Every baseball player’s goal heading into a season is to get things started on the right foot. Whether it’s at the plate or on the mound, actually putting up numbers builds confidence with the majority of a 162-game schedule staring them in the face. Baseball is a fickle game, though, and a hot start doesn’t guarantee a dang thing. However, the up and down nature of the game over the summer is what makes betting on baseball so exciting. If you’re looking for special offers to bet on Major League Baseball, omegatipsters.com has enhanced odds that will help you get the most out of your bet.
The following six players all enjoyed a strong March/April, but they haven’t experienced the same type of success since. Does that mean they’re performing badly now? Not necessarily. A handful of them are still above average when looking at their season-long numbers. This is just an exercise to point out that you’d never know about the great start they experienced by looking at their current cumulative numbers.
Tim Beckham, Seattle Mariners
wRC+ through April 30th: 139
wRC+ since May 1st: 62
Beckham was an intriguing story through the season’s first month. Did things just start clicking for the former top overall pick? It certainly appeared that way as he slashed .282/.352/.527 with six home runs, 19 RBI, and 19 runs scored. Things have spiraled out of control for the infielder since the calendar flipped to May, unfortunately.
In addition to his 62 wRC+ (entering Wednesday’s action), Beckham is hitting .186/.205/.419 over his most recent 88 plate appearances. That has included another five homers and 14 RBI, but it’s also been accompanied by a 1.1% walk rate and 31.8% strikeout rate. The biggest change has been what his batted-ball profile looks like between these two periods of time.
At the end of April, Beckham owned a 16.4% soft-hit rate and 37.0% hard-hit rate, which meshed well with a 23.3% line-drive rate. Since then, his soft contact (34.5%) has easily outpaced his hard contact (27.6%), his line drives have disappeared (6.9%…nice), and the difference has gone to his ground-ball rate (43.8% to 60.3%).
Joe Musgrove, Pittsburgh Pirates
ERA through April 30th: 1.54
ERA since May 1st: 6.98
The Pirates entered Wednesday’s action as a last-place team in the National League Central while boasting one of the Senior Circuit’s worst run differentials. Musgrove hasn’t necessarily been an asset in Pittsburgh’s efforts to compete following a strong April.
Through the season’s first month, he did a good job of limiting base runners (5.2% walk rate, 0.89 WHIP), suppressing home runs (0.26 HR/9), and stranding runners who did reach base (72.8%). None of those things have gone as well since the start of May — his 7.5% walk rate isn’t horrendous, but his 1.47 WHIP and 1.40 HR/9 are both big increases, while his 51.4% strand rate is obviously a huge decrease.
No wonder he’s giving up nearly seven runs per nine innings pitched over his last 38.2 frames. What’s interesting here, though, is the usage of his slider, curveball, and changeup have all taken a noticeable step back.
Musgrove’s usage rate for each offering has gone down at least three percentage points. This has happened despite them being the only pitches in his arsenal to produce an opponent wRC+ below 100 (they’re all below 75).
Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks
wRC+ through April 30th: 154
wRC+ since May 1st: 71
Jake Lamb hitting the injured list gave Walker an opportunity to play, and he took full advantage in April. The 28-year-old mostly wowed with his hard-hit rate, which stood at a ridiculously nice 69.1% at the end of the month. Entering Wednesday’s action, it’s come down to a much more normal 38.1% rate since the start of May.
It seems as if the law of averages has caught up to him in the process, though — his BABIP has gone from a sky-high .393 mark to .271 over these two time periods. You’d also think he’d have better than a 333 wRC+ on line drives with a 76.5% hard-hit rate for this specific batted-ball event.
He’s even swinging less often at balls out of the strike zone (30.4% to 28.0%) as well as chasing after strikes more often (73.3% to 82.6%). Opposing pitchers have thrown fastballs at a 10-percentage-point increase between these two periods, though.
Walker has performed well against that pitch, but not as well as you’d think for someone who initially had ridiculous quality-of-contact numbers (.234/.359/.519 line with a 134 wRC+ against four-seamers). Having a 23.8% infield-fly rate against this pitch also doesn’t help a ton.
Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays
ERA through April 30th: 2.32
ERA since May 1st: 5.71
This certainly wasn’t a surprise, especially since we named Sanchez as one of baseball’s worst starting pitchers through the end of April. That was because his 2.32 ERA was accompanied by a 5.45 SIERA, and it looks as if regression came quickly for the right-hander.
His last 41 innings have included six losses in eight starts (and no wins), along with a 17.7% strikeout rate, 10.4% walk rate, and 5.04 SIERA. It’s also worth noting that his BABIP allowed has jumped over 100 points (.241 in April, .344 since May 1st). This has all happened despite raising his ground-ball rate (48.1% to 52.2%) and his soft-hit rate (14.8% to 23.1%).
Entering this year, Sanchez had never thrown his curveball more than 16.6% of the time, but that number is currently up at 23.1%. The results have been stellar; plate appearances ending with that pitch have produced a 4.2% walk rate, 40.3% strikeout rate, and a 26 wRC+. The problem is his four-seamer and sinker — both pitches have produced a walk rate above 13.0% with at least a 160 wRC+ against.
Jason Heyward, Chicago Cubs
wRC+ through April 30th: 143
wRC+ since May 1st: 80
Between 2017 and 2018, Heyward hit just 19 home runs in 970 plate appearances. Through 250 trips to the plate in 2019, he’s already smacked 10 dingers. However, his production has just been a little uneven, as we can see from the above numbers.
The power hasn’t dropped off too substantially (five homers in each period of time), but his plate-discipline numbers have changed drastically. After having a higher walk rate (16.8%) than strikeout rate (13.9%) through the end of April, those numbers have flipped (10.7% walk rate, 18.8% strikeout rate since the start of May).
Those latest numbers aren’t terrible, and he even saw improvements in his hard-hit rate, line-drive rate, and ground-ball rate during this time. Unfortunately, his BABIP took a dive from .303 to .240. He’s also been chasing balls more often, swinging at strikes less often, and making less contact in general (84.7% to 79.6%).
Marco Gonzales, Seattle Mariners
ERA through April 30th: 2.80
ERA since May 1st: 7.11
Gonzales’ year (and Beckham’s, for that matter) has been a microcosm of the Mariners’ overall performance. Seattle finished April with an 18-14 record but entered Wednesday’s action with a 28-42 mark. Yikes.
The left-hander outperformed his March/April peripherals by a wide margin (4.56 SIERA), but that’s to be expected since he’s not the type of pitcher to rack up a ton of strikeouts. Controlling the zone is more crucial to his success, which he hasn’t been doing lately.
Gonzales’ walk rate went from 4.9% at the end of April to 9.0% since the start of May. Allowing more base runners makes it even more important to strand as many as possible, and he’s done the opposite — his strand rate has gone from 74.3% to an atrocious 48.0%. The usage of his cutter has also gone down about five percentage points between these periods of time, but so has the value, according to FanGraphs (2.80 at end of April, -2.96 since May 1st).