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Statcast Standouts: Second Half Scorchers

The second half is in full swing, and the trade deadline has everyone on edge, waiting to see what the next big move will be. Fantasy standings are rounding into form, but it is not too late to make the moves you need to make to push you over the edge. In today’s edition of statcast standouts, I will look into several players who have excellent statcast data since the All-Star break. Maybe you will find a hitter or two that can help you out down the stretch.

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Statcast Standouts: Second Half Surge

Jorge Soler, OF, Kansas City Royals

Jorge Soler has been downright dreadful this season. Through the first half, over 269 plate appearances, Soler hit just .186 with seven home runs. A 28 percent strikeout rate and a career-low 8.6 percent home run/fly ball rate certainly fueled the poor start to the season. Since the All-Star break, however, Soler has gotten scorching hot. His home run to fly ball rate has jumped to 40 percent, and Soler has only struck out 19 percent of the time over 42 plate appearances. Over those 42 plate appearances, Soler has mashed six home runs and has a .257 batting average.

So, what changed? Soler was hitting the ball extremely hard before. So what’s different?

The biggest note is that Soler was hitting far too many fly balls with extremely high launch angles. He was hitting those hard, but they did not have enough power to clear the fence. His 28.9 percent sweet-spot percentage is the lowest of his career since 2017. But, since the All-Star break, Soler is finding the ideal launch angle much more often. Check out the radial chart below.

Jorge Soler Statcast

From a statcast standpoint, Jorge Soler has a 98.1 mpg average exit velocity over 27 batted ball events. Pretty impressive! He also has a hard-hit rate of 74.1 percent over that span. Soler also has a 22.2 percent barrel rate and a 19.4-degree launch angle since the All-Star break, according to statcast.

Soler is as hot as the sun right now, and when he gets on a tear, he’s worth rostering. There is a good chance he was dropped at some point, depending on your league depth, so take a look at the waiver wire and see if you can still get him. You don’t want to miss out on this hot streak.

Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds

If there is any player hotter than Jorge Soler over the last several weeks, it is Joey Votto. The soon-to-be 38-year-old vet is having a carer resurgent year in an attempt to solidify himself as a Hall-Of-Famer. On the season, Votto owns a .276/.373/.548 slash with 19 home runs. Votto was good in the first half, but since the All-Star break, he has been tearing the cover off the ball with eight home runs over 55 plate appearances. He also has a .372/.491/.977 slash over that time period. He has homered in his last six games, including a two-homer night in two of his last three games.

From a statcast standpoint, Votto was posting the best numbers of his career since statcast was integrated in 2015. His 15.8 percent barrel rate is over five percentage points higher than his career-high. His 92.6 mpg average exit velocity is also a career-best by over two mph, and his max-exit velocity is also a career-best. His hard-hit rate of 50 percent is over seven percentage points higher than his former high in 2015. Needless to say, Votto is killing the ball, and doing it as a 37-year-old is very impressive.

From a statcast standpoint, nothing has really changed since the All-Star break. His statcast numbers are right in line with what he has done the entire season. Votto is just seeing better results. This resurgence has been a blast to watch, and if Votto is somehow still available in your league, you need to snag him now. It will not surprise me if he is a top-ten first baseman for the rest of the season.

Josh Donaldson, 3B, Minnesota Twins

Josh Donaldson is another vet who has quietly been scorching the baseball this season. His stat line probably does not jump off the page at you, but his statcast data certainly should. Donaldson is fourth in baseball in average exit velocity and third in exit velocity on line drives and fly balls. Surprisingly, he does not have more than 16 home runs this season. But if you were wondering why check his radial chart below. Donaldson is only finding the sweet spot at a 27 percent rate this season.

Josh Donaldson Statcast

Since the All-Star break, Donaldson has a 95 mph average exit velocity. He also has a 59.5 percent hard-hit rate over 37 batted balls. Donaldson has been scorching the ball and could come into more home runs over the second half of the season. Health is obviously a big factor here, as Donaldson is prone to straining his calf. It has been an injury that has plagued him throughout the last several years.

If Donaldson finds the sweet spot more consistently and stays healthy, the rest of the season could be a strong one for him.

Thanks for stopping in to check out my latest “Statcast Standout” article. Hopefully, these three players can help you down the stretch and lead you to a fantasy championship. Be sure to check out all of our great content on FantraxHQ to help you win your leagues.

Media References: Baseball Savant

Statistical References: Baseball Savant, Fangraphs 

Thanks for checking out this week’s statcast article. Be sure to check out Eric Cross’s updated Top Fantasy Baseball Prospects.

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