Jackie Bradley Jr.
Bradley now looks a lot like the guy we were hoping for back when he first showed up at Fenway in 2013. Currently he is riding a 14-game hit streak that has boosted his total slash-line to .288/.342/.519. Those numbers look awfully familiar. They look a lot like these: .267/.352/.539 – the numbers he put up in the second half of last year over 58 games. Let’s look at what he’s done when we combine the second half numbers of 2015 with the first half of this year:
wRC+ 137, 53 XBH, 5 SB, 0 CS
He is a torch that will not be put out. He flies a bit under-the-radar in my opinion because most people look at his slot in the batting order and write him off for fantasy-relevance. He’s hit in the bottom half of the lineup 98% of the time since the second half of last year (90% in the 9 hole). I love this actually. He gets to hit in front of Mookie Betts who has a chance to rack up 180+ hits this year. JBJ has the ability to continue to score tons of runs if you take in to account that a little less than half the time when he gets a hit (32 of his 81 hits since the start of the second half have been either a double or triple) he’s usually standing on second base or third base for the next batter to knock him in. Just a single from Betts or Pedroia scores him.
I love, love, love Jackie Bradley Jr. and expect him to continue what he was doing last year and completely break-out into the guy we always thought he would be. I am trying to trade for him in my leagues and you should too if he is rostered.
He finally lost a game. Now 5-1 to open up 2016, the 27-year-old looks like he is finally there. There, as in, reaching peak career performance. So far in 2016 Rick has been lights out: 39.2 IP, 41 K, 8 BB, 2.96 ERA, 3.25 xFIP, 3.09 SIERA. Those numbers are glorious and a lot different from his career averages. One might believe that he is playing way over his head to begin the season, but let’s look a little deeper.
Since returning from the DL late last year, Aug. 26th:
97 IP, 98 K, 19 BB, 3.06 ERA, 3.08 xFIP, 3.09 SIERA
Those rates look awfully familiar to what he’s done this year. Let’s take a look at what type of adjustment he made after his DL stint in late 2015.
Date range 01/01/2015 – 08/01/2015 (2015: Porcello’s last start before hitting the DL was July 29, 2015)
Thank you brooksbaseball.net for the help!
Date range 08/26/2015 – 05/08/2016 (2015 - 2016: Porcello’s first start after DL stint was August 26, 2015)
The most drastic change has been his uptick in usage of his sinker (+16%) and a regression in usage of his four-seam fastball (-14%). He has pretty much traded 15% of his 4SFB usage for his sinker now. As a result of the change in frequency of both pitches thrown, he has in-turn made both pitches better. Since the change; four-seam fastball has been more effective with an elite K:BB ratio of 34:1 and a BAA drop of .030 points. As for the sinker; he throws it more than half the time now and has seen his BAA drop .030 points. That’s drastic and impressive. Don't ignore his change-up either, it's gotten a hell of a lot better now that he's throwing it 15% of the time. I'm assuming it looks a lot more like his sinker than his four-seam, hence the .200 drop in BAA and .400 drop in ISO. As you can see, this new pitch breakdown is working well for him.
I may be getting a little over my head here, but I think Porcello might have a 2012-Scherzer-esque breakout ahead of him. I only make the comparison because it was Scherzer's age-27 season and it is Porcello's this year. I don’t think he will start K’ing guys at a 10.5 per 9 clip but I do think he has an improved grasp of his arsenal now and it can carry him to a career low in ERA and a career high in K/9.
Figure out a way to buy-high on Porcello's great start. I think he is worth it.
I have read many articles about Aledmys Diaz and heard many opinions. A lot of them seem to think he can’t keep up what he is doing; yes, of course. I’ve also seen/heard some say that he won’t get the PAs in the future, when Johnny Peralta gets back, to stay relevant in fantasy. I am the guy that will beg to differ. I’ve been a fan of this guy since I saw him hit first HR of his career. I saw his swing and knew immediately he could make it in the majors. It’s a very compact and powerful swing that has produced a wRC+ of 151 over the past two weeks. I take his past two week’s sample to prove that he continues to be an above average hitter beyond his first three boiling-hot weeks.
Just to prove to you that he has had continued success past the first three weeks of the season, here are his past two weeks of success and how he has fared against his counterparts (min 40 AB):
Category / (Rank among SS)
Average: .340 (4th)
ISO: .234 (2nd)
wRC+: 151 (2nd)
Hits: 16 (3rd)
K%: 10% (4th)
Runs: 11 (1st)
OPS: .954 (1st)
Hard%: 40.5% (4th)
I can keep throwing appropriate top 5 SS-leading stats at you, but you already get the picture. He was magma hot out of the gates, has cooled off a bit, but is still fire hot. Believe in this guy as I do, he is the real deal and will continue to shred the ball. He has the amazing coaching staff and great contact skills to go with good pull-happy power to maintain success. The bat is real and the Cardinals HAVE TO keep him in the lineup. That is all that matters in fantasy. Chances are he isn’t available in your league but chances are also high that he is on a team whose owner is racing to sell-high on this guy. Make a move for him if you need to upgrade at one of the shallowest positions in baseball. Luckily, I already own him.