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Look Who’s Streaking: Fly with Jon Berti

Welcome back to another edition of Look Who’s Streaking! In this season-long series, we’ll be taking a look at players who are streaking – both hot and cold. The idea is fairly simple. We’ll highlight players who are streaking in either direction and take a closer look at their performance, with the ultimate goal of aiding lineup and waiver wire decisions.

For this week’s write-up, we’ll take a look at one player who has been flying on the base paths, as well as others who have made the most of their recent playing time. We’ll also look at some power bats who have struggled to get going this season – and what to do with them moving forward. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some players who are streaking!

Look Who’s Streaking!

Running Hot

Jon Berti (2B/3B – MIA)

If you have the need for speed, look no further than Jon Berti. Berti has been heating up on the base paths in June, stealing 17 of his 21 bases this month – without getting caught to boot! He’s also been particularly hot at the plate over the past 10 days. Berti is currently on an eight-game hitting streak while slashing .333/.389/.455. He stole nine bases on his hitting spree and has led off in five of the past six games.

Berti has no trouble getting on base. He walks at a 12.3% clip and has a .383 OBP (league average is .312). He also has strong plate discipline metrics, chasing pitches outside the zone 25.8% of the time and making 87.7% contact inside the zone. The Marlins are a team that likes to run and have the second-most stolen bases in the league (56 out of 67 attempts). As long as Berti continues to leadoff, he’s a great source of runs and steals; he should also provide a solid batting average (.261 xBA). He is surprisingly rostered in only 70% of Fantrax and Yahoo leagues, which is criminal. Ride Berti’s hot streak until the wheels come off!

Alek Thomas (OF – ARI)

Alek Thomas has been quietly having a productive June. He hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games, with one home run, 11 runs scored, six RBI and four stolen bases. Thomas is slashing .346/.424/.442 with a 148 wRC+ during this period and has hit second in the batting order in four of the last five games.

Overall, Thomas has hit well since being called up in the beginning of May. His .275/.338/.451 slash line and a .344 wOBA are all consistent with his xStats. The Diamondbacks are in the bottom-third of the league in runs scored, but Thomas has shown he can still be a productive player for fantasy teams. He doesn’t strike out a ton (17.6% K%) and has league-average power and plate discipline metrics. Thomas isn’t a flashy player, but has some pop and speed to his game, with a 15/10/.265 season in the cards. That’s not sexy, but it plays in most leagues.

Orlando Arcia (OF – ATL)

Orlando Arcia has filled in nicely since Ozzie Albies went on the injured list with a fractured foot. In the nine games since Albies’ injury, Arcia has 12 hits, including two home runs, four runs scored and five RBI. Arcia has mainly operated as a bench bat this season who hit well when he played, slashing .329/.384/.513 with a .385 wOBA and 146 wRC+ across 90 plate appearances.

The sample size is small, but Arcia has a 9.8% barrel rate and 49% hard-hit rate for the season – both career marks. He’s also posting elite plate discipline metrics with a 27.3% chase rate and 91.1% zone contact rate. A .397 BABIP has helped fuel his strong batting average, but his xStats indicate his stat line is in the neighborhood of where it should be, with a .314 xBA, .557 xSLG and .397 xwOBA. Arcia has a little bit of pop and speed, will gain eligibility at second base, and has guaranteed playing time for the next couple of months. His hot streak is worth riding in 15-team leagues and deeper.

Running Cold

Nelson Cruz (1B – WAS)

Nelson Cruz has always been a safe bet when it comes to power. The veteran slugger has hit at least 32 dingers every season since 2014 (he hit an impressive 16 home runs in the shortened 2020 season). But his power streak is likely coming to an end this season. Cruz has seven home runs on the season and is slashing .248/.332/.380 with a 100 wRC+ across 276 plate appearances. But he’s been slumping recently, going on a 3-for-36 skid since June 14. Over that period, Cruz has zero home runs, to go along with only three runs scored and two RBI.

There are some troubling signs under the hood, especially in the power department. His 113.8 maxEV, 11.9% barrel rate, and 45.9% hard-hit rate are all career-lows. Additionally, Cruz is having trouble elevating the ball and is hitting ground balls at a 50.8% clip (career 42%). With little power, no steals, and playing on a team that is in the bottom half of the league in run production, Cruz is a player to avoid – especially if you’re looking for power moving forward.

Tarik Skubal (SP – DET)

Tarik Skubal is coming off three bad outings, registering a 9.88 ERA and 2.05 WHIP over 13.2 innings pitched. Skubal never made it past five innings in any of those starts and was plagued by walks and home runs – something he’s otherwise been good at limiting this season (1.93 BB/9 and .68 HR/9). Consider this a hiccup for Skubal. Unluckiness played a part over this stretch (.429 BABIP), and Toronto and Boston are tough opponents.

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Skubal is having the best season of his career and will likely rebound. For the season, Skubal has a 3.63 ERA and 1.13 WHIP across 79.1 innings pitched. But his 2.68 FIP and 3.22 SIERA indicate he’s been pitching better than his surface stats show. Additionally, he has a 21% K-BB% and he improved his groundball rate to 46.5% (career 39.7%). Don’t sweat Skubal’s cold streak.

Max Muncy (1B/2B/3B – LAD)

Max Muncy returned from an elbow inflammation injury on June 9 and is slashing .233/.353/.395 with a 118 wRC+ across 51 plate appearances. He also has two home runs, five runs scored and six RBI over this period. Muncy’s return has been a mixed bag. He still has a strong plate approach (15.7% BB% and 17.6% K%) to go along with an elite 22.3% chase rate and plus contact rates. However, some of Muncy’s underlying metrics are worrisome, especially concerning his power.

On the season, Muncy has a 10.8% barrel rate and 36.9% hard-hit rate – the lowest rates he’s posted since 2018. Additionally, his 106.5 maxEV is the worst of his career. Muncy has five home runs this season; and while he’s been unlucky (.200 BABIP), his power decline makes it unlikely we can count on his usual 35-home run season from him. In fact, most projection systems peg Muncy for another 15-20 homers the rest of the way. If he can’t tap into his power soon, he makes for a tough hold in shallower leagues.

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