(*) FACTS/FLUKES: Puig, Gallardo, Frazier, Beckett, Gattis

Puig putting on a show ... Perhaps no player may have been harder to project entering 2014 than Yasiel Puig (OF, LA). Puig's explosion into MLB last summer resulted in 19 HR, 11 SB, and many happy fantasy owners. However, his young age, aggressive approach to the game, and simple gravity had many predicting a slowdown in his sophomore campaign. But Puig has picked up where he left off with a .347 BA and 10 HR through 170 AB. Can he be stopped?

Year   AB   BA    xBA  bb%  ct%  h%    G/L/F    PX  xPX  hr/f  HH%  Spd  SBO  HR/SB
====  ===  ====  ====  ===  ===  ==  ========  ===  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  =====
2013  382  .319  .277    9   75  39  50/19/31  149  106   22%   38  129  16%  19/11
2014  175  .349  .303   12   78  40  54/16/35  172  129   21%   36  121  14%  10/ 5

All signs point to continued success for Puig:

  • Puig has become a much more patient hitter in 2014. The bb% and ct% gains put his plate skills in great shape at a young age.
  • His hard-hit ball rate (HH%) and xPX both say the power is real. He could push 30 HR by hitting a few more FBs.
  • His SB total is down somewhat, but he's still a prime threat on the basepaths if he gets more opportunities.
  • Puig still hasn't amassed enough ABs for a reliable h% baseline, but even when his hit rate falls, xBA believes he can still post an excellent BA.

Puig is posting much better skills in his second go-round with the Dodgers, which is a great sign for his long-term viability. His plus power metrics combined with steadily improving plate skills bode well for a player whom many thought couldn't repeat that 2013 performance. A skill set like this at such a young age should make Puig a premier option for years to come.

 

Gallardo not rebounding ... After being a model of SP consistency throughout his career, things fell apart for Yovani Gallardo (RHP, MIL) in 2013. He posted his first 4.00+ ERA while his strikeout total plummeted. Through 10 starts in 2014, Gallardo has a 3.51 ERA, so are there signs he's returning to his old ways?

Year    IP   ERA  xERA  Ctl  Dom  Cmd  H%  S%    G/L/F   SwK  hr/f  BPV
====   ===  ====  ====  ===  ===  ===  ==  ==  ========  ===  ====  ===
2010   185  3.84  3.62  3.6  9.7  2.7  34  72  43/24/33   9%    7%   98
2011   207  3.52  3.20  2.5  9.0  3.5  31  76  47/17/36  10%   13%  118
2012   173  3.79  3.56  3.6  9.1  2.6  30  76  47/21/33   8%   15%   93
2013   181  4.18  3.85  3.3  7.2  2.2  31  71  49/23/28   7%   12%   67
2014    59  3.51  3.93  2.9  6.3  2.2  28  76  53/18/29   6%   13%   65

Not really. This is the same version of Gallardo we saw in 2013:

  • Gallardo's Dom, which was once his biggest strength, continues to plummet. Fading SwK doesn't give much hope for a rebound, either.
  • His xERA doesn't fully believe in the ERA rebound. This skill set has "4.00 ERA" written all over it.
  • The one positive here is a growing GB%. His ability to limit the number of HR will keep his ERA somewhat in check.

It's becoming clear that Gallardo isn't the same pitcher he used to be due to his inability to generate Ks. Gallardo can still be an effective pitcher given his GB% gains, but his outlook has changed from potential ace to mid-rotation fodder on most fanalytic staffs.

 

Frazier coming through ... Todd Frazier (3B, CIN) is rewarding owners who drafted him among one of the later 3B options in many drafts entering 2014. Frazier has nine HR with a .271 BA so far, which is creating some flashbacks to his 2012 breakout season (.275 BA, 19 HR). Is Frazier taking the next step?

Year   AB  HR    BA  bb%  ct%  h%   Eye   xBA   G/L/F     PX  xPX  hr/f  Spd  SBO
====  ===  ==  ====  ===  ===  ==  ====  ====  ========  ===  ===  ====  ===  ===
2011  112   6  .232   6%  76%  25  0.26  .277  48/21/31  139  138   23%   94   5%
2012  422  19  .273   8%  76%  32  0.35  .264  33/22/45  148  127   13%  127   5%
2013  531  19  .234   9%  76%  27  0.40  .251  42/18/40  121  121   12%   98   9%
2014  174   9  .264   9%  78%  29  0.45  .275  39/20/41  141  150   16%   83  14%

Frazier's BPIs suggest he'll continue to be an excellent power source:

  • Frazier's BA hasn't been a liability this season due to an uptick in contact rate. xBA improvement confirms there's growth going on under the hood.
  • His power is his best asset as the PX/xPX combination is in great shape. As a result, Frazier stands a good chance to post career-high HR totals.
  • While he's not a major threat on the basepaths, Frazier is getting enough opportunities to add more value with his legs.

At age 28, Frazier is on pace to put up the best season of his career--and the skills fully support it. With excellent power metrics firmly in place, Frazier's steady improvement in plate skills means he could even exceed the "25 HR, .265 BA" speculation in this year's Baseball Forecaster. Invest with confidence.

 

Beckett getting back ... It's been a long way back for Josh Beckett (RHP, LA), who pitched only eight games in 2013 before undergoing surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome. Beckett found himself in a battle for starts in LA's rotation entering 2014, but his early success (2.43 ERA, 1.02 WHIP in 56 IP)—along with his first career no-hitter on May 25—have secured him a starting spot. How much of Beckett's comeback is for real?

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  WHIP  H%  S%   G/L/F    Ctl  Dom  Cmd hr/f  BPV
====  ===  ====  ====  ====  ==  ==  ========  ===  ===  === ====  ===
2009  212  3.86  3.39  1.19  30  71  47/21/32  2.3  8.4  3.6  13%  114
2010  128  5.78  4.05  1.54  35  65  46/19/35  3.2  8.2  2.6  14%   86
2011  193  2.89  3.36  1.03  25  77  40/18/42  2.4  8.2  3.4  10%   99
2012  170  4.65  4.25  1.33  31  67  43/21/37  2.7  7.0  2.5  11%   72
2013   43  5.19  4.04  1.50  34  70  39/24/37  3.1  8.5  2.7  16%   86  
2014   56  2.43  3.50  1.02  22  84  46/16/38  3.2  8.4  2.6  13%   88

He's not out of the woods, but the signs are encouraging:

  • Beckett's Dom is back in excellent territory. His control has crept up a bit, but Cmd is still in decent shape.
  • As is normally the case with sub-3.00 ERAs, lady luck has helped the cause. Beckett's H%/S% combination has been very fortunate so far and is due for some correction.
  • However, both xERA and BPV indicate Beckett can maintain some of this early-season success.

Beckett's "F" health grade certainly elevates the risk factor moving forward, but the BPIs have been encouraging thus far. He obviously won't be able to keep up the 2.89 ERA, but he's got the goods to post significant strikeout totals along with a 3.50 ERA as long as he can stay on the mound.

 

Gattis looking to repeat ... Evan Gattis (C, ATL) burst onto the scene as one of 2013's bigger surprise stories. Despite the power display he put on in his rookie season, there were some doubts he'd be able to repeat given a complete lack of track record. Gattis has put those doubts to rest with eight HR through 122 AB—do the skills suggest he can keep it up?

Year    AB   BA    xBA  bb%  ct%  h%   G/L/F     PX  xPX  HR  HH%  hr/f
====   ===  ====  ====  ===  ===  ==  ========  ===  ===  ==  ===  ====
2013   354  .242  .263    6   77  26  41/14/45  160  136  21   36   17%
2014   129  .248  .260    7   75  25  41/10/49  167  178  10   42   21%

Gattis remains an excellent power source at catcher:

  • Gattis' underlying power metrics (PX/xPX, HH%) cement the fact that he's a legit power threat.
  • His heavy FB stroke and healthy hr/f indicate the HRs should keep on coming.
  • However, a mediocre ct% is keeping Gattis from being an all-around contributor in roto formats.

Gattis is picking up right where he left off in 2013, and he could even exceed that HR total with continued, regular playing time. The power is definitely for real, but he's a minor BA threat given mediocre plate skills. However, Gattis' ability to post a .245-ish BA with 20+ HR makes him one of the more attractive catcher options in the National League.

 

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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.