NL-Only Fantasy Thoughts: Struggling Hitters

Rob Carr

Ray Guilfoyle goes around the National League offering his thoughts on some hitters who have struggled so far in 2013.

Last week, I took a look at some NL-only hitters who have started the season very hot, and offered my opinion on whether they could keep it up or not. Today, I focus on some hitters who have struggled thus far, and let you know if we can expect a bounce or not.

Six hitters who should rebound

Matt Kemp

Kemp has yet to hit a home run this season, and I admit I am concerned that his offseason shoulder surgery will impact his power for a few months. He also hasn't hit very well to start the season, but has hit well of late, as he has 6 hits in his last 14 at bats, raising his average to .235 on the season, but only four extra base hits. I see him starting to hit for a better average going forward, and he should be able to steal 30 bases this season, but the power may not be what we expected on draft day.

Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton has, once again, started the season in a slump. Like Kemp, he has yet to leave the yard in April, but this is not the first time he has failed to hit for much power to start the season. Last season, he hit just 1 home run in April, but followed that up with 12 in May and 5 in June. In 2011, he hit just 2 home runs in April, then proceeded to hit 9 in May and 5 in June. Power hitters are streaky hitters. Very streaky. Be patient with Stanton, but if an owner in your league is afraid his home run drought is due to the poor Marlins lineup, make an offer. Stanton will hit his usual 35+ home runs this season. And possibly more.

B.J. Upton

On Upton has started the season on fire. The other, not so much. B.J. Upton appears to be having trouble making the adjustment to the National League, but the season is still very young, and he can make the adjustments. His BABIP sits at .214, so the batted balls will start to drop, or fly out of the stadium, real soon. He has stolen 3 bases thus far, so he should be able to reach 30+ steals again.

Matt Holliday

I am a little surprised that Holliday has started the season hitting just .233, but his BABIP is a low .245 right now, so his batting average will start creeping up to its normal .290 in the very near future. He is walking more than he is striking out, so he still owns the solid plate discipline.

Anthony Rizzo

Rizzo has struggled to hit, but when he does hit, it usually leaves the park. Rizzo is hitting just .191-.286-.485 with 6 of his 9 hits clearing the fences. His ISO sits at 294 right now, but his whiff rate is 27.3% right now, about 10% higher than last season, so he needs to improve his contact soon. I believe he will.

Jason Heyward

Heyward had an emergency appendectomy on Monday night, and landed on the 15 day DL yesterday. Before the appendectomy, he was hitting just .121-.261-.259 with 2 home runs, 8 runs and 5 RBI. His .114 BABIP is the worst in the National League, so once he returns from the DL, his batting average should start to rise real soon, and with that, the power should improve.

Expect more stolen bases from these five hitters

Carlos Gomez

Gomez stole 37 bases last season, but has stolen just one so far this season. In 2012, he stole 5 bases in April, but had just 8 at the end of June, ending the season stealing 29 bases in the second half. He seems to like running in the warm weather.

B.J. Upton

See my writeup above. Once the BABIP improves, he will begin running more.

Ryan Braun

Braun is doing what Braun does, hitting very well and hitting for power. What he is not doing is stealing bases, as he has stolen just one to date. He stole just 3 in each of the lsat two Aprils, and ended the season stealing 30 or more in each season. He plays for a manager, Ron Roenicke, who always has the green light on, so expect more steals as the season gets older.

Bryce Harper

I predicted Harper would put up a 25-25 season in 2013, and he is well on his way to doing that. Well, sort of. He is hitting for power, as he already has 7 long balls. I think as the season goes along, he will run more.

Angel Pagan

Pagan has just one stolen base this season, but stole just two last April, and finished the season with almost 30 steals. He will run more, as the Giants lineup certainly won't remind you of Murderers Row.

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