Don't Panic Part 2: Production Is Lumpy

We're just shy of one-fifth of the way through the season. We've seen some mighty impressive performances to date. Christian Yelich - that guy who dinks too many ground balls to be a power hitter - is on pace for over 75 home runs. Cody Bellinger is nipping at his heels. Among qualified hitters, Hunter Dozier has the third-best wRC+ in the league.

On the other side of the coin, Jose Peraza didn't show up for the season. The Yankees entire starting lineup hit the disabled list (the backups were pretty damned good though). Yasiel Puig and Jose Ramirez and Travis Shaw and Jurickson Profar are greatly disappointing. Joey Votto and Ryan Braun look ancient. Let's not even get started on pitchers.

In some cases, we're witnessing true breakouts and collapses. In others, we merely seeing some peaks and valleys. Ramirez performed exactly like this for three weeks last season. Puig has done this before too as have Peraza, Profar, and Votto. It doesn't mean they'll rebound, but we know these players can and have adapted to adversity before.

This is important:

Nearly all of the good players will regress. Even the ones with a noticeable change.

Nearly all of the bad players will regress. Even the ones with a noticeable change.

They will regress towards league average and their personal norms. 

We're also getting to the point where half-patient owners begin to get antsy. A lot of you probably sent out feelers for Ramirez earlier in April. They were likely laughed away. Those same feelers might be taken more seriously. In Ramirez's specific case, I see no reason why he should be valued less than mid-April or even mid-March. So I suppose in one sense, this post is an advisement to inquire about Ramirez. Does he cost the equivalent of a fifth round talent now? Then consider buying.

If you own these players, the depth of your league will decide what you should do now. There's always an opportunity cost to discarding a good, struggling player. Sometimes you come out ahead. Sometimes you simply hand a rival a free core asset a week too early. 

For example, if you have the option to add Eduardo Escobar, you might consider cutting Travis Shaw. The latter projects to outperform the former over the rest of the season, but only by a small margin. It could be worthwhile to lock in some active production right now rather than continuing to ruin your stats with Shaw's struggles.

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