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Second Half Scaries: Bryce Elder Leads My List Of Players That Will REGRESS After The All-Star Break

There's a reason why it's so hard to maintain a "career best" season. Regression is often right around the corner. And before I go any further, when I say these guys are "due to regress," I'm not saying that they're due to fall off the face of the earth. These three players put up elite numbers in the first half of the season. But this is a big reason why batted ball and pitch data are often your friend. A baseball savant page can often indicate whether or not a player is going to maintain a torrid pace. Here are three players who will not be able to replicate what they did in the first half.

Bryce Elder, Starting Pitcher, Atlanta Braves

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Bryce Elder is a huge reason why the Braves have been as dominant as they have this season. With Max Fried being on the injured list, Elder was asked to step up, and that's exactly what he's done, posting a 2.97 ERA in eighteen starts this season, making his first All-Star team in the process. The guy battles when he's on the mound, but there isn't a single metric that indicates that he'll be able to keep this up. His FIP is over a run higher than his ERA, and his pitch data is abysmal. He's not really elite in any category except Barrel percentage.

I don't want to bore people breaking down every metric on Baseball Savant and explain why it's a good indicator of regression. I'll just put it simply- Bryce Elder does not miss enough bats to sustain this pace. His 6.8 K/9 just won't cut it come playoff time. He's more than done his job this season, and assuming Max Fried comes back healthy, Bryce Elder being a Game Four starter in a postseason series is very appealing. He's still good, but he's not a top-of-the-rotation guy.

Geraldo Perdomo, Infielder, Arizona Diamondbacks

I'm cheating a little bit with this pick because Perdomo's regression has already begun. His OPS over the last eight games of the first half was .303. The Diamondbacks have had a surprising first half, and Perdomo's out-of-nowhere ascension has helped put them at the top of the NL West standings. Perdomo may have been the worst offensive player in the sport last year, putting up a 58 OPS+ in 148 games. He's flipped the switch this season, but is it sustainable? I think not. Perdomo has developed an excellent feel for the strike zone. Even if he's not getting hits, he's working counts and putting together good at-bats. He does everything right except hit the ball hard. He's in the 1st percentile in average exit velocity, the 10th percentile in max exit velocity, and the 5th percentile in xBA. His walk rate has gone up significantly over the last year, so I don't see Perdomo reverting to being the offensive liability he was in 2022, but he won't be able to sustain his All-Star numbers.

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Luis Arraez, Second Baseman, Miami Marlins

Alright, put down the torches and pitchforks here for a second, Marlins fans. I want to avoid a repeat of my movie theatre blog. Listen, Luiz Arraez is amazing. He will run away with his second consecutive batting title and surely garner MVP consideration in 2023. When he has a bat in his hand, he possesses a magic wand that so many Major League players wish to possess. But I would be stunned if he maintains a  .383 pace in the second half of the season. Arraez does not strike out, which will always make him dangerous. When he puts the ball in play, it often finds a spot. That will continue, but I don't see him repeating his first-half success. As amazing as he is, he still does not hit the ball hard at all. He is the master of BABIP (Batting Average On Balls Hit In Play), but I don't care if a guy hits .500; players incapable of consistently barrelling up pitches will start regressing at some point. We've already seen it. Arraez has hit .324 over his last eighteen games with a .780 OPS. That's are numbers that most hitters would kill to have, but it's also indicative of the caliber of player that Arraez is. His OPS on the season is .905, almost 100 points above his career average. He has three home runs all year. Is he a wonderful, pure hitter? Absolutely. Will he sniff .400? The data indicates that it will not.