Each week, Collin uses his HVaC Scoring System to let you know who to start and drop in head-to-head fantasy baseball leagues. This week’s must-starts:
Kyle Seager is fast becoming one of my favorite targets at third base. His HVaC score has improved more than 2 1/2 points since the start of the year thanks to improvements in projections in RBI and his hits per plate appearances. Seager is expected to be above average in H/PA while his run production should outpace the top 15 at the position for the rest of the season. While his power is coming on inside pitches (four of his five home runs have been on the inner half of the plate), 229 of the 391 pitches he has seen have been away.
He has seen 75 percent of his swings and misses at those pitches. Bad sign? Not entirely, because his plate discipline has been better as noted by a walk rate that has increased two points from last year. With a BABIP 40 points below last year’s mark of .290 and 2012’s mark of .286, his average should come back. He has already shown 20-plus home run power and is the HVaC’s No. 4 third sacker the rest of the season as of today.
Erick Aybar (9.86)
Aybar’s .125 ISO is right in line with his 2012 mark of .126 and actually below his 2011 mark of .142, while his .321 BABIP compares well to his .306 career number. With the position expected to post 64 runs and 17 steals (two key categories at shortstop), Aybar’s season-ending projections of 64 and 15 respectively would be a welcome addition.
George Springer (13.31)
HVaC still sees Springer as a top 30 outfielder. His H/PA of .206 compared with the positional mark of .242 drags down his value a little, but those are less important in the outfield than speed, run production and RBI.
Alejandro De Aza (16.06)
There is one number here to know – .194. That is De Aza’s current BABIP number. For his career, he has shown a mark of .326 and has been at .318 and .339 in the last two seasons.
The major change for him: increased fly ball rate and 16 percent of the pitches thrown to De Aza have been changeups (seven points higher than last year) at the expense of the number of fastballs he has seen (down nine points to 51 percent in 2014). While the HVaC does not like his RBI production, the rest of his numbers should keep him just inside the top-40 outfielders.
Ian Kennedy (20.58)
HVac pegs Kennedy as the 31st-best pitcher the rest of the way. The projections of 10 wins with a 3.85 ERA and 1.25 WHIP are strong enough to keep him in lineups, plus his 69.3 percent strand rate is actually down 10 points from his 2011 mark and is four points off his career mark.