In our continuing series on the Sabermetric Indicators that shape our player projections in our 2018 Draft Advisory Program. Today we'll take a look at some of the indicators that are defining our 2018 Outfielder projections:
OF Brinson, Lewis All of this emphasis on contact and plate coverage pushed his search for game power to a side burner for a while with the Brewers you can see a slip in K rate and his SwStr% has risen too, from 9.6% in AA in 2015, to 10.5% in 2016 in AA to 12.1% in 89 AAA ABs last year. Still, he's hitting which might indicate that Lewis is trading some contact for power (getting more comfortable and therefore more aggressive in his swing), or in other words, beginning the process of turning physical power into game power. Promising. Lewis is a good prospect with a significant power/speed ceiling, in fact it's not hard to see a Cutch comp here. But again, that's a ceiling. Lewis is ready to make in impact at the MLB level, all he needs is an opportunity. That's going to come sooner or later. I think Lewis will be a contributor sometime this summer and he has the potential to develop into a top-40 player. But there is some road to go. The good news is that the trade to Miami, opens up playing time for him as early as opening day. Prospect Grade: A- Lou Blasi / Fantistics Projection: .252 BA | 67 RS| 19 HR | 64 RBI | 16 SB Current 31st Round ADP
OF Santana, Domingo As expected Domingo Santana, broke out last season with a 30HR/85RBI/84RS season. He's a traditional power prospect with hard contact rates that boarder on elite status (40%), but did get lucky on his HR totals with a 31% HR/FB rate. This is exemplified by his 395 average distance and 102.3 BBS on his HRs. In other words, many of his "misses" went for HRs too. So although he's still to enter his prime years, it's going to be difficult for him to increase that HR total from last year unless he starts taking more of an upper cut. His current 1.62 GB/FB rate does put as many balls into the air as traditional HR hitters.
OF Mancini, Trey BA is not sustainable as he was lucky to post a 300 Singles% / 352 BABIP...this despite the solid 34% Hard Hit rate. That said the power was impressive (24 HRs/20% ISO), but the 20% HR/FB rate was inflated, he should settle in around 17-18%. Showed improvement in outside zone swing rate from 49% to 35%, but will need to continue that progression to move to next level. Former B graded prospect.
OF Pederson, Joc A big collision and resulting concussion derailed his 2017 season. Continues to show improvement in his contact rate (78%), which along with a 11% walk rate makes him serviceable to play everyday. However he's still deficient against LHP (306 slug), which makes the addition of Matt Kemp troubling as a full time player. Look for upward improvement in his hard contact rate, which fell last season from 39 to 33%. At only 26, there is plenty of hope, potential to post a 30/90 season at some point in the next few years.
OF Brantley, Michael Another injury marred 2017 campaign, will come cheaply in 2018. Maintained an above average Hard Hit rate of 33%, and a slightly above average 103.1 BBS on his HRs. That said he reverted back to a higher 1.73 GB/FB rate, which affects his power production.
OF Calhoun, Kole As expected Calhoun's Hard Hit rate stabilized last season at 32%, as did his HR/FB of 12%. His RBI and RS rate was consistent with his production, but his batting average appears to be discounted at only .244. Expect some upward regression there.
OF Pence, Hunter Bat speed continues to slow down each season, for the soon to be 35YO Pence. His HR/FB rate has dipped to 11%, so there is some upside there. Overall there's not much left for us in the fantasy universe, especially in his spacious ballpark.
OF Cespedes, Yoenis Became much more of a flyball hitter in 2017, with his GB/FB rate jumping from .90 to .70 GB/FB, but his decent contact rate for a power hitter of 81% and a 42% hard hit rate, led directly to a .316 BABIP and sustainable .292 batting average. What was surprising however was the drop in his HR/FB rate to only 15%. That will likely all change with full health and a full season of ABs.
OF Braun, Ryan As expected his HR/FB rate took a big drop to 17% from 29%, and his RBI count was significantly muted at only 52 in 380 Abs. Although some of the distance on his HRs (399) dropped, as did his BBS (103), He's still posting superior Hard Hit rates (39). Look for a bounce back into the mid 20s with the HRs and mid 90s in RBIs is very reasonable for the aging star.
OF Bradley Jr., Jackie As expected, we saw some regression from Bradley in 2017, as his 18% HR/FB rate was not sustainable. His 15% rate posted last season does correlate with his BBS and Hard hit frequency. There is some upside in his .245 BA of a season ago, as his .294 BABIP should be closer to .310.
OF Gomez, Carlos Bounced back nicely last season, but his 17% HR/FB rate may not be sustainable if he lands in unfriendly ballpark. Still struggles verses LHP, which leaves him at risk for platoon PT. Still young enough to post comeback season.
OF Buxton, Byron Buxton's production is finally starting to show signs of promise. In the 2nd half with 11 HRs/35 RBI/13 SBs/.300 BA in only 207 Abs. The batting average is not sustainable, as Buxton's flyball tilt along with his 30% K% and average 30% Hard Hit rate make that very unlikely. However the power is encouraging. His 105 BBS and 401 distance on his HRs could support a 15-16% HR/FB rate. Buxton was 29 for 30 in SBs last season which raises the spectra of him moving up another tier with more opportunities. Lots to like at only 24 YO.
OF Schebler, Scott Came around against LHP increasing his SLG against from .341 to .493, and kicked up his Hard Hit rate to a very impressive 39% with a solid 407 distance on his HRs and 105 BBS. That said his 22% HR/FB rate is likely to decline, but his RBI count appears to be shorted last season. His BA of .233 is on the low end as his .182 Singles% was unlucky.
OF Choo, Shin-Soo Choo bounced back from an injury laden season of 2016, and posted a 22HR/78RBI/96RS stat line. The 20% HR/FB rate was a bit inflated, as was the RS%, so expect some regression there.
OF Trout, Mike Clearly the best Fantasy Baseball Player in baseball. Has yet to disappoint his fantasy owners since he came into the league as evidenced by his 35HR/93 RBI/109 RS/20 SB/.302 BA stat line over the last 4 years. Even with an injury last season, which cut a quarter of his season, it didn't stop him from him from hitting 33 HRs. Then of course there is the 105 BBS on his HRs, and the superior 38-42% Hard Hit rates, and the elite 30% ISO. His RBI count would be 130+ if he batted in the middle of the order, but in the 2nd slot his owners will need to be content with the 100+ RS every season. Even though he lost 2 months of the season sliding head first (damaged thumb), Mike went back to stealing bases when he returned. Since he's a head first slider, the question is whether the Angels will lean on the side of caution in sending him as frequently in 2018. If he stays healthy, he's a lock for mid 20s in SBs, can we possibly see 40 from him is the question?
OF Benintendi, Andrew Continues to improve. Last season he increased his EYE from .40 to .63. Posted an above average 24% Hard Hit rate with a 400 distance and 105 BBS on his HRs. Improving verses LHP (286 SLG), and that is the last hurdle before he starts to dominate...Look for him to easily exceed the 11% HR/FB rate from a season ago. At only 23, the future is very bright here.
OF Heyward, Jason Continues to make subpar contact with only a 26% Hard Hit Rate. ISO kicked up a notch last season to 13%, but he continues to underwhelm. HR/FB rate did kick up slightly last season to 9%, but that's still a lot less than his potential. Consider that he had a 18% infield popup rate last season, his worse ever. If he could get half of those into line drives he could post a huge season....but that's a big if.
OF Tomas, Yasmany Core muscle injury ended his 2017 campaign prematurely. Continued to hit the ball very hard before he went down, matching his 42% hard hit rate from 2016. That's a great sign, but its going to be a difficult rate to maintain. 70% contact rate and middle of the road 1.45 GB/FB rate does leave BA exposed, but elite hard hit rate mitigates that. He's going to have to prove himself healthy this spring to win the starting job, and if he is, he's going to be had at a discount, despite the humidor effect that will be in place this season at Chase.
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