Waiver Wire efficiency: Batting averageby Derek Carty
August 20, 2007
We've got a lot of guys to talk about, so we'll jump right into it.
Ryan Spilborghs | COL | OF | 1.3% - I've talked about him a lot over the past couple of weeks. Spilborghs should be a good bet for average in addition to home runs and RBIs.
Jose Vidro | SEA | 1B/2B | 3.0% - .347 BABIP is too high, but he has a 90% contact, 11% walk, and 20% line drive rate, so he should still put up a pretty good average. With a BABIP regression to .315, his batting average would be .291. Doesn't have much power or speed, but he could grab a decent amount of runs.
Conor Jackson | ARZ | 1B | 4.9% - Even if his 7.1% HR/FB doesn't increase another hundreth of a point, I would still expect Jackson to hit .300 the rest of the way. His 88% contact rate is good, but when you look at his 12% walk and 20% line drive rates, his .287 BABIP is just too low. Crank that up to .320, and Jackson is hitting .301.
Casey Kotchman | LAA | 1B | 7.4% - His 15% line drive rate is a little worrisome, but he is selective at the plate (9% walk rate) and makes a ton of contact (91% contact rate). Batting average might come down a bit, but he should still be a pretty solid bet for a good average.
Brian Giles | SD | OF | 4.7% - Giles is one of the better guys on this list. 88% contact rate, 12% walk, and 21% line drive rates are very good. His .332 BABIP is modest enough to lead us to believe Giles should be able to post a batting average over .295, even if it regresses a bit.
James Loney | LAD | 1B | 4.7% - We are looking at a sample size of 199 at-bats, but so far, Loney has been great, contact wise. His 24% line drive rate support the .337 BABIP, although he might not be able to keep hitting so many line drives. His 86% contact rate is also good, so — while risky — Loney could help certain teams out.
Milton Bradley | SD | OF | 1.2% - .358 BABIP will come down. If it regresses to a reasonable .310 mark, he would hit .285. Will be able to grab a handful of homers and steals, too.
Scott Hatteberg | CIN | 1B | 0.1% - You would think a guy with an 88% contact, 12% walk, and 20% line drive rate over his career would be able to manage more than a .273 batting average and .289 BABIP. So what's different about this year's .301/.309 marks? It's his career high 24% line drive rate and 10% HR/FB rate. He could find himself closer to his career marks the rest of the way, though, with just a 21% line drive rate since the All-Star break and 15% line drive rate this month. And come September, Joey Votto will be with the club and could cut into his at-bats. Opt for other players.
Mark Grudzielanek | KC | 2B | 0.7% - I had expected to say you should target this guy, but his career low 17% line drive and always low 4% walk rate make me skeptical of his .334 BABIP. His 88% contact rate doesn't do enough to save him, in my opinion. Go for safer options.
Andre Ethier | LAD | OF | 0.4% - While his numbers are good, Ethier doesn't get regular at-bats. When looking trying to make up ground in the batting average category, at-bats are very important. The more at-bats of a good batting average, the more impact it will have on your team's average. 87% contact, 9% walk, 19% line drive rates are pretty good. BABIP might regress from .317 just a tad, but he should still be able to hit over .290. Still, his value is limited because of his at-bats.
Kenny Lofton | CLE | OF | 11.7% - In the same boat as Ethier. Good, sustainable numbers, but not enough at-bats to make a better option than other guys on this list.
Mike Lamb | HOU | 1B | 0.5% - His pretty good power (13% HR/FB), combined with an 11% walk rate and 19% line drive rate allow Lamb to keep batting average over .290. Still, he's another guy in the Andre Ethier, part-time play-time mold.
Anyway, I hope that helps. I'll try and finish up the rest of the series tomorrow.
Derek Carty, 23, has also been published by NBC's Rotoworld, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, and USA Today. This season, he'll be contributing to FanDuel and will be linking to all of his work at DerekCarty.com. In his three years competing in expert leagues, he has won 2 titles with 4 top three finishes, including a LABR NL title in 2009, making him the youngest person to ever win a major expert league title. Derek is a proud graduate of the MLB Scouting Bureau's Scout Development Program and is a firm believer in the importance of combining stats and scouting. He welcomes questions via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter.
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