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Quick Look: Three Stars on the Rise

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Oakland is getting some key contributors back, sort of.

MLB: New York Yankees at Oakland Athletics Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

What strange week it has been. First, a strong series victory over the Houston Astros followed by an even more impressive statement in the form of a sweep of the New York Yankees. Two losses to the cross-bay rival San Francisco Giants, which we won’t discuss, prefaced Oakland’s largest offensive showing of the year against Kansas City. But these impressive wins aren’t the best thing about the past several days.

It seems like the A’s may be getting the pieces put back together after some awful summer slumps. Khris Davs, Jurickson Profar, and Stephen Piscotty, if not for his ill-timed injury, have all gotten on a bit of a roll lately.

Three Up

I’m not ready to declare Khris Davis back just yet, but after swatting a pair of home runs in the past 5 days, including a 3-hit showing last night he is trending up, even if only slightly. One important aspect of Davis’ game is on the rise, however: lifting the ball.

Khris Davis’ 15-game rolling average.
Fangraphs.com

Davis’ Monthly Batted-Ball Splits

Season Monthly LD% GB% FB% HR/FB Hard%
Season Monthly LD% GB% FB% HR/FB Hard%
2019 Mar/Apr 19.0 % 33.3 % 47.6 % 25.0 % 40.5 %
2019 May 19.4 % 54.8 % 25.8 % 25.0 % 48.4 %
2019 Jun 28.1 % 40.6 % 31.3 % 20.0 % 53.1 %
2019 Jul 22.2 % 47.6 % 30.2 % 5.3 % 44.4 %
2019 Aug 13.5 % 45.9 % 40.5 % 13.3 % 46.0 %
Fangraphs.com

Notice the large jump in flyball rate from July to August. Davis also seems to still be hitting the ball hard. With that ability intact and hopefully a continued increase in fly balls Davis’ power may be returning when it is most needed.

Piscotty, on the other hand, got hurt at exactly the wrong time. He was recovering from a different injury and tearing the cover off the ball, similarly to his resurgence in 2018. Last year Piscotty slumped in May only to come out swinging. This year his slump occurred in June and he returned in the same forceful manner. Unfortunately this recent injury cut him down once again.

Piscotty’s Post-Slump Splits

Date PA AVG OBP SLG ISO wOBA wRC+
Date PA AVG OBP SLG ISO wOBA wRC+
2018 post-May 416 0.286 0.351 0.556 0.270 0.384 147
2019 post-June 59 0.304 0.344 0.554 0.25 0.37 134
Fangraphs.com

Surprisingly Profar has been the team’s hottest hitter this past week. Over the past 7 days his team leading 306 wRC+ is fueled by a .455 batting average and 6 walks in 17 trips to the plate. His 3 doubles are tied with Semien for the team lead and his 8 runs are best among all A’s. He has also chipped in a home run and struck out just twice. Overall August has been Profar’s best month of the season.

Profar’s 2019 Monthly Splits

Season Monthly BB% K% OPS ISO BABIP wRC+
Season Monthly BB% K% OPS ISO BABIP wRC+
2019 Mar/Apr 6.3 % 14.3 % 0.495 0.107 0.174 30
2019 May 6.7 % 14.3 % 0.737 0.221 0.203 92
2019 Jun 6.5 % 19.4 % 0.753 0.163 0.318 98
2019 Jul 7.5 % 13.2 % 0.722 0.271 0.135 87
2019 Aug 17.3 % 13.5 % 0.822 0.262 0.206 117
Fangraphs.com

Conclusion

If not for Piscotty’s injury, these three add even more depth to Oakland’s formidable lineup. Profar and Davis should continue to see opportunities to contribute. And although it’s never good for a key contributor to fall by the wayside, Piscotty’s injury opens the door for one of minor league baseball’s best performers in Seth Brown.

With the season winding down but the pennant race ramping up receiving improved play from anywhere they can get it will be crucial if the A’s are to secure a second consecutive postseason berth.