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Fantasy Baseball Regression Candidates: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Kirby, Brett Baty

Fantasy Baseball Regression Candidates: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Kirby, Brett Baty

Which players are enjoying an unsustainable hot streak right now? Which players are uncharacteristically cold? And, which have been receiving too much or too little luck of late?

This weekly article highlights players who are due for some positive or negative regression compared to their recent performance to assist fantasy managers in viewing each one properly. Digging underneath the surface stats, we examine some hitting and pitching metrics to try to determine if a given player is overperforming or underperforming what should be expected.

The goal here should be clear. Now, let’s get to it.

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Positive & Negative Regression Candidates

Stats up to date through April 15, 2024

Players Due for Positive Regression

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B – TOR)

Though he has three homers on the season, one came on Opening Day, as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got off to a hot start this season by going 4 for 11 over the Blue Jays’ first three games. Since then, the three-time All-Star has managed to pick up just eight hits over 53 at-bats (.151) with four extra-base hits and only five RBI in 14 games. It’s certainly been a frustrating stretch for fantasy managers, but the underlying metrics suggest Guerrero Jr. has been incredibly unlucky.

Somehow, Guerrero Jr.’s .151 BABIP matches his AVG in this span despite a ridiculously impressive 56.1 HardHit% and 93.9 EV. He’s added a positive 22.0 LD% and four barrels (9.8%). Strikeouts have not really been an issue either, as Guerrero Jr. has whiffed just 14 times (18.4%) across 76 plate appearances this season. “Vladdy Jr.” should see his production should pick up soon.

George Kirby (SP – SEA)

Even after a solid performance Monday against the Reds in which he allowed just two earned runs over six innings, George Kirby’s ERA still stands at an ugly 6.64 through four starts. The cause of that inflated mark is back-to-back rough starts against the Guardians and Blue Jays that immediately preceded Monday’s victory.

In those two outings, Kirby was knocked around for a combined 13 runs on 18 hits over just 7 2/3 innings. The righty still showed off his excellent command, issuing no free passes in either game while striking out five and allowing only one home run. An egregious .472 BABIP did Kirby in during those matchups, even though he limited opposing bats to a sub-30 HardHit% and 87.9 EV. Again, Monday was a step back in the right direction, and there should be plenty more of that to come from Kirby.

Players Due for Negative Regression

Brett Baty (3B – NYM)

A first-round draft pick back in 2019, Brett Baty has been a highly-touted prospect for several years now. He got his first extended look at the big-league level last year, but much of the hype surrounding him subsided after he hit a meager .212 with a weak .598 OPS and 28.0 K% across 389 plate appearances. He did homer in the Mets’ second game of this season but still started just four for 18 with six strikeouts (28.6%). The last 10 games, however, have seen Baty perhaps turn a corner against MLB pitching.

Over his last 41 plate appearances, Baty has been swinging a magic wand, going 14 for 39 (.359) with five RBI, five runs scored and just six strikeouts (14.6%). This hot streak is highly suspect, though. First, 13 of Baty’s hits have been singles. Not only that, but a 60.6 GB% combined with a 27.3 HardHit% and 83.4 EV does not inspire confidence. His .424 BABIP is nowhere close to a sustainable level, and Baty is offering zero power right now. If an opportunity presents itself, sell high in redraft formats.

Jose Berrios (SP – TOR)

No starting pitcher will maintain a 1.05 ERA, which is what Jose Berrios has delivered fantasy managers through his first four starts of the campaign. Following a nice rebound season in 2023, the Toronto righty has been brilliant out of the gate this year. Berrios has worked at least six innings each time out, posting a 0.97 WHIP and 21-to-7 K/BB while limiting the opposition to a .200 AVG.

After this past Sunday’s seven shutout frames, Berrios has not been scored upon in his last 15 2/3 innings. However, some definite red flags are lying underneath his impressive statistics to this point.

Berrios’ 3.64 xFIP seems more fitting to where his ERA should be right now. With a lofty 49.3 HardHit% and near 91-mph EV, he holds a .275 xBA with a .409 xSLG (.303 SLG). His 52.9 GB% is encouraging, but it will still be very tough to sustain a .239 BABIP, particularly considering that mark is 50 points below last season’s. Berrios should remain a fairly solid fantasy SP, but nobody should expect him to carry a staff.

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Nate Miller is a featured writer at FantasyPros. He has been an analyst in the fantasy sports industry for the past decade, covering the NFL and MLB. For more from Nate, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @Miller_RotoDad.

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