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Will The Real Jake Lamb Please Stand Up?

Monday, October 17, 2016 4:45
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(Before It's News)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

After being among the biggest stories in the first half of 2016, the Diamondbacks’ Jake Lamb had a notable disappearance after the All-Star Break.  For many he became a goat, as fantasy owners stuck with him hoping that he could rekindle his first half glory.  Obviously that resurgence simply never came:

Half
AB
AVG
HR
RBI
R
SB
First 289 .291 20 61 49 3
Second 234 .197 9 30 32 3

There are two key numbers that embrace the falloff, and you have to wonder if the strong first half led to a change in approach:

Line Drives – 20.5% to 13.5%
His groundball rate was fairly consistent, so what happened was the line drives instead changed to fly balls (33.8% to 40.5%).  Sure it’s not an outrageous number, but did the strong first half lead to him swinging for the fences a bit more?

He was more aggressive at the plate (12.9% SwStr%, 30.3% O-Swing%), which also feeds into this thought.  It led to an increase in strikeouts (24.6% to 27.5%), and obviously the diminished line drive rate (which helped him to a poor .240 BABIP) and increased strikeout rate led to his abysmal average.

Home Run/Fly Ball – 28.2% to 13.6%
Was the first half mark ever truly believable?  Among qualified hitters that mark actually led the league, so we always had to expect some type of a regression to come.  His home ballpark should help him maintain some of his power:

  • Home – 19
  • Road – 10

Getting to play at Coors Field multiple times per year doesn’t hurt either (he had 3 HR there).  That said, it’s hard to imagine him as a 35+ HR hitter (the pace he set in the first half).

Conclusion
Is there hope that he fixes the issue in the offseason?  We’d like to think so, especially after he posted a 22.7% line drive rate in ’15.  Hopefully a change in the coaching staff can help get in his ear and get him back to doing what actually made him successful.  That would still give him obvious value, as a .280-.290 hitter with 20ish HR, but that’s likely a best case scenario for him.  Hopefully he gets there, but don’t acquire him this offseason expecting one of the premier power hitters in the game.

Sources – Fangraphs, CBS Sports

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