7UP: Players Who Are On The Rise
The first couple months of the MLB season are notoriously misleading. Statistical anomalies, unbelievable starts, and unprecedented slumps (cough, Josh Hamilton) mark the months of April and May, but with Memorial Day right around the corner, it’s time for players to start regressing towards the mean. Small sample sizes tell you very little in a game as intricate as baseball, so after two months, we should be able to make some actual conclusions about the stock of certain players. Here are seven guys who are on their way up.
Jean Segura, SS Milwaukee Brewers
The second-year shortstop as thrust his way into the N.L. Rookie of the Year discussion by posting a .348 batting average through the first two months. Segura is 3rd in the NL in offensive WAR, and is keeping fantasy teams afloat with 7 home runs and 14 stolen bases thus far. His absurd .400 batting average on balls in play (BAbip) during April made his season seem a bit fluky, yet he has maintained that pass with a .357 BAbip in May and remains one of the more dangerous hitters in the MLB.
Jason Kipnis, 2B Cleveland Indians
The Tribe is on fire lately, and that’s mostly thanks to their stellar lineup. They possess power and speed at nearly every position, and Kipnis is one position player who clearly possesses both. The second baseman struggled through the month of April, with a .200 average and just one home run, but he has picked it up considerably with 14 extra base hits and 5 stolen bases in May. Kipnis is integral to the Indians success- since he is batting .172 with only four extra base knocks and three RBI in losses, as compared to .284 average and 21 RBI in wins.
Jedd Gyorko, 2B/3B San Diego Padres
Continuing with the middle infielder trend, Gyorko is another batter who is finding his groove after logging over a hundred at-bats. The rookie from West Virginia struggled in April, but he’s now hitting .315 with five homers in May, and is batting .341 with ten runs scored in the last two weeks. Right now the biggest drag for Gyorko is his .203 BA on the road, as compared to a .345 average at home. Once he gets more comfortable in different Major League stadiums, he’ll be a dangerous young bat anywhere.
Kendrys Morales, 1B Seattle Mariners
It’s not that Morales first 100 AB’s with the Mariners were terrible, as he hit .250 with three home runs. However his slugging percentage (.390) in the first month was well below his career average of .491, and his .272 BAbip indicates that the big lefty was rolling over a lot of pitches for ground ball outs. After missing most of the 2010 and all of the 2011 season with a dubious ankle injury, Morales has struggled to rediscover his form at the major league level. But this May he is batting .338 with a .933 OPS and a .407 BAbip. Despite his position in the midst of the Mariners middling lineup, Morales is a potential stud who may be worth a look if he was dropped in your fantasy league.
Patrick Corbin, SP Arizona Diamondbacks
To say this second-year lefty is finding his stride would be a gross understatement. Corbin is now 7-0 with a 1.44 ERA in nine starts. He is the first pitcher to allow two earned runs or less in his first nine starts since Ubaldo Jimenez accomplished that feat with the Rockies in 2010, and only the second pitcher to pull off that kind of immaculate start in 100 years. The theme of this article is finding players whose career is one the rise, and even if Corbin regresses towards normalcy over the next couple of months, he’s clearly figured out how to pitch like an ace at the Major League level.
David Phelps, SP/RP New York Yankees
Phelps was thrust into the Yankees starting rotation as a replacement for the injured Ivan Nova. Phelps had a few issues adjusting to a starter’s role, but he has won his last two starts on the road in Toronto and Tampa Bay. He has posted a 2.53 ERA in those two starts, struck out 18 batters in 21.1 innings, and messed with perfection through the first five innings at Tropicana Field on Friday night. He may not remain in the rotation once Nova returns from his injury, but Phelps is an interesting young pitcher who is worth watching if he does receive an elongated opportunity to pitch in the Majors.
Jeff Samardzija, SP Chicago Cubs
The former All-American wide receiver at Notre Dame is having a very solid 2013 campaign with the Cubs, even if the paltry run support he’s received hasn’t led to a stellar W-L record. In fact, Samardzija is 2-6, but he’s posted a stellar 3.3 K:BB ratio, opponents are batting only .212 against him, and he’s tied for third in the N.L. with 72 strikeouts. The 6’5″ slender right-hander has been very inconsistent throughout his career, but this year he has only allowed over three earned runs in three starts, and his 3.25 ERA is an improvement from his 3.87 ERA in 2012. Basically, the young man is figuring out how to pitch and if the Cubs were able to figure out how to hit he might become one of the more notable young aces in the Majors.
Posted on May 25, 2013, in 2013, MLB and tagged David Phelps, Ivan Nova, Jason Kipnis, Jean Segura, Jedd Gyorko, Jeff Samardzija, Josh Hamilton, Kendry Morales, Patrick Corbin, ubaldo jimenez. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.