Who Could Use the Most Love in 2019

Happy Valentines day to all of you out there.  Valentines day is a great time to celebrate the love of those closest to you.  Every year there are those people who might not be in the Valentines state of mind as they feel they are not loved.  Without getting too deep, I want to mention that we are taught to love those who may not be loved by many.  Not romantic love but the love for man-kind, our fellow human beings.  Along that passage there were players in 2018 who may not have felt the love after a not so bad 2017.  In 2019 they hope for turn-around seasons that will put them back in the MLB Valentines mood come next February.  Below you will find players ranked by the biggest drop in WAR from 2017 to 2018:

Rank Name 2018 WAR 2017 WAR Difference
1 Brian Dozier 0.8 5 -4.2
2 Eric Hosmer -0.1 4.1 -4.2
3 Charlie Blackmon 2.8 6.5 -3.7
4 Dee Gordon 0 3.6 -3.6
5 Chris Davis -3.1 0.1 -3.2
6 Giancarlo Stanton 4.2 7.3 -3.1
7 Joey Votto 3.5 6.5 -3
8 Jose Abreu 1.2 4.2 -3
9 Jose Altuve 4.9 7.6 -2.7
10 Marwin Gonzalez 1.6 4 -2.4
11 Marcell Ozuna 2.7 5.1 -2.4
12 Kole Calhoun 0 2.2 -2.2
13 Justin Upton 3.1 5.2 -2.1
14 Yangervis Solarte -1.3 0.8 -2.1
15 Tommy Pham 4 6.1 -2.1

There are some big names up here who we can maybe give a little forgiveness to.  For instance, while Stanton and Altuve had significant drop-offs from the prior season, they both were following up seasons in which they won their respective league’s MVP.  The seasons they put up in 2018, while not MVP caliber, are not seasons to scoff at.  There are a few names that are worth looking at, and while a full article could be written about them each individually, we will do a surface level look into what will make them feel the love in 2019.

Brian Dozier:

Dozier had a dismal season coming off of a 5 WAR season in 2017.  Regarded as one of the best offensive second basemen in the league, he only managed to slash .215/.305/.391 in what is a normal amount of PA for him.  His average exit velocity was just slightly less than in 2017 and his swing speed was also less by a minute amount.  When it comes to plate discipline he cut down on the number of pitches he saw outside the zone by 17%.  He was making more total contact this year than he was the previous two seasons.  In addition, he struck out and walked at a nearly identical rate as he did in 2017.  His .241 BABIP was a career low and considering his average exit velocity did not change a significant amount and his plate discipline may have actually improved indicates that he may be in for a nice comeback season in what could be a really productive offense in DC.

Eric Hosmer:

Its an odd year. Nuf said.  Take a look at his WAR the last 6 seasons.

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Eric Hosmer 3.1 -0.2 3.5 0.2 4.1 -0.1

Charlie Blackmon:

For Blackmon, much of his WAR decrease might be attributed to his defense.  While he took a step back offensively, he still had a wRC+ of 116.  Although he was never considered to be a top defensive outfielder, his Outs Above Average dropped from -1 in 2017 to -8 in 2018.  You can find this tool at Baseball Savant which you can get to by clicking on the link on the Statsswipe applications page.  Anyway, take a look at his OAA (Outs Above Average) by direction:

2017
2018

 

Going back and to his right has always been his worst direction.  Again, while he never has excelled in the field it plays an impact in his WAR.

Kole Calhoun:

Calhoun was having one of the worst 1st halves of any regular player in MLB history.  In the 1st half he hit .187/.237/.319 while striking out 22.6% of the time and walking only 6.5% of the time.  While he rebounded a little in the 2nd half, he slumped again towards the end of the season.  There was, however, a month or so time right after the All Star break where he seemed to have figured it back out.  From 7/21 to 8/30 he hit .301/.373/.552 with 8 home runs.  He had a swing in BABIP up to .361 in that time.  His .241 BABIP was a career low.  His hard hit rate was 57%  during that time compared to his season total of 44.5%.  In addition he increased his line drive percentage from his season percent of 21.4% to 30.5% during that time period.  His flyballs also increased.  He managed to be hitting the ball harder and at at a higher angle without really changing his plate discipline too much.

Every player on this list has the capability of having a big bounce-back season (doubtful for Chris Davis).  Love is in the air and maybe a fresh new season is what these players need to find love from their fans and respective teams again.

 

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