A lot can happen in six months, which is why we try to not jump to conclusions about MLB player and team results with just one month in the books. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take a good look at what transpired on the diamond, though.
After spotlighting the best hitters and starting pitchers from March and April, we’re doing the same for those guys on the opposite end of the spectrum. Once again, we’re going to rank hitter performances by wRC+, while Skill-Interactive ERA (SIERA) will be used for the starting pitchers.
It’s safe to say that most of the following 10 players wish they could get a mulligan and start the season over. However, there is still time to turn things around. Now would be a great time to buy-low on these players in daily fantasy or to place a wager on one of their teams. If you’d like to wager on baseball all-promo-codes.com offers great promotions for sports books.
Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays
March/April Stats: 3-1 record with a 20.6% strikeout rate, 15.3% walk rate, 2.32 ERA, 5.45 SIERA, and 0.3 fWAR in 31 innings
The Blue Jays will reportedly be trying to trade both Sanchez and Marcus Stroman prior to the trade deadline. Stroman, an early Cy Young contender, could fetch quite a haul, but it’ll be tougher to get the same for Sanchez after looking at his peripherals.
One would imagine that some sort of regression is on its way, as his 77.7% strand rate and .241 BABIP against are both better than his 3.6-fWAR performance from 2016, when his walk rate was about half what it currently is. The right-hander has made a significant shift in pitch mix, favoring his curveball (20.9%) more than his changeup (15.9%), which is the complete opposite of last year (12.0% curveball usage, 23.7% changeup usage).
That change has certainly helped Sanchez’s overall results — his curveball has produced an eye-popping 53.8% strikeout rate with a .237 OPS and -20 wRC+.
Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins
March/April Stats: 1-3 record with a 14.7% strikeout rate, 10.0% walk rate, 4.86 ERA 5.47 SIERA, and 0.4 fWAR in 33.1 innings
Alcantara’s debut with the Marlins last season was short (34 innings) but successful, as he posted a 3.44 ERA. His SIERA was all the way up at 5.42 because he also produced a 20.6% strikeout rate, 15.8% walk rate, 80.8% strand rate, and .250 BABIP against despite a 35.2% hard-hit rate allowed.
As we can see from the above numbers, not much has changed in those handful of peripherals, while his strand rate (64.9%) and BABIP against (.309) have worsened considerably. His hard-hit rate allowed (29.2%) has improved, though, as has his soft-hit rate (23.0%).
Most of Alcantara’s work thus far in 2019 has come in the friendly confines of Marlins Park (24.1 innings), yet he currently carries a 5.55 home ERA. It seems as if that’s a bit of tough luck, evidenced by an 18.9% strikeout rate, 5.7% walk rate, and 3.27 FIP. However, it hasn’t helped that he’s stranded just 55.9% of runners while allowing a .346 BABIP in South Beach.
Brad Keller, Kansas City Royals
March/April Stats: 2-3 record with a 16.7% strikeout rate, 12.8% walk rate, 4.07 ERA, 5.47 SIERA, and 0.4 fWAR in 42 innings
The Royals have something to smile about with Hunter Dozier, but Keller is just one part of a double dosage of bad news on this list. He’s another hurler that outperformed his peripherals last season, but the 23-year-old’s walk rate has increased by more than four percentage points compared to 2018.
For a pitcher like Keller, who isn’t a huge swing-and-miss dude and “only” runs his fastball up to 93.1 mph on average, getting ahead in counts is a crucial part of his overall success. He threw first-pitch strikes at a 59.0% clip last season, but that number is down to 52.8% so far in 2019.
That helps explain why opposing hitters are chasing fewer balls out of the strike zone (29.1% in ’18, 27.5% in ’19) and attacking more in the strike zone (66.2% in ’18, 71.2% in ’19). He’s been able to outperform his peripherals thus far, so we’ll see how long he can make that last.
Anibal Sanchez, Washington Nationals
March/April Stats: 0-4 record with a 17.8% strikeout rate, 11.8% walk rate, 5.91 ERA, 5.48 SIERA, and 0.2 fWAR in 32 innings
Following a resurgent 2018 with the Atlanta Braves, Anibal Sanchez has gotten off to a rough start in the nation’s capital. The biggest thing that jumps out is a rise in walk rate. If the season ended today, that 11.8% mark would be the veteran’s highest walk rate since 2009 with the Florida Marlins (12.0% in 86 innings).
His cutter has been the main culprit when it comes to a lack of control. That offering has produced a solid 29.7% strikeout rate, but it’s also coming with a 21.6% walk rate. Opposing hitters also have a .320 BABIP, which is a huge increase from the .255 mark Sanchez put together in 2018.
Part of that can be blamed on a drop in ground-ball rate (45.0% in ’18 to 31.4% so far in ’19), with that difference going right to his line-drive rate allowed (18.0% to 29.4%).
Jhoulys Chacin, Milwaukee Brewers
March/April Stats: 3-3 record with an 18.1% strikeout rate, 12.5% walk rate, 5.24 ERA, 5.54 SIERA, and -0.1 fWAR in 34.1 innings
Does Jhoulys Chacin being on this list feel familiar? Well, it’s because he was last year’s cover boy, owning the second-worst SIERA heading into May. He did himself one better this season by taking the top (or bottom?) spot. As we saw, though, the right-hander still went on to have himself a solid campaign.
In addition to the above peripherals, Chacin is also allowing 1.83 homers per nine innings, which would easily be a career-worst mark if the season ended today. Not surprisingly, this number has been fueled by a 46.5% fly-ball rate and 43.0% hard-hit rate allowed.
Although Milwaukee being home to a hitter-friendly park, Chacin has been much more stingy there than on the road (similar to what he did in 2017 with the San Diego Padres). In 16.1 innings at home, the righty has produced a 2.76 ERA despite that being paired with a 47.7% fly-ball rate and 50.0% hard-hit rate. In 18 innings on the road, his ERA is up at 7.50, with five of the seven total dingers he’s allowed coming in this scenario.