Patience or Panic: Daulton Varsho, Carlos Correa, Logan Webb

Fret not, the stars on your squad will be just fine. Probably.


With April nearly in the books and May fast approaching, anxiety levels can rise when our slow starters have yet to right the ship. Of course, it’s important to remember that it is still early. When I find myself emotionally reacting to a month of play, I try to remind myself that Andy LaRoche (yes, Andy) slashed .333/.415/.456 in April for my beloved, ill-fated 2010 Pirates. He finished the season at .206/.268/.287.

While our worries can be soothed by recalling the younger LaRoche’s torrid, never-to-be-repeated 30-day stretch, some notable names have yet to regain their prior forms.


Daulton Varsho, C/OF, Toronto Blue Jays


Once a highly-touted prospect in the Diamondbacks system, Varsho broke out in 2022 after an encouraging rookie campaign in 2021. Fantasy managers were blessed with a blend of speed and power as Varsho posted 27 home runs and 16 stolen bases, adding 79 runs and 74 RBI in his sophomore season. Varsho was subsequently traded to Toronto for Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Gabriel Moreno in one of the splashier off-season moves, where he was instantly inserted into the middle of a very good lineup. The strong team context has yet to prove fully fruitful to those with shares of Varsho, however, as he has managed only one home run with five RBI in 2023.

Varsho’s Statcast profile is a bit alarming at first glance, but I would have told you the same in September of last year. His 2023 average exit velocity of 85.0 MPH is just a slight drop from previous seasons and ranks in only the 14th percentile of hitters. His 88.5 MPH exit velocity on fly balls is right around league average but consistent with his 2022 mark. Varsho has made his hay previously with a high barrel rate, posting a 10.1% mark last season. His 6.4% barrel rate places him in just the 35th percentile this season.

Despite a weak average and power output, there are parts of Varsho’s April to like. His increased walk rate has led to a small increase in on-base percentage and his teammates have driven him in twelve times. He’s also stolen four bases in four attempts, on pace to beat last year’s mark handsomely. The Blue Jays have put Varsho in the three, four, or five-hole in each of his starts, setting him up for success in the RBI department, albeit to little avail.

Verdict: Patience. If Varsho was only an outfielder, I’d advise patience. His catcher eligibility makes it all the easier. The barrels will come, but even if the power output drops to the tune of 18 to 20 home runs, the speed and team context don’t get much better for a catcher.


Carlos Correa, SS, Minnesota Twins


After a whirlwind offseason that saw Correa sign with multiple teams before the deals broke down, the 28-year-old shortstop ended up right where he started. And just like the April climate in Minneapolis, Correa has been uncomfortably cold to start the season.  After a fierce 2022 where he produced a .291 average, 22 home runs, 70 runs, and 64 RBI, Correa has posted a measly .213 average with just two long balls.

Correa has never been a launch-angle guy. His above-average exit velocity and barrel rates are what have allowed him to produce great power numbers for a shortstop. This makes his jump to an average launch angle of 18.5 in 2023 a bit mystifying.

In previous seasons, Correa has hit flyballs at around a 30% clip. That rate has spiked to 36.8% in 2023. More fly balls are a good thing, right? Not exactly. This jump has been accompanied by an infield flyball rate of 12.3% and an under rate of 31.6%, both metrics in the bottom quartile of big-league hitters. As you’d expect, his HR/FB ratio has dropped from 17.5% in 2022 to 9.5% in 2023.

Another significant change in the way Correa is hitting the ball is where he is hitting the ball. Throughout his career, Correa has had great success either pulling the ball or going up the middle a vast majority of the time. This year, he’s pulling the ball well below league average at 34.5% and going to the opposite field at a gaudy 40.0% clip. He’ll need to adjust here to get back on track with his average and power output.

Verdict: Patience. Correa is a professional hitter. The issues here seem obvious and fixable; expect Correa’s slump to break as the Midwest weather does the same.


Logan Webb, SP, San Francisco Giants


Webb enjoyed a breakout 2021 and parlayed it into a strong 2022, posting 15 wins and a 2.90 ERA. However, as Pitcher List’s Estevao Maximo laid out in his pre-season deep dive on Webb’s sinker, his 2022 was not without its blemishes. Lefties crushed his sinker and his K-rate dropped to a pedestrian 20.7%. He was able to lean on his slider to great effect, which makes his 2023 pitch usage all the more confounding.

Through five starts this season, Webb is 1-4 with a 4.40 ERA in 30.2 innings. His sinker usage is up from 33.0% in 2022 to 43.2% at the expense of his slider and changeup and, while his K-rate is back to an elite 29.5%, he’s getting hit. The skyrocketing sinker usage is particularly concerning, as its spin rate has plummeted from 1,867 RPM to 1,596 RPM year-over-year. This continues a troubling trend in which the spin rate on his sinker drops and opponents’ xwOBA against the pitch rises.

Spin Rate vs. xWOBA & Hard Contact Rate

What’s a little strange about the sinker is how frequently it’s taken for a strike. Webb’s 36.0% called-strike rate on the sinker is near the top of the majors and opponent’s 32.5% swing rate on the pitch is near the bottom. The problem is when they do swing, they make contact at a blistering 95.5% rate and hard contact at a 34.1% clip. He almost exclusively throws the pitch early in counts, which helps explain the low swing rate, but when opposing hitters jump on it, they jump on it.

Verdict: Patience. Keep an eye on the pitch mix going forward, but there’s still plenty to like about Webb. The increased strikeouts are certainly a welcome development. He’s also been stung by the variance bug, with a 35% HR/FB ratio and a 2.43 xFIP that signals better days ahead. His walks are down and he still induces ground balls at an elite rate, and his seven strong innings against the Mets last weekend were very encouraging.


Nick Lodolo, SP, Cincinnati Reds


I was going to leave Lodolo out of this edition until he got touched up for a second consecutive start on Monday night. In his last two outings against the Rays and Rangers, he’s thrown a combined 8.2 innings surrendering 14 earned runs and a 2.77 WHIP. Still, he struck out ten between the two appearances and was very solid in his first three outings, so we’ll chalk it up to him running into two offensive buzz saws.

Verdict: Patience. 


Jazz Chisholm Jr., 2B/OF, Miami Marlins


Chisholm’s start to 2023 has been, well, not good. He’s made up for a lack of offensive production partially with seven steals, but it’s been ugly otherwise. Among players with 50 or more plate appearances, only six have struck out more frequently. His 18.0% hard contact rate is abysmal and an xwOBA of .227 hardly calms my fears. He’s also putting the ball on the ground at a 63.3% clip, good for an average launch angle of 1.3 degrees. Not good!

Verdict: Panic. 




Jack Connors

Jack Connors is an avid Pittsburgh sports fan. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf and the guitar, and hanging out with his dog.

One response to “Patience or Panic: Daulton Varsho, Carlos Correa, Logan Webb”

  1. jkula3@gmail.com says:

    Thanks for doing these!

    How about patience or panic on Soto, Ward, Henderson, Donovan, Sale, Maeda?

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