FACTS/FLUKES: Puig, d'Arnaud, Law, Kipnis, Wisler

Either version is good... Yasiel Puig (OF, CLE) started slow in Cincinnati, but since has turned in one of his best seasons, with a career high in SB pacing toward a career high in HR as well. Can we expect more of the same as he moves from southern to northern Ohio?

YR   AB  HR SB  BA  XBA OPS  BB CT Eye  HctX  H%  GB LD FB  PX  XPX  HRF  RSPD SBO
==  ===  == ==  === === ===  == == ===  ====  ==  == == ==  === ===  ===  ==== ===
15  282  11  3  255 249 758   8 77 .39   107  30  44 17 39  114  89  13    60    8
16  334  11  5  263 247 740   7 78 .32    99  31  48 16 35   91  90  12    78    8
17  499  28 15  263 277 833  11 80 .64   107  28  48 16 36  119  95  19    80   15
18  405  23 15  267 278 820   8 79 .41   111  29  43 21 36  129 107  20    78   20
19  406  22 16  259 256 784   6 76 .27   102  29  36 21 43  110 110  17    91   23
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1H  284  17 13  239 245 748   6 75 .25    94  26  31 22 46  111 114  17    93   27
2H  122   5  3  303 279 866   6 80 .33   120  34  45 20 34  107 102  15    75   16

His first half stands out against his other metrics, previous and since:

  • Contact rate and walk rate dropped in the first half, yielding more FB and therefore more HR.
  • Despite below average hard contact in first half, xPX peaked, as many of his FB were the hard hit variety.
  • Speed and SBO also surged in the first half

But his skills in 122 second half at-bats are good, too:

  • Solid ct% has returned to previous levels.
  • Hard hit has surged to a level higher than in any full season.
  • His speed combined with high GB rate and hard hit rate fuels a healthy xBA not far behind his actual batting average.

Puig's first half power may be fleeting, but his overall skill set is still strong. There is a small concern with his eroding bb% and Eye, but as long as he can keep hitting the ball hard, it won't matter whether it's in the air (HR) or on the ground (BA), either version will help your fantasy team.

Lefty Masher... Travis d’Arnaud (C, TB) was designated for assignment in May and picked up by Tampa Bay for cash. A few Rays injuries later, he ran into some playing time and suddenly was one of the league's hottest hitters in July. How much of this is fact, and how much is fluke for the 30-year-old former top prospect?

Year     AB  HR   BA XBA  OPS  BB CT  Eye  HctX  H%  GB LD FB   PX XPX  HRF
======  ===  ==  === ===  ===  == ==  ===  ====  ==  == == ==  === ===  ===
2015    239  12  268 275  825   9 80  .47   100  29  37 21 42  137  107  15
2016    251   4  247 217  629   7 80  .38   105  29  52 17 31   47   85   6
2017    348  16  244 263  735   6 83  .39   109  25  42 17 41  105  114  13
2018     15   1  200 316  650   6 67  .20   123  22  10 40 50  115  222  20
2019    215  13  260 256  818  10 74  .43   100  29  43 19 38  118  103  21

'19 1H  126   5  206 231  626   7 74  .27    90  24  41 19 40   87  103  13
'19 2H   89   8  337 287 1084  14 74  .65   115  38  45 20 35  161  102  35

As we might have expected, it's a bit of both. 

  • d'Arnaud's contact rate is down, and PX is up, which suggests he traded some contact for power. However, note that xPX is merely average, which indicates he's been fortunate and his lofty HR/FB will not be sustainable.
  • He's riding an elevated H% to boost his batting average, but xBA is not shabby, supported by an above average hard hit rate.
  • His walk rate has greatly improved, particularly in the second half—a sample size that is small, but enough to consider a real change.

The plate skills and hard contact show that he's doing some things right, but the results (H%, HR/FB) have also been extremely fortunate. As Stephen Nickrand noted in in last week's recap of July BPV leaders, d'Arnaud has feasted on LHP, (.914 OPS, .309 ISO), while his numbers vs. RHP are more pedestrian (.717 OPS, .147 ISO). His plate skills vs. LHP and vs. RHP are nearly identical, it's just the power vs. RHP that isn't there.

For weeks in which he faces a few lefty starters, d'Arnaud is a strong option at catcher. And, being passable versus lefties means unless your team is very deep at catcher, he's probably your best option in other weeks too.

Don't bite... Derek Law (RHP, TOR) has 3 saves this month and hasn't given up a run in 11.1 IP. Is he a man to watch in Toronto's bullpen?

Yr   IP  SV Hd  ERA  xERA  WHP  XWHP  H% S%  GB FB  Ctl  Dom  FpK SwK  Vel   HRF
===  ==  == ==  ==== ====  ==== ====  == ==  == ==  === ====  === ===  ====  ===
'16  55   1 14  2.13 3.24  0.96 1.22  28 80  50 28  1.5  8.2   63  11  92.9   7
'17  37   4  5  5.06 4.79  1.58 1.33  36 70  38 39  3.4  8.4   56  10  93.7  11
'18  13   0  0  7.43 5.75  1.80 1.56  35 59  40 40  5.4  8.1   59  12  93.7  11
'19  42   2  1  5.10 4.44  1.54 1.42  32 72  52 32  5.1 10.4   60  11  93.9  22

There are some positives, but overall his skills suggest you'd be playing with fire:

  • Dom has leapt to career best, but SwK has not increased at all.
  • Ctl has also skyrocketed, walking far too many batters to be trustworthy.
  • He has been victimized by an elevated hit rate and a high HR/FB rate; these should normalize.
  • His GB tilt should help to further limit HR going forward.

Even in his recent good stretch of 11 games, he has walked seven against 10 Ks. The implied corollary of "draft skills, not roles" is "do not draft roles without skills." Law is extremely volatile and should not be trusted with a closer job, either in MLB or on your fantasy team.

He won't hurt you... Jason Kipnis (2B, CLE) has delivered many double-digit-value seasons in his career. He's pacing for another such season, which is useful. At age 32, we would typically expect a slow decline rather than a breakout. Is there anything in the numbers to suggest otherwise?

Year   AB  HR SB   BA XBA  OPS  BB CT Eye  HctX  H%  GB LD FB   PX XPX  HRF  SPD SBO
====  ===  == ==  === ===  ===  == == ===  ====  ==  == == ==  === ===  ===  === ===
2015  565  9  12  303 284  823   9 81 .53   109  36  45 27 28  103  97   7   118  12
2016  610  23 15  275 268  811   9 76 .41   110  33  39 24 37  123 122  13    91  11
2017  336  12  6  232 258  705   8 79 .39    96  26  36 20 44  110 122  10    90  12
2018  530  18  7  230 243  704  10 79 .54   101  26  34 22 45  95  120  10    69   6
2019  349  11  6  261 260  739   8 82 .51   112  29  40 21 39  83  122  10    76   8

Not really. He's steady and boring:

  • Plate skills are stable, with walk and contact rates within range of typical annual variance.
  • Power seems to have faded (falling PX), but xPX trend is as steady as you'll ever see, telling us he still hits hard fly balls at an above average rate.
  • His speed undergone a typical age-related decline, and he can't be counted on for double digit bags anymore.
  • While hard contact is above average, without speed or exceptional power it only supports an average BA.

These metrics almost couldn't be more average. The xPX says he should have a few more home runs, but otherwise his current performance is what you should expect going forward. He'll should be good for a handful of HR and bags and won't hurt your BA. He won't ever be the cornerstone of an offense, but don't discount him either, this profile can be useful, particularly in deep leagues or to fill in for injury. 

Riding the slider to success... In early July Matt Wisler (RHP, SEA) was picked up by the Mariners from the Reds for basically nothing.  He has been quietly excellent in Seattle's pen. Is there reason for optimism for this former top prospect?

Yr    IP   ERA xERA   WHP xWHP  H% S%  GB FB  Ctl  Dom  Cmd  FpK SwK   Vel  HRF  SL%
===  ===  ==== ====  ==== ====  == ==  == ==  === ====  ===  === ===  ====  ===  ===
'15  109  4.71 5.10  1.46 1.45  30 71  34 43  3.3  5.9  1.8   59   8  93.3   10   23
'16  157  5.00 4.75  1.33 1.36  29 66  40 38  2.8  6.6  2.3   58   9  92.8   14   30
'17   32  8.35 6.25  1.73 1.47  35 51  32 49  3.6  6.1  1.7   58  10  92.6    9   38
'18   40  4.28 4.62  1.20 1.20  29 73  33 47  1.6  7.2  4.6   55  11  92.3   14   46
'19   37  4.82 3.96  1.39 1.12  37 70  38 37  2.4 10.8  4.5   64  16  92.8   15   70

1H    29  5.28 4.00  1.52 1.20  38 69  43 31  3.1  10.6  3.4  67  16  92.9   19   70
2H     8  3.24 3.82  0.96 0.82  36 71  17 57  0.0  11.9       56  19  92.5    8   69

Things were not as bad as they seemed in Cincinnati, and Wisler has recently performed more in line with his underlying skills:

  • His current ERA is only about half a run better than his xERA; which is very close to his xERA with the Reds.
  • He has been burned by a high H% all year.
  • His Dom has increased this year, fully supported by his improved swinging strike rate.
  • While his control seemed to improve in 2018, this year it has support of an improved FpK rate.

While these sample sizes are small, there is a major underlying change is Wisler's approach that gives credence to his performance. He has completely ditched his sinker and dramatically increased his slider usage, as seen in the last column above.  The slider has always been around 20% SwK%, and this year he sits at 22%.  It also suppresses fly balls at 35% for his career and 23% this year.

As a one-pitch pitcher, he may never excel as a starter, but he is quickly building a resume for a high leverage reliever. He could end up gathering some saves before you know it.


Click here to subscribe

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