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Week 2 Hitting Planner: Out With The Old, In With The New

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

After a restful offseason, I am relaxed, recharged, and ready for the Week 2 Hitting Planner. I have moved on from the themes to bring you a well rounded hitting planner. Each week will have a blurb about upcoming weather forecasts, the change landscape of MLB ballparks and how they are playing, teams limiting stolen bases, and a couple under the radar players with good matchups.

Weather Forecast

It looks like some storms are going to pass through the eastern side of the USA in the early part of the Week 2 Hitting Planner. The forecast should only affect the Yankees/ Orioles series.

The Seattle/ Oakland series could see rain as well in the second half of the week. The rain in the northwest coincides with a cold front creeping up on the midwest. Minnesota could see some snow, so pay attention to the Twins weather reports.

Park Factors

Taking a look at Park Factors can be crucial in making week-long start/ sit options. While we should focus more on five-year trends, a look into a stadium’s 2018 park factor can be skewed so early into a season by one player’s performance, so take these numbers with a grain of salt. Among the usual suspects for above average HR Park Factors (Coors Field, Chase Field, Citizens Bank Park) sits AT&T Park with a 4.00 HR Park Factor. Summer hasn’t fully hit Philadelphia, and Citizens Bank Park reflects that with a below average .375 HR Park Factor.

AT&T and Kauffman Stadium sit atop the leaderboards for Run Factor. Interestingly enough the home of the Royals, Kauffman Stadium, has a 0 HR Park Factor. Marlins Park in Miami and Oakland Coliseum have also been very friendly to hitters to start the season.

Stolen Base Report

Photo Credit: Keith Allison
The Braves lead the league in stolen bases allowed with seven. Currently, Kurt Suzuki starts until Tyler Flowers returns from injury. The Braves pitching staff has also thrown six wild pitches, so look for the Cubs and Nationals to put the pressure on with runners on base.

James McCann and the Tigers are opposite. So far, they have caught five of seven base stealers. McCann unsurprisingly has one the MLB’s fastest pop times. The pitching staff has thrown three wild pitches, but overall the Tigers batteries are matchups to avoid for stolen bases.

Under-The-Radar- Players

Mitch Haniger, SEA (@KC, vs. OAK)

Photo Credit: Keith Allison
Currently, Haniger sits with an average exit velocity of 96.6 mph with an average launch angle of 22.5 degrees. Both have the Mariners outfielder in prime position to take advantage of an early week matchup in Kansas City. The Royals pitching staff is sporting a 4.24 xFIP (3.94 is the league average in 2018) and a 40.4% Hard Contact%. Kauffman Stadium played scene to a few high scoring games already and that trend shouldn’t stop in the Week 2 Hitting Planner.

Steals may be hard to come by for Haniger this week but Sal Perez (KAS) and Jonathan Lucroy (OAK) have allowed four stolen bases in seven attempts combine. Haniger should contribute to four of the five standard categories this week with the possibility of stealing a base or two.

Tim Anderson, CHW (vs. TB, @MIN)

The White Sox middle infielder, Tim Anderson, burst out of the gate in 2018. His .459 wOBA tours over his previous career high. Riding a 94.4 mph average exit velocity, Anderson and the hard-hitting White Sox see the Twins in the latter half of the week. Currently, the Twins pitching staff generates 39.7% of its contact as fly balls (7th worst in the MLB). That staff also sports the lowest BABIP in the MLB (.200). As a sort of boom-or-bust play, Anderson’s 32.7-degree launch angle on line drives and fly balls this season could play up in Minnesota.

An aggressive base runner, Anderson swiped four bases already to begin the season, and more should be expected in the Week 2 Hitting Planner. The Rays have allowed five stolen bases on the season. Wilson Ramos and Co. have only caught one would be base stealer as well.

Maikel Franco, PHI (vs. CIN, @TB)

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I might catch a lot of flack for this but I am on board the Maikel Franco train for the Week 2 Hitting Planner. He has an average exit velocity of 93.5 mph (currently, 42nd in the MLB) that’s close to his career average (93.9 mph). He’s hitting fly balls and line drives with a launch angle of 25.3 degrees in 2018. His career average launch angle sits right at 25.2 degrees. With everything seemingly holding steady, why are his baseline statistics trending upwards? Timing.

While it’s a very small sample size, Franco has hit four balls over 100 mph this season: two fastballs and two changeups. Both fastballs landed, one over the seats and one for a triple, while both changeups were groundouts to third. If the timing is right, Franco’s sudden acclaim for plate discipline (11.8% BB%) could lead to a huge week against a Reds pitching staff with a 5.79 FIP.

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