I just re-read some work done by Rob Mains (if you don’t follow him, you should) where he reiterated that teams and player performances in April have the lowest correlation to end of season averages than any other month. Basically, there’s a much better than average chance that your favorite team and favorite players aren’t going to continue on the path they’re currently on, regardless of what that path currently is.
But we’re going to talk about April performances anyway because that’s what baseball fans do.
The Yankees are playing the White Sox this weekend and there is a player’s performance that I’m sure is going to come up in discussion on the Simpleton Summer Camp Network. That’s assuming Kay and O’Neill can squeeze in said discussion between their conversations about their text messages, their food, and their kids…(rubs temples…)
White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson is currently in the top ten in the American League in WAR, batting average, OBP, SLG, OPS, and hits. Interesting because last season I wrote this about Anderson:
“…Anderson is a testament to how valuable having good range at a premium position and being a plus runner can be because with a career .290 OBP and a 2018 chase rate of 42%, he’s close to an automatic out.”
Wow. So what changed? Anderson, a former first-round pick, must’ve changed his approach or turned a philosophical or technical corner and is now a star poised for a breakout season, right?
Whoa, hold on. His awful chase rate has improved by 2% so far. Given the small 2019 sample size, that’s not a change at all.
So he must be hitting the ball harder, right? Nope. Hard it percentage was 30.3 last season, 26.7 so far this season.
So what explains the massive 2019 offensive output?
His batting average on balls in play so far this season is .607 (compared to .289 last season). Six. Oh. Seven. He’s still chasing pitches, and he isn’t hitting the ball hard, but what he has hit has found holes and grass. Needless to say, that will stop soon, regardless of what the Simpleton Summer Camp network tells you tonight.
Otherwise, the White Sox aren’t going anywhere this season but I don’t think they’re the pushovers that most people do. Wellington Castillo, Jose Abreu, and Yonder Alonso create a pretty good lineup but their pitching isn’t going to keep the Yankees from scoring runs.
Did I forget something or miss anything? Let me know by commenting below or hitting me up on My Baseball Page on Facebook (link on the right).