In this week’s 2022 Fantasy Baseball Trends column, we will look at the recent fantasy results from perennial first-round pick Bo Bichette.
After a slow start to the 2022 baseball season, Bo Bichette has almost completely turned his season around. Will it continue and can we count on Bichette producing first-round value for the rest of the season?
There are some interesting trends and shifts in Bichette's approach at the plate that should cause us to feel optimistic about the recent surge for the rest of the 2022 season.
2022 Fantasy Baseball Trends: Bo Bichette Busts Out of His Slump
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Bo Bichette set the fantasy world on fire last season with a breakout campaign. He hit .298/.343/.484 with 29 home runs, 121 runs, 102 RBI, and 25 stolen bases. That massive season at the shortstop position propelled him to the fourth overall draft position in NFC leagues by the time this season started.
It made sense, then, when the calendar turned from April to May in 2022, and fantasy managers in all kinds of league formats were freaking out about Bo Bichette's production.
Bichette's OPS at the end of April was just .535, or the same as Jose Altuve's slugging percentage this season. He had just two home runs and three stolen bases and fantasy managers began to devolve into panic mode. But since then, he has turned things around in each month.
Literally every metric improved from April to May, and has improved again through the first 13 days of June. Bichette is a top-20 rotisserie player over the last 30 days. The only reason he isn't top-10 is because his stolen base numbers are down somewhat (a product of Vlladimir Guerrero, Jr. also mashing the last month).
In points leagues, Bichette is also a top-15 player over the last month.
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Bichette's Batted Balls are Back on Track
It doesn't take too deep of a dive to discover what was causing the disappointing start to Bichette's season. Through the first month of the season, Bichette's groundball rate of 58.8% was the seventh-highest in all of baseball. Only such superstars like Sheldon Neuse, Garrett Cooper, and Joey Wendle were higher.
Similarly, Bichette had a fly ball rate (23.5%) that was the 12th-lowest in baseball. But since that time, he has completely flipped the script on those two numbers.
Over the last six weeks, those numbers have basically flipped. In June, Bichette's fly ball rate has soared up to 42.5% while the groundball rate dropped down to 38.9% this month, a full 20 percentage points lower than it was the first month of the season.
How has Bichette been able to totally transform his luck and his production over these last six weeks? It looks like it was as simple as reverting back to his ultra-patient plate discipline that he had in 2021.
What these graphs are able to show is the stark contrast in how Bichette has been approaching his swings. On the left, we see that his swings on pitches outside of the zone plummeted from a peak around 49% to now just around 36%.
At the same time, Bichette was languishing at around 70% swings on pitches insides the zone but has since bumped that up to between 85%-90%.
You add it all up, and Bichette now has the fifth-highest hard hit percentage in the majors over the last 30 days. We know hard hit balls most highly correlate to hits, so Bichette's production has followed the predictable adjustments he has made at the plate.
Fantasy managers who stayed the course and did not panic or sell low should be able to benefit from that top-of-the-draft production for the rest of the season.
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