BATTERS: Early buy low targets, 2019

Hitters that have not posted a good batting average nor produced many home runs in the early-going can be easy to view as guys to avoid. After all, we want to accumulate as few bad or empty stats as possible while the season is still young.

Bats with optimistic indicators like expected batting average (xBA) and expected power (xPX) often can represent good buy low targets.

These bats have a BA that is much lower than their expected BA (xBA):

  • BA vs. xBA, 2019 YTD*
    
    Name                League  Position     BPV  BA    xBA   Diff
    ==================  ======  ===========  ===  ====  ====  =====
    Mullins II, Cedric      AL           CF  -10  .094  .188  -.094
    Solarte, Yangervis      NL        3B/2B    3  .205  .289  -.084
    D'Arnaud, Travis        AL            C  -52  .061  .144  -.083
    Adrianza, Ehire         AL        SS/3B   34  .177  .257  -.080
    Pina, Manny             NL            C  -26  .133  .211  -.078
    Profar, Jurickson       AL  SS/3B/2B/1B   38  .181  .259  -.078
    Brito, Socrates         AL           RF  -91  .077  .154  -.077
    Allen, Greg             AL           CF  -62  .105  .178  -.073
    Diaz, Elias             NL            C  -30  .171  .244  -.073
    Maile, Luke             AL            C  -34  .143  .216  -.073
    Pederson, Joc           NL           CF  106  .220  .292  -.072
    Rengifo, Luis           AL           2B   11  .147  .218  -.071
    Plawecki, Kevin         NL            C   44  .159  .229  -.070
    Vargas, Ildemaro        NL        3B/2B   14  .200  .270  -.070
    Castro, Jason           AL            C  132  .246  .316  -.070
    Kinsler, Ian            NL           2B   35  .175  .245  -.070
    Schebler, Scott         NL           RF  -27  .123  .190  -.067
    Gardner, Brett          AL           LF   76  .197  .264  -.067
    Cozart, Zack            AL           3B  -20  .136  .202  -.066
    Moreland, Mitch         AL           1B   91  .230  .296  -.066
    Barnhart, Tucker        NL            C   -7  .160  .223  -.063
    Renfroe, Hunter         NL           LF   76  .223  .286  -.063
    Bruce, Jay              AL        RF/1B   52  .185  .248  -.063
    Guzman, Ronald          AL           1B   88  .213  .275  -.062
    Winker, Jesse           NL           RF   58  .221  .283  -.062
    Stewart, Christin       AL           LF   51  .195  .255  -.060
    Riddle, J.T.            NL           SS  -20  .156  .215  -.059
    Kratz, Erik             NL            C   30  .125  .183  -.058
    Kang, Jung-ho           NL           3B  -16  .133  .191  -.058
    Barnes, Austin          NL            C   43  .198  .256  -.058
    Stamets, Eric           AL           SS -152  .049  .106  -.057
    Owings, Christopher     NL        RF/2B  -43  .143  .200  -.057
    Alonso, Yonder          AL        1B/DH   23  .180  .237  -.057
    Hedges, Austin          NL            C   -5  .176  .232  -.056
    Goodrum, Niko           AL     2B/1B/LF   18  .201  .257  -.056
    Inciarte, Ender         NL           CF   12  .218  .273  -.055
    Ozuna, Marcell          NL           LF   75  .231  .286  -.055
    DeShields Jr, Delino    AL           CF   19  .182  .236  -.054
    Williams, Nick          NL           RF  -28  .183  .236  -.053
    Kelly, Carson           NL            C   70  .247  .296  -.050
    *min 30 AB

The following guys own power skills that are much lower than they should be:

  • PX vs. xPX, 2019 YTD*
    
    Name                League  Position     BPV  PX   xPX  Diff
    ==================  ======  ===========  ===  ===  ===  ====
    Gyorko, Jedd            NL           3B -101    0  144  -144
    Stamets, Eric           AL           SS -152   36  165  -129
    Smoak, Justin           AL        1B/DH   31   87  210  -123
    Bader, Harrison         NL           CF  -11   98  214  -116
    Riddle, J.T.            NL           SS  -20  103  208  -105
    Turner, Justin          NL           3B   40   79  172   -93
    Cozart, Zack            AL           3B  -20   18  106   -88
    Duda, Lucas             AL        1B/DH    7   84  169   -85
    D'Arnaud, Travis        AL            C  -52    0   81   -81
    Davis, Chris            AL           1B  -24  112  193   -81
    Brito, Socrates         AL           RF  -91   28  107   -79
    Taylor, Michael         AL           CF -109   59  137   -78
    Andujar, Miguel         AL           3B  -60    0   72   -72
    Carpenter, Matt         NL        1B/3B   27   89  158   -69
    Goldschmidt, Paul       NL           1B   19  113  180   -67
    Bourjos, Peter          AL           CF  -83   21   87   -66
    Martin, Jason           NL           LF  -24   50  116   -66
    Morales, Kendrys        AL           1B    1   26   91   -65
    Descalso, Daniel        NL        2B/3B  -10   76  141   -65
    Galloway, Isaac         NL           CF  -74   17   79   -62
    Cabrera, Miguel         AL        1B/DH  -30   44  106   -62
    Broxton, Keon           NL           CF -112   23   82   -59
    Molina, Yadier          NL            C   51   81  139   -58
    Crawford, Brandon       NL           SS  -29   45  102   -57
    Votto, Joey             NL           1B   21   86  142   -56
    Wallach, Chad           NL            C    0   63  119   -56
    Mercer, Jordy           AL           SS   15   71  125   -54
    Ohtani, Shohei          AL           DH   -1   42   96   -54
    Romine, Austin          AL            C  -12   48  101   -53
    Ramirez, Jose           AL           3B   40   61  113   -52
    Kipnis, Jason           AL           2B   32   83  135   -52
    Margot, Manuel          NL           CF    0   64  116   -52
    Hernandez, Teoscar      AL           RF  -19   67  118   -51
    Kieboom, Carter         NL           SS  -34   94  144   -50
    Olson, Matt             AL           1B   34  133  183   -50
    Gosselin, Phil          NL           3B    1   62  112   -50
    *min 30 AB

Let's take a closer look at several guys in each league who represent good early buy low opportunities.
 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Ehire Adrianza (SS/3B, MIN) hasn't delivered much value so far in 2019 (.200 BA, 3 HR, 7 RBI in 65 AB). But if you play in a really deep league, he could be worth a look. For one, his .262 xBA suggests his batting average should be much higher. He has been victimized by a 20% h%, a hit rate that is much lower than his prior 30% h% baseline. His plate skills are strong (10% bb%, 83% ct%, 0.73 Eye). And check out his yearly underlying power trend: 59, 62, 88, 99, 109 xPX.

Jason Castro (C, MIN) might be available in one-catcher leagues due to his mediocre .246 BA. His .315 xBA suggests his batting average has substantial upside, largely due to his strong plate discipline (15% bb%, 74% ct%, 0.69 Eye) and high rate of hard contact (131 HctX). A 21% h% has kept those gains hidden.

Ronald Guzman (1B, TEX) hasn't been much of a factor in most leagues (.218 BA, 4 HR, 10 RBI in 55 AB). However, his .265 xBA confirms that his batting average should rise, and the power he has shown (195 PX) has been backed up pretty well by his 149 xPX. Just keep in mind that he's opening up his swing (64% ct%) to take his power skills to this new level.

Jason Kipnis (2B, CLE) has been dropped in many leagues due to his .221 BA, 2 HR, 11 RBI line. While his .229 xBA doesn't suggest his batting average is due for a surge, his 125 xPX does give his marginal power (78 PX) some decent upside. You just don't want him anywhere near your active roster when lefties are on the mound (.431 OPS, 0.13 Eye vL).

Jurickson Profar (SS/3B/2B/1B, OAK) is another disappointing bat that carries some good buy-low potential. Behind his ugly .194 BA is a solid .263 xBA. His hit rate has dipped from 27% in 2018 to a 20% mark so far this season. And before you write off the 20 HR he broke out with in 2018, check out his yearly xPX trend, which remains on the upswing: 47, 82, 98, 103 xPX.

Jose Ramirez (3B, CLE) is delivering good value on the basepaths (12 SB) but hasn't done so in other areas (.193 BA, 4 HR in 166 AB). Before you bench him, note that his plate skills are solid: 11% bb%, 84% ct%, 0.74 Eye. He has been saddled with a 21% h%. And his 113 xPX isn't much different than the power skills he carried in 2018 (119 xPX).

Christin Stewart (LF, DET) is being dumped in leagues due to his lack of production so far in 2019 (.176 BA,  HR, 14 RBI). However, his power skills haven't been nearly as bad as his production might indicate (139 PX, 114 xPX). His plate discipline has been passable for a power bat that is early in his career (10% bb%, 69% ct%, 0.38 Eye). And his .245 xBA confirms that his batting average isn't a lost cause.

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Matt Carpenter (1B/3B, STL) hasn't come close to fulfilling the lofty expectations his owners carried heading into the season (.206 BA, 5 HR, 12 RBI in 170 AB). Blame a lot of it on by far the lowest hit rate we've ever seen from him (25% h%). His plate approach is nearly identical to what we saw from him last season (14% bb%, 74% ct%, 0.64 Eye). And his 152 xPX confirms that he has significant latent power that hasn't turned into results yet.

Carson Kelly (C, ARI) remains an excellent stash in keeper leagues, and he's also a player that could emerge more quickly this season than you might realize. He has upper-tier power skills (155 PX, 158 xPX). And his skills profile him as a .300 hitter (.302 xBA). There's a lot to like here.

Marcell Ozuna (LF, STL) has hurt his owners in terms of batting average (.226 BA). But that mark has been due to a 22% h%. He hasn't posted a hit rate lower than 30% in any other season of his career. His 92.2 mph exit velocity is better than we've ever seen from him before. He has tweaked his prior 10-degree launch angle too (13.2 degree in 2019). He's also drawing more walks than ever before (10% bb%).

Joc Pederson (CF, LA) has been a power stud (14 HR in 124 AB), but his batting average (.218 BA) has been a drag on his owners. That said, his .292 xBA gives his batting average tons of upside. He's another batter whose exit velocity has soared this season. His 92.5 mph exit velo is 1.5 mph higher than the level he managed in 2018. He's also barreling the ball at the highest rate of his career (14.7% barrel%).

Hunter Renfroe (RF, SD) is another high-power, low-average bat that has the goods to turn into a multi-dimensional threat as the year goes along. Renfroe's .232 BA is hiding a very promising .288 xBA. His 91.1 mph exit velocity marks the first time in his career that his exit velo has topped 90 mph. Making more consistent contact (71% ct%) would allow him to tap into his upside at a more consistent rate.

Jesse Winker (RF, CIN) owns one of the strangest batting lines you'll find anywhere: .221 BA, 10 HR, 16 RBI in 140 AB. After hitting .300 in 2018, Winker's fall in batting average might be concerning to some of his owners. But his .285 xBA confirms that it has room to grow, as his 21% h% is much lower than the 34% h% we saw from him in 2018. And his power skills are better than we've ever seen from him (127 PX, 145 xPX).


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