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Austin Slater 2020 Outlook


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This feels like the kind of guy that you pick up and he promptly goes 1 for 15 with 10k’s, but what the hell. Welcome aboard, kid.

So it's pretty rare for me to add players without researching them thoroughly, but after getting alerted on Twitter that Slater stole his 5th base to go along with his 3 homers on the year, I mass add

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9 hours ago, aapox said:

It seems like at worse when his hitting inevitably regresses he's going to swipe bags. Is he a lock for playing time for the near future? I definitely need SB help.

He is setting the base paths ablaze...at this point they know he's going and he's still not gettin caught....o the Grand Larceny! [...]

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14 hours ago, meh2 said:

This feels like the kind of guy that you pick up and he promptly goes 1 for 15 with 10k’s, but what the hell. Welcome aboard, kid.

 

So it's pretty rare for me to add players without researching them thoroughly, but after getting alerted on Twitter that Slater stole his 5th base to go along with his 3 homers on the year, I mass added everywhere. My initial hunch was that this is most likely just a flash in the pan, but in a short season you have to act quickly. I now have had more time to research him and I'm much more optimistic that we're witnessing a true breakout. So, what's different? Well, last year he started focusing on swing changes as seen in this article: https://www.mccoveychronicles.com/2019/7/2/20679012/mlb-2019-san-francisco-giants-austin-slater-swing-change-flyball-revolution

For those not wanting to click, here's an excerpt:

When Slater sat down with our own Doug Bruzzone, he relayed that he spent the offseason retooling his swing at the behest of the front office. While one of the goals was to get Slater off the ground, most of the work centered around correcting his bat path. In his words:

Austin said that in correcting his bat path, he needed to stay within the strike zone longer and stay behind the ball. Previously, Slater was swinging down on the ball and when a down-swing meets a ball that’s moving downward, the ball is going on the ground. Now, Slater is lining up his bat path with the trajectory of the pitch.

 

Here's his percentile rankings from Baseball Savant thus far:

2020 MLB Percentile Rankings

Exit Velocity 87

Hard Hit % 84

xwOBA 92

xBA 92

xSLG 82

Barrel % 87

K % 42

Whiff % 79

Sprint Speed 62

 

He's been focusing on improving his ground ball rate and we're clearly seeing dramatic improvements in the small sample thus far. The past 3 years his launch angle has increased from 2.6 to 3.4 to 8.7. His GB rate has decreased from 63.4% to 54.1 to 37.0 this year. He's also being more patient as his chase rate has improved from 32.8% to 22.4% this year. He's k'ing less down from 30.7% to 24.4%. He's also going up the middle much more often and hitting line drives.

In his age 27 season, I think there's something going on here. Obviously some regression is going to happen but I think he's a worthwhile add if he's still sitting on the waiver wire in your league.

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17 minutes ago, meh2 said:

 

So it's pretty rare for me to add players without researching them thoroughly, but after getting alerted on Twitter that Slater stole his 5th base to go along with his 3 homers on the year, I mass added everywhere. My initial hunch was that this is most likely just a flash in the pan, but in a short season you have to act quickly. I now have had more time to research him and I'm much more optimistic that we're witnessing a true breakout. So, what's different? Well, last year he started focusing on swing changes as seen in this article: https://www.mccoveychronicles.com/2019/7/2/20679012/mlb-2019-san-francisco-giants-austin-slater-swing-change-flyball-revolution

For those not wanting to click, here's an excerpt:

When Slater sat down with our own Doug Bruzzone, he relayed that he spent the offseason retooling his swing at the behest of the front office. While one of the goals was to get Slater off the ground, most of the work centered around correcting his bat path. In his words:

Austin said that in correcting his bat path, he needed to stay within the strike zone longer and stay behind the ball. Previously, Slater was swinging down on the ball and when a down-swing meets a ball that’s moving downward, the ball is going on the ground. Now, Slater is lining up his bat path with the trajectory of the pitch.

 

Here's his percentile rankings from Baseball Savant thus far:

2020 MLB Percentile Rankings

Exit Velocity 87

Hard Hit % 84

xwOBA 92

xBA 92

xSLG 82

Barrel % 87

K % 42

Whiff % 79

Sprint Speed 62

 

He's been focusing on improving his ground ball rate and we're clearly seeing dramatic improvements in the small sample thus far. The past 3 years his launch angle has increased from 2.6 to 3.4 to 8.7. His GB rate has decreased from 63.4% to 54.1 to 37.0 this year. He's also being more patient as his chase rate has improved from 32.8% to 22.4% this year. He's k'ing less down from 30.7% to 24.4%. He's also going up the middle much more often and hitting line drives.

In his age 27 season, I think there's something going on here. Obviously some regression is going to happen but I think he's a worthwhile add if he's still sitting on the waiver wire in your league.

Appreciate the research and insight. I added yesterday because why not but was already considering dropping for a streamer arm today. Think I'll hold onto this scratch-off a little while longer and see what happens.

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I remembered the name to begin the season because of his hot streaks in the past, but I guess I'd thought his most recent one was ended due to injury?  

I'm riding him as well. There used to be a million worthy 1B/OF combos, but now the pickings are slim. If he can maintain an above-average OBP and stay in the lineup, I think he's worth owning across most leagues.

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Austin Slater was scratched because of right elbow soreness. Donovan Solano also was not available because of his abdominal issue.

 

Slater felt elbow soreness in yesterday's game and it wasn't getting loose like he had hoped today. He wasn't available to pinch hit. Will be reevaluated when the Giants return home.

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Hopefully it's nothing more than a day-to-day thing since he was securing an everyday role for himself, and his SBs were nice since several of the regular base stealers aren't running so far this season.

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9 minutes ago, KilloWertz said:

Hopefully it's nothing more than a day-to-day thing since he was securing an everyday role for himself, and his SBs were nice since several of the regular base stealers aren't running so far this season.

 

Agreed. I mean, this sucks, but I'll take it. If it was a lower body thing I'd be more worried about the steals being there when he gets back to playing. Therefore, gonna hold.

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18 hours ago, KingJoffrey said:

You know it’s early but Oracle has not been Death Valley for homers so far this year.

Yeah since there are no fans, they closed the archways in right field.  That lack of wind coming in has made a big difference.

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