Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Javier Assad emblematic of league-wide trend; J.D. Martinez picking up steam

fantasy baseball waiver wire: javier assad emblematic of league-wide trend; j.d. martinez picking up steam

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Javier Assad emblematic of league-wide trend; J.D. Martinez picking up steam

Is a Waiver Wire article the right place to address Javier Assad? He's already rostered in 78 percent of CBS Sports leagues, and I may actually come down on the side of that being too many.

But I have things to say about him, and this is the place for me to say things today. So here we go.

I suppose the logical starting point is the 1.49 ERA. Assad actually lowered it for the third time in four starts with his six shutout innings Wednesday at the Braves. It's a mark that's too good to be true for any pitcher, much less one with only 7.8 K/9 and a 6.4 percent swinging-strike rate that would have ranked dead last among qualifying pitchers last year.

The quality of the contact against Assad must be exceptionally poor for him to succeed with so few missed bats, right? You'd think so, but his average exit velocity is middle of the pack. He also puts the ball in the air at a higher-than-average rate, which you'd think would make him vulnerable to the long ball, and yet he's only allowed two all season.

So wouldn't the simplest explanation be that he's had good home run luck to this point? I'm of the mind that that simple explanation is generally the best one, and in this case, it would also account for the disparity between Assad's FIP (a surprisingly excellent 2.90) and his xFIP (a more believable 4.21). But there's unfortunately one small issue that makes it less than crystal clear.

The league as a whole isn't allowing home runs at its usual rate.

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