career .251). Carlos doesn’t have a strong career BABIP, but it’s still down 100 points this season. He wont hit for a pretty AVG, you shouldn’t expect anything above .255, but that’s not why we draft him. He seems to be having some Contact issues (LD%, Contact%, HR/FB%), but he is walking more, 12.7% BB5 (career 9.3%), and the power is still there (.207 ISO). If you can stomach a .250 AVG and need the power, ask around.
Carlos Lee .176 BABIP (career .289). Carlos is another slow starter (career .258 April hitter), especially this year. He doesn’t have a HR yet and has only 3 RBI to go with his .143 AVG. Not good. His Line-Drive% is very low at 5.9% (career 20%) and his Fly Ball% is high at 56.9% (career 44.2%), so just by looking a the numbers, you’d think he has some mechanical issues. He isn’t making it any easier on himself by swininging at moe outside pitches, 33.6% O-Swing% (career 23.2%) and walking less, 3.1% BB% (career 7.3%). It’s hard to bet against the guy, the numbers are almost always there. I traded for him last year, after the All-Star break, and I was happy with the results. I’ll likely look to do the same again.
Hunter Pence .180 BABIP (career .319). Hunter has always been a bit of a free swinger, but his 55.2% Swing% is a career high. He is swinging at everything (career high in O-Swing%, career low in BB%), but he is making more contact, a lot more contact. He has an incredible 75.8% O-Contact% (career 56.9%) and his Zone Contact% is 91.1% (career 85%). I don’t expect Hunter to sustain these percentages, but he is usually a slow starter (career .250 AVG in April) and hitting is contagious (Berkman back, Lee turnaround coming) so Hunter could be a nice Buy Low target if you can find a worried manager.
Julio Borbon .190 BABIP (59 game career .317). Borbon isn’t utilizing his legs like he was last year, he thinks he morphed in Mark Reynolds or something. His Fly Ball% is 44.7%, it was 27.1% last season. I wasn’t expecting Borbon to repeat his .360 BABIP and projected a .280 AVG before the season started. He can’t hit Lefties (3 for 42 vs LHP) so he may only play 130 games and was bumped down to the bottom of the batting order so keep all this in mind if you choose to ask about his services. He has quickly fallen from over hyped sleeper to Brett Gardner-lite. Still, he has the potential to hit .285 and steal 50 bases.
Jay Bruce .195 BABIP (career .256). Bruce always appears to be the unlucky with his BABIP; .296 in 2008, .221 in 2009 and .195 in 2010. His BABIP numbers were great in the minors, jumping around from .345 to .425, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him with a .325 BABIP and .275 AVG. He is walking more, BB% up 0.8% to 10.6%, swinging at outside pitches less (O-Swing% down 1% to 25%) and has improved his Line Drive% from last year. He has even shown signs of turning it around recently, going 5 for 17 with 3 HR in his last 5 games. Bruce was someone I looked for in drafts because of the large profits to be made, I’m still on board.
League’s 10 Worst BABIP (min 40 PA)
.119 Mark Teixeira
.128 Aramis Ramirez
.129 Brandon Wood
.135 Travis Snider
.138 Jeff Clement
.156 Carlos Quentin
.162 Dioner Navarro
.163 Melky Cabrera
.163 Chris Coghlan
.167 Jhonny Peralta