NL Player Analysis- July 4, 2021
J.T. Realmuto– C- PHI- Cold- Realmuto went 1-for-4 yesterday with a triple. It was his first extra base hit since June 20. Since that date Realmuto has gone 4-for-38, striking out 8 times and walking twice. He has seen his average drop from .292 to .258. Regression to the mean has been at play here as Realmuto’s BABIP has gone from .361 to .315. With a career mark of .316 he has shaken out the excess from earlier this season. There are other factors involved, however. Realmuto’s Exit Velocity of 87.6 and HardHit% of 30.8% in this stretch are below where he was earlier in the season. In addition, his Opposite field% of 46.2% runs counter to his usual power profile. Realmuto needs to recapture the form that made him the top of the heap of catchers. His ISO of .172 would be his worst since 2016 if he doesn’t improve. In past years Realmuto has had cold streaks and his current stretch of one homer in 20 games was outdone by a 35-game stretch in 2019 with 1 homer which also stretched from June into July. He ended up with 25 homers that season. So he has shown the ability in the past to correct himself.
Freddie Freeman– 1B- ATL- Hot- Freeman has seen regression to the mean benefit him recently. He has gone 18-for-40 in his last 10 games. Only 4 of the hits have been for extra bases, with only one of those a homer. Freeman has walked 6 times, scored 6 runs, and tallied 6 RBI. His BABIP has risen from .247 to .294 and his average from .247 to .267. With a career BABIP of .338, there is room for more positive regression ahead. Freeman has the exact same Exit Velocity of 92.4 as last season and his HardHIt% of 51.7% is behind only last season’s 54.2% in his career. He has continued to show some extreme splits, slashing .218/.296/.379 against southpaws and .277/.391/.502 against RH pitching. That is something to keep in mind for daily transactions and DFS plays. It has become a trend for Freeman. Still, overall the underlying metrics make it likely that he will have a more successful second half than first half, including increased power.
Heath Hembree– RP- CIN- Rise Value- With Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims on the Il Hembree has taken over the closer role for Cincinnati. He saved consecutive games against the Cubs Friday and Saturday. Hembree’s 5.06 ERA is primarily due to a small number of very poor outings outweighing a greater number of solid performances. He has allowed 15 ERs in 8 IP in the 9 appearances where he gave up at least 1 ER. In his other 18 appearances Hembree didn’t allow an ER in the 18.2 IP of his 18 other appearances. With a 15.19 K/9 Hembree does have the power looked for in a closer. If he can remain consistent he will remain in the mix to hold that job. Hembree has allowed more than one ER in only 1 of his last 12 appearances, so that is a good sign.
Taijuan Walker– P- NYM- Stats- For the third straight outing, Walker didn’t register a quality start. He hasn’t pitched poorly in his last two starts, though. Walker just didn’t last long enough. After giving up 1 run on 3 hits and a walk in 5 IP in his previous appearance he allowed 2 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5 in 5.2 IP yesterday. Walker has a 2.44 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 9.21 K/9, and 2.86 BB/9 on the season. In his career there has been very little difference between his first and second half numbers. Walker has a 3.72 ERA and 4.09 FIP in the first half and 3.57 ERA and 4.07 FIP in the second half. That bodes well for Walker maintaining decent production as the season progresses.
Jace Peterson– 2B- MIL- Rise Value- Peterson has taken over a starting utility role with the Brewers. He has played primarily at 2B but also seen time at 3B and 1B. Peterson is on a 8-game hitting streak in which he has gone 13-for26 with 4 doubles, a triple, a homer, 11 RBI, 9 runs scored, and 2 steals. This was after starting the season with a .190 average in his first 27 games. 2020 was an odd season for Peterson, as it was for many players. He slashed .200/.393/.356, having a 24.6% BB% and 32.8% K% in 61 PAs. Peterson has retained a good part of the walk ratio this season, with a 16.7% BB%, but his K% is down to 21.3%. His Exit Velocity of 89.4 is higher than he has ever finished a season with and his 36.1% is better than any season besides last year. A .344 BABIP makes negative regression a strong possibility for Peterson, but with his versatility and the ability to swipe some bases he is a candidate to provide value in the second half.
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