Patience or Panic 8/19: Bryant, Robles, Berrios

Kyle Frank looks at three players who haven't performed up to standard.

With only three and a half weeks before fantasy baseball playoffs begin, it’s time to take a serious look at your rosters to see what areas need improvement. It may be time to give up on struggling guys who might not pick things up until it’s too late, if at all. Conversely, it could also be the perfect time to jump on a player that a fellow league-mate has recently given up on, just in time for their late season surge that propels your team into the fantasy postseason. To help determine this, we have our weekly edition of Patience or Panic, where we take a close look into the struggles of three under-performing players to see the source of their trouble and whether or not they are likely to turn things around sooner than later, so let’s dive right into it.

Kris Bryant (3B, OF, Chicago Cubs)

.177 AVG, 9 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB


After a solid 2019 season that saw him hit 31 homers with a .282/.382/.521 line, Kris Bryant has had a miserable first month of the season. The former MVP has struck out 28.6% of the time this year, a 25% increase from last season and his worst output since his rookie year in 2015. To go with that, his 8.6% walk rate is the worst of his career and the first time it’s ever been below 10%. Bryant is also not hitting the ball hard when he does connect, as his 28.6% hard-hit rate is the lowest of his career, as is his 4.8% barrel rate.

The source of these problems seems to be the result of some mechanical issues at the plate. Bryant appears to be almost pushing his bat through the zone, and he is not using his hands or wrists enough in his swing. While on the surface this seems like a simple enough problem to solve, Bryant is dealing with a wrist injury, for which he just received injections. As a result, he will not be returning to the lineup until at least Friday, but this obviously makes it much more difficult to correct a problem with his mechanics that heavily involves increased wrist action. With such a short season and very little time to recover, it is entirely possible that Bryant will be forced to play the rest of the season at less than 100% health, and that’s assuming he isn’t forced to the IL if the pain persists. With the Cubs owning the third best record in baseball, they might be wise to rest him as much as possible so that he can be as close to full strength for the postseason as he can be. Unfortunately, all of this is bad news for fantasy players relying on Bryant to turn things around over these final few weeks.

Verdict: Panic


Victor Robles (OF, Washington Nationals)

.267 AVG, 4 R, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB


After a promising rookie season that saw him hit 17 long balls to go with 28 stolen bases, Victor Robles has left a lot to be desired thus far in 2020. The power has not been there, having hit just one homer on the second game of the season. His 82.2 mph average exit velocity is in the bottom 2% of the league, though not completely out of the norm for him, as his 83.3 mph mark from last season wasn’t a whole lot better. Meanwhile, he has yet to log a single barrel this year, and his meager 27% hard-hit rate is actually an improvement from last year. His ability to make contact has also been less than stellar to this point, striking out 30.8% of the time, a 36% increase from 2019. These struggles lead me to believe that his .267 batting average should really be lower than it is, and his .389 BABIP supports this notion. It is the 14th highest BABIP in the league, despite his incredible lack of hard contact.

Generally speaking, the great thing about players with speed is that they are able to produce in fantasy even when they are slumping at the plate, as seen with Adalberto Mondesi, who, despite batting .217 without a homer thus far, is one steal away from being tied for the league lead. However, Robles is not even stealing bases, as he was caught stealing on his only attempt of the season. Unfortunately, the Nationals as a team have just five steals on the year, and even Trea Turner just swiped his first bag of the year on Monday. It seems that being aggressive on the bases is not part of Washington’s plans this season, eliminating one of Robles’ most valuable assets. Having displayed extremely little power, no speed, and a batting average that should seemingly be even lower than it is, there are likely better options for outfielders.

Verdict: Panic


Jose Berrios (SP, Minnesota Twins)

1-3, 5.92 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 24 K, 24.1 IP


Having improved his ERA in every season of his career, Jose Berrios is currently in danger of breaking that streak, as his 5.92 ERA is nowhere near the solid 3.68 mark he posted a season ago. Batters are making hard contact against the 26-year-old 35.6% of the time, a slight uptick from 32% in 2019, while their 12.3% barrel rate against him is nearly twice as high as last year. Berrios’ fastball has seemingly been a major problem, as batters have posted a .414 average and .931 slugging percentage when facing his heater. This is a bit unusual, as his 94.5 mph average fastball velocity is actually 1.4 mph higher than what it was last year. This is likely due to some inconsistency with the pitch, as his four seamer has shown the ability to surpass 97 mph, but he has also thrown the occasional heater than barely touches 90 on the gun.

His fastball aside, Berrios appears to have dealt with a bit of tough luck thus far, as opponents’ .333 BABIP is considerably higher than in any of his past three seasons on the mound. Additionally, while still unspectacular, his 5.00 SIERA and 4.91 xFIP show that he hasn’t pitched quite as poorly as his ERA would show. Berrios’ 11.1% swinging strike rate is a slight improvement from last season, as his 8.88 K/9 is the second best of his career.

Overall, Berrios has pitched much better at home throughout his career, and the majority of his remaining starts should come at Target Field, barring random COVID-19 postponements. Berrios also has the luxury of all of Minnesota’s remaining games minus two series coming against divisional opponents, which consists of four teams in the bottom half of the league in runs per game. Given these circumstances, Berrios is set up as well as anyone for a big bounce back over the second half of this shortened season.

Verdict: Patience


Graphic by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter & IG)

Kyle Frank

Kyle studied finance and sport management at UMass Amherst, and he is a die hard Red Sox fan, despite both of his parents rooting for the Yankees. He can also be found writing about the NBA on Fantrax.

2 responses to “Patience or Panic 8/19: Bryant, Robles, Berrios”

  1. theKraken says:

    Bummer updates but I agree. I would also toss Berrios in the panic club. He hasn’t been terrible but you had to pay through the nose for him like the rest of these guys. I assume panic means trade them if someone will pay. His problems are not his FB. It only looks like that because his CB has been so bad. I wouldn’t spend a fraction of a second grappling with bad pitch classification data as I am sure that has nothing to do with anything. His CB has been bad – it has lacked consistent shape and he hasn’t been able to get much use out of it. They just take the bad CB and pound FB. I can see that the numbers don’t show the CB as being bad, but trust me it has been – it is why the Ks are down. With Berrios the CB sets up everything else and it hasn’t been there there.

  2. Andre3000 Scrubb says:

    Now do Vlad Guerrero cuz I’m in panic! Thx

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