We don't pretend to have the answer key to fantasy baseball, but we can offer a six-pack of stats to help makes sense of a complicated game ...
The latest stats every fantasy manager should know
92.9 - It's still early in the major league career of Nolan Gorman, but he doesn't appear overmatched. His average exit velocity through 15 games is 92.9 miles per hour, which lands him just behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and just ahead of Bryce Harper on the overall leaderboard. He's delivered six extra-base hits, including three bombs, and he's reaching base at a .377 clip. Another encouraging sign: Gorman has put 28 balls in play thus far and 24 have been fly balls or line drives. Generally speaking, we like to see hard-hit non-grounders. Gorman is piling up Ks (35.8 K%) just as he did in the minors, but good things are happening when he makes contact.
90.8 - An average Shane Bieber fastball is now traveling 90.8 mph, which does not seem ideal. His velocity is down two full miles per hour from last year and 3.4 mph from 2020. Not surprisingly, his K-rate has dipped as well, from a ridiculous 41.1 percent two seasons ago to 25.1 over 60.2 innings this year. He probably deserves to be downgraded a tier from wherever you had him in your preseason ranks.
Bieber is coming off a phenomenal start at Baltimore (7.0 IP, 2 R, 11 Ks), we should note, and his fantasy ratios remain useful (3.12, 1.15). So it's not as if he's a must-sell in fantasy. The man still has filth like this in his arsenal, after all:
Shane Bieber, Filthy Knuckle Curve. 😷 pic.twitter.com/TIBxEmZid6
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 3, 2022
38.1 - This is the percentage of pitches on which Javier Baez has seen a fastball this year, down all the way from 47.0 percent last season and 48.2 for his career. No batter in MLB sees fewer fastballs. Breaking pitches and off-speed stuff have obviously flummoxed him. He's slashing just .205/.240/.316 with three homers and one steal through 44 games. Baez is of course a notoriously hot-and-cold hitter, so he's likely to surge at some point — in fact, he's gone 4-for-8 over his last two games, a promising development. But the league has collectively taken a different approach with Baez so far this season and he's been unplayable in fantasy.
33 - Colorado hitters fouled off 33 of Carlos Rodon's 98 pitches over his four innings on Tuesday night, a crazy total. They basically fouled him out of the game. Rodon ultimately gave up four hits and two runs, striking out five. In recent starts, he hasn't quite been the dominator we saw back in April, but he also hasn't been all that lucky. Rodon's FIP (2.65) is nearly a full run lower than his ERA (3.51). He's hardly a fantasy problem.
24 - Christian Walker entered Tuesday with 24 barrels on the season, tied for eighth in baseball alongside Shohei Ohtani and Bryce Harper. So he's hanging with pretty good company. Walker is kinda crushing in terms of Statcast data, despite batting only .197 for the year. He's had horrendous luck on balls in play (.180 BABIP), but the 14 homers and .259 ISO tell a better story.
11.8 - Aroldis Chapman's swinging-strike percentage is a career-low 11.8, well off his rate in any other season. His velocity seems fine relative to the rest of baseball (97.1 mph), but it's down several ticks from his peak. Understandably, it sounds as if Chapman won't necessarily return to the closing gig when he comes off the IL. Dalton Del Don dropped Chapman in NFBC, so there's your green light to unload one of your most disappointing draft choices.