By the Numbers: Desperate-Lee needing offense

Over the last three weeks, Carlos Lee has hit a feeble .164 (12-for-73) and watched his average dip from .294 to .254. He is still starting in 97 percent of leagues, but how much longer should owners wait for El Caballo to hit his stride? He has managed to maintain his home run (three) and RBI (17) pace through this slump, but because he is rarely getting on base, Lee has scored only six runs since May 16. Three weeks ago, Lee's H/BIP was 29 percent, right on target with his career norms, but now it has decreased all the way to 25 percent. So despite the fact that Lee has continued to hit for power when he does hit, his H/BIP rate since May 16 is a mere 14 percent, less than half the rates he has posted in four of the last five seasons. He is a lock to resume hitting at his usual .300 rate anytime now.

Right around the time that Lee was starting to sink into his funk, Kevin Kouzmanoff was experiencing a surge in his offensive production and Fantasy popularity. Between May 20 and 25, he had four multi-hit games, four home runs and an OPS increase from .661 to .736. Fantasy owners responded, as he was added to 11 percent of the leagues on that week. Kouzmanoff hasn't done much to help his Fantasy owners in the week and a half since his hot streak, and it may be time to consider cutting ties to make room for another third baseman. He has a lower Isolated Power average than Blake DeWitt , Melvin Mora or Casey Blake , and all of these players are available in at least 63 percent of leagues. Power is the core of Kouzmanoff’s game, and it has been absent for most of this year. Even if he boosts his own skill numbers, he doesn't have much of a lineup around him to help his Fantasy stats.

If the Padres are going to turn it around this year, they will have to rely heavily on their pitching. The newest member of their rotation, Josh Banks , has become one of my favorite players. Like Damian Rolls and Josh Fields before him, he has a name that doubles as a complete sentence. And his 2-0 record and 0.39 ERA in 23 innings are nice, too. Banks' minor league numbers offer some hope that he can continue to be successful in the majors, though common sense and his 1.82 ERC tell us that his ERA will get some adjusting. The Pads' rookie has put up excellent strikeout and walk ratios in his minor league career, but he has been consistently generous with home runs. Fortunately for Banks and his Fantasy owners, he pitches in Petco Park, the stingiest home run stadium for the last three years. He is worth having on your active roster in mixed leagues, as long as he is pitching in his home ballpark.

Another member of the Complete Sentence Name Club, J.D. Drew , has been on a tear as well. He can certainly maintain his current home run pace, despite the fact that he hasn't hit more than 20 in a season since 2004. His current Isolated Power and whiff rate are in line with his recent track record. However, if you are counting on Drew to hit .300, you will be disappointed. J.D. whiffs more and hits with less power than his brother, Stephen, yet the younger Drew is batting a mere .267. J.D.'s average probably won't fall that low (and Stephen's should really be higher), but once his 38 percent H/BIP makes its inevitable descent, expect his batting average to settle around .280.

All statistics below are for season-to-date performances through Saturday, June 7.

'Lucky' Hitters H/BIP RC/27 'Lucky' Pitchers H/BIP ERC
Jesus Flores , C, Washington 44% 8.2 Justin Masterson , SP, Boston 17% 3.20
Matt Kemp , OF, L.A. Dodgers 41% 5.8 Armando Galarraga , SP, Detroit 19% 2.70
Ramon Vazquez , 3B, Texas 39% 7.1 Gavin Floyd , SP, Chicago White Sox 20% 2.77
Brandon Boggs , OF, Texas 39% 5.2 Renyel Pinto , RP, Florida 22% 2.74
Milton Bradley , OF, Texas 39% 11.4 Scott Olsen , SP, Florida 22% 3.43
Aaron Rowand , OF, San Francisco 39% 7.3 John Lackey , SP, L.A. Angels 24% 2.62
Howie Kendrick , 2B, L.A. Angels 39% 5.1 Ryan Franklin , RP, St. Louis 26% 3.45
Jerry Hairston , OF, Cincinnati 39% 7.0 Juan Cruz , RP, Arizona 26% 3.44
J.D. Drew , OF, Boston 38% 7.7 Aaron Laffey , SP, Cleveland 27% 3.07
Alexi Casilla , 2B, Minnesota 38% 8.1 Oliver Perez , SP, N.Y. Mets 27% 5.86
Unlucky' Hitters H/BIP RC/27 'Unlucky' Pitchers H/BIP ERC
Cody Ross , OF, Florida 18% 5.7 Jesus Colome , RP, Washington 38% 4.64
Mike Napoli , C, L.A. Angels 21% 5.1 Andrew Miller , SP, Florida 38% 5.61
Travis Buck , OF, Oakland 21% 2.4 Guillermo Mota , RP, Milwaukee 36% 4.06
Kenji Johjima , C, Seattle 23% 2.6 Jarrod Washburn , SP, Seattle 35% 6.14
Ramon Hernandez , C, Baltimore 23% 2.9 CC Sabathia , SP, Cleveland 35% 4.69
Adrian Beltre , 3B, Seattle 23% 4.8 Dustin McGowan , SP, Toronto 35% 4.20
Rickie Weeks , 2B, Milwaukee 24% 4.2 Ubaldo Jimenez , SP, Colorado 34% 5.23
Carlos Lee , OF, Houston 25% 4.8 Jonathan Broxton , RP, L.A. Dodgers 34% 3.48
Edwin Encarnacion , 3B, Cincinnati 25% 4.7 Andy Sonnanstine , SP, Tampa Bay 34% 4.52
Ryan Howard , 1B, Philadelphia 25% 4.6 A.J. Burnett , SP, Toronto 34% 4.21
Good stats, good skills - hitters H/BIP RC/27 Good stats, good skills - pitchers H/BIP ERC
Brian McCann , C, Atlanta 30% 8.0 Josh Banks , SP, San Diego 29% 1.82
Carlos Quentin , OF, Chicago White Sox 28% 7.6 Jon Rauch , RP, Washington 29% 2.25
Joe Crede , 3B, Chicago White Sox 28% 7.4 Cliff Lee , SP, Cleveland 30% 2.32
Adrian Gonzalez , 1B, San Diego 32% 6.7 Brian Fuentes , RP, Colorado 29% 2.38
Orlando Hudson , SS, Arizona 32% 6.5 Darrell Rasner , SP, N.Y. Yankees 28% 2.76
Poor stats, poor skills - hitters H/BIP RC/27 Poor stats, poor skills - pitchers H/BIP ERC
Felipe Lopez , SS, Washington 29% 3.0 Tom Gorzelanny , SP, Pittsburgh 29% 6.25
Kurt Suzuki , C, Oakland 29% 3.2 Mike Timlin , RP, Boston 31% 5.65
Brad Wilkerson , OF, Toronto 31% 3.4 Joaquin Benoit , RP, Texas 29% 5.28
Brendan Harris , SS, Minnesota 32% 3.4 Brian Burres , SP, Baltimore 31% 5.27
Kevin Kouzmanoff , 3B, San Diego 31% 4.2 Ricky Nolasco , SP, Florida 29% 5.27
Runs Created per 27 Outs (RC/27) -- An estimate of how many runs a lineup would produce per 27 outs if a particular player occupied each spot in the order; ex. the RC/27 for Miguel Cabrera would predict the productivity of a lineup where Cabrera (or his statistical equal) batted in all nine spots; created by Bill James
Component ERA (ERC) -- An estimate of a what a pitcher's ERA would be if it were based solely on actual pitching performance; created by Bill James
Base Hits per Balls in Play (H/BIP) -- The percentage of balls in play (at bats minus strikeouts and home runs) that are base hits; research by Voros McCracken and others has established that this rate is largely random and has a norm of approximately 30%
Isolated Power -- The difference between slugging percentage and batting average; created by Branch Rickey and Allan Roth
Walk Rate -- Walks / (at bats + walks)
Whiff Rate -- Strikeouts / at bats

Al Melchior was recently a Fantasy columnist and data analyst for Baseball HQ and will be providing advice columns for Click here to send him a question. Please put "Melchior" in the subject field.

Data Analyst

Al Melchior has been playing Fantasy Baseball since 1994, getting his start in the Southern Maryland Anthropomorphic Baseball League (SMABL). He has been writing about Fantasy Baseball since 2000, getting... Full Bio

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