Three Players Due for Second-Half Turnarounds
Machado is certainly an interesting case. His peripherals are strikingly similar to his previous seasons; however, Machado is having by far the worst statistical season of his young career. Machado has established himself as a top-tier player in MLB and might even receive the first $400 million contract in MLB history. However, in this first half, Machado looked more like a fringe major-leaguer than his normal self.
Machado should be having a career year in the power department (maybe not in average, given his career-low line drive percentage), as Machado has a 40 percent hard hit rate and a 43 percent fly ball rate. As a power hitter, a good sign is around 35 percent hard hit and 40 percent fly ball. Machado exceeds these baselines and should be destroying pitchers with doubles, triples, and homers. However, Machado’s hard hit rate is not generating as much power/average as it should; thus, regression set in. While Machado’s 14 percent line drive rate is abhorrent, his batting average is due to rise and Machado’s overall performance should rise in the second half of the 2017 MLB season.
So far, Cabrera is having his worst statistical season of his career. Through the break, he has a paltry 11 home runs, 31 runs, and 41 RBI. Further, after eight straight years of batting over .300, Cabrera so far has set a new low in batting average, as he’s hitting only .264.
However, his peripherals paint a different picture. Cabrera’s hard hit rate is second behind only Castellanos (we will get back to him), at almost 50 percent, and he has a soft hit rate of only seven. Further, Cabrera has increased his line drive rate to an elite 28 percent, a career-high. Statistically, more line drives, a higher batting average, and a higher hard hit rate will equal a higher slugging percentage. Cabrera is struggling in vanity stats, but has been great when looking at advanced statistics. Positive regression will certainly set in, and Cabrera’s second half could rival Joey Votto’s from a year ago.
Castellanos was a top-tier prospect in the Detroit Tigers organization and was brought up to the big leagues with high hopes. However, while Castellanos has become a solid player, he hasn’t lived up those hopes so far. Yet, he is only 25 and seemingly underperforms his peripherals every year. Castellanos is first in hard hit percentage, coming in at 50 percent, which is above superstars such as Aaron Judge, Paul Goldschmidt, and Corey Seager. Couple that with a 26 percent line drive rate, and there is no why Castellanos isn’t having as good of a season as the aforementioned players. Castellanos has been stroking the ball so far and that will continue in the second half the year. However, the one key difference will be that now those balls will fall. Look for Castellanos to have a great second half.