In our continuing series on the Sabermetric analysis that shapes our Player projections in our 2017 Player Projections Software. Today we'll take a look at some of the indicators that are defining our 2017 2nd Basemen projections:
Kipnis, Jason As expected both his RBI count and HR/FB rate increased last season. IN the prime of his career, but don't expect a build up on last year as the HRs were a significant jump and partially attributed to the increase in FB rate. Still one of the top options at 2B. 03/19/2017 Kipnis has inflammation in his right shoulder and is expected to miss four-to-five weeks of action.
Travis, Devon The underlying numbers support the .280+ AVG. Has mid Teens HR potential but doesn't really steal enough bases to warrant an early or mid round selection. 03/14/2017 Travis is recovering from offseason knee surgery and his availability for the start of the 2017 season is uncertain.
Zobrist, Ben Productive offense behind him nettted big gains in both RS and RBI department. Both of which may have been inflated. The HR department was slightly elevated at 13% and will likely drop back down to 10% in 2017. Don't pay for 2016 here. 03/22/2017 Zobrist is coping with stiffness in his neck and his status for the season-opener against the Cardinals is in question.
Drury, Brandon Solid 80% contact rate for a power hitter with above average 1.70 GB|FB rate and 33% hard contact rate provides pop and BA. Lots to be excited about at only 24, despite not having a full time gig going in.
Peraza, Jose The Reds are committed to Peraza in 2017, and he offers upside in AVG and SB categories. He's already making contact at 87% clip, so if he improves BB rate, runs could follow, making him a potential three-category contributor.
Schoop, Jonathan Elite BBS on HRs with 106.3 last season. However Hard Hit rate dropped to only 27%, yet his 21% K rate improved. Did much better against LHP (increase from 313 to 412 SLG). His 15% HR/FB rate has upside if he can increase his Hard Hit rate close to his 35% from 2015.
Pedroia, Dustin 89% contact rate with gap power still makes him as a very productive player at his position. His Hard Hit rate of 32% is about his norm, but the .293 Singles% was about 20 points higher than his norm, so we'll see the BA back off in 2017. Also he's not likely to break 100 RS in 2017.
Castro, Starlin Last year we pointed out his HR/FB rate of only 8% and projected a breakout in the HR category, This year that 15% HR rate is on the high side and we expect a regression of sorts.
Saladino, Tyler He does generate some physical power with his 6-0/190 frame but that hasn't really translated to much game power in the high minors, although he was on a high-teens pace in AAA in 2014 before he gave way to TJS last August. Power is not Tyler's game, and neither is batting average, however he did steal 25+ bases on most of his stops in the minors. He was a Grade C type prospect coming up.
Phillips, Brandon Hard Hit rate rebounded a bit to 27%, but his HR/FB rate dropped to 9%. RS count was a bit inflated, but overall more of the same expected to the aging player.
LeMahieu, DJ Slugs almost 200 points higher at home. Turned it up a notch last season with an amazing .348 batting average! A combination of: 90% contact rate, heavy groundball splits 2.2:1, and a 35% Hard Hit rate were the main contributors. That said the .388 BABIP is not sustainable. We say a big increase in his XBH% (5.7 to 9.2), and could register a nice increase in HRs if he could lift his swing a little more in 2017.
Kinsler, Ian The low in HR/FB rate of just 5% in 2015, expectedly popped back up in 2016. A big reason for that was the increase in Hard Hit rate from 26 to 24. 24% is a high for Kinsler, but we can't expect that to sustain or increase at 35. Unfortunately we can't buy into the 83 RBIs from last season either.
Altuve, Jose Altuve scarified Contact rate (90 to 85) for HRs (15 to 24). Yet there was an increase in Batting average. The other big shift last year was the increase in his hard hit rate that increased from 26% to 34%, this is rarely exhibited. The other oddity was the increase in his BBS from 101.3 to 104, this almost never happens when we see a jump in HRs year over year. Whatever training he's did last offseason worked! As statisticians we are committed to the regression to the mean concept, thus he's going to have to do it again before we can buy into the sustainability.
Lowrie, Jed Heavy Flyball hitter of .8 GB/FB, makes him a legit candidate to hit double digit HR's, but he doesn't have the bat speed to make it a viable pursuit. His 287 Singles Rate was well above norm last season, so we'll likely see his average drop in 2017.
Kendrick, Howie Batting Average, but not much else here for fantasy purposes. Doesn't get on base enough to help RS, and likely slot in lineup isn't conducive to RBIs.
Gordon, Dee Made up for lost time with 30 SB in 37 attempts in just 79 games. Barring injury or suspension, a lock for 50-60 SBs in 2017. Doesn't take a lot of walks though 3%, which hurts him in the RS category.
Dozier, Brian Had an absurd 2nd half with 28 HR/56 RBI ! Finished with a career high 42 HRs, with an unsustainable 18% HR/FB rate. Heavy Flyball hitter with average power as evidenced by his 384 HR distance and 102 BBS. This of course typically leaves his BA at a disadvantage. Keep out for any news of him moving to the top of the lineup, as that will hurt his RBI count considerably. Top option at his position, but don't pay for a repeat of 2016.
Murphy, Daniel Superior Contact rate of 89%, with solid contact (38% Hard Hits). The power production was a quite a surprise, as his HR/FB rate went from 8 to 12% in 2016. On top of his GB/FB rate went from 1.19 to .87. which places him into the flyball hitter category....which makes his .347 BA even more surprising. I don't think that the 38% Hard Hit rate is sustainable as his history suggests a rate closer to 31%. Expect a drop off all around as 2016 appears to be a career year.
Pirela, Jose The 26-year-old has shown good contact and discipline skills in the high minors and even double-digit pop, as well as the ability to get well into the teens in stolen bases. He's basically a "put the ball in play and hope something good happens" type of guy. Of course, none of that has shown up yet in his brief time in the majors however, and Jose doesn't really present much of a ceiling offensively. Worse, he doesn't offer great defense at 2B, or even good defense at SS.
Lawrie, Brett Lawie was injured most of last season so we need to discount his meager 94.6 BBS on his 12 HRs. In 2015, he showed superior speed on his batted balls of 105 BBS on his HRs. Which suggests that he'll once again give it a go at 20+ HRs. TO make up for lost bat speed last season, Lawrie's K rate increased from 24% to 28%, and his GB/FB rate decreased from 1.49 to .90 (more flyballs). Was this all related to the hamstring injury?
Hernandez, Cesar Heavy Groundball rate, with below average contact rate for a non power hitter. This does give him 270-280 ability in the BA department. Does offer up some steals, but will have to do better than 17 for 30 if he's going to get the green light in 2017.
Harrison, Josh Upside is in homeruns as his 3% HR/FB rate should be closer to 7-8%, more of a slap hitter than a HR hitter. Regained lost the speed component last year, but RBI count was a little inflated.
Walker, Neil Singles% was inflated by 30 points last year, and his 16% HR/FB rate is not sustainable and likely a result of the increase in Hard Hits which were at a 5 year high. Increase in Abs if healthy, but production rates will likely drop.
Gyorko, Jedd The 24% HR/FB rate is not sustainable, despite the uptick in his BBS on HRs last year of 104.5 and 35% Hard Hit rate. So while his BA is in the right range, the 23 HRs in the 2nd half is not likely repeatable for Gyorko.
Cano, Robinson Cano reconnected with his previous norms of Hard Hit rates with 36% in 2016, and the results were fabulous. That said it's going to be difficult to sustain a 19% HR/FB rate in 2017, as his 103.5 BBS on HRs and Hard Hit rates do not translate. Still premier at his position, but be cautious not to expect a repeat at 34 YO.
Panik, Joe Solid 90% contact rate with impressive 14% ISO. His overall power is below average (392 Distance and 102 BBS on HRs), but solid 1.06 EYE with a sprinkle of HRs and SB, make him a better real word player than fantasy guy. Will provide BA support though, as his .193 Singles% was understated.
Wong, Kolten Shows decent power and bat speed (103.5 BBS), but didn't hit the ball consistently in the sweet zone in 2016 to elevate his HR/FB%. Consistently posting a sub par 26% Hard Hit rate. BA has some upward as his .231 Singles% was 15 points lower than it should be.
Forsythe, Logan Forsythe is an interesting case of a hitter that came alive late in his career. He's always had above average batted ball speed, but what turned his career around was his ability to recognize pitches better than he had in the past. His contact rate is the same, but his ability to hit the ball harder more often appears to be the difference, as his Hard Hit rate jumped from 31% to 36% last season. This is similar to another increase in Hard Hit rates in 2015. His numbers are sustainable as long as he can continue to square up with the ball.
Odor, Rougned One of the best surprises/breakout seasons for a young star in 2016. Odor clocked 33 HRs and drove in 88 RBIs. His Hard Hit 35% rate showed a lot of potential, as did his BBS on his HRs (104). That said his 17% HR/FB rate is on the high end, but at only 23, there is still upside down the line. I think like many young stars, sometimes there is a step back before moving forward. The step back might be with the HRs, but the RBI count is likely to increase.
Espinosa, Danny Espinosa had a very strong 1st half, only to regress in the 2nd half with 6 of his 24 HRs. Although we saw his HR/FB rate climb to 23% in the 1st half, the drop back to 11% in the 2nd half with a 30% Hard Hit rate is more indicative of his past. Singles % was 15 points lower than norm so some upward revision is expected there, but it's still not good.
Wendle, Joseph Weddle hit 279 in AAA for the athletics in 2016 with a 21% strikeout rate and 17% iso. He'll needs to improve on the 5% walk rate, but the 2.20 GB to FB rate that we saw in limited activity will help his batting average and OBP. He has a low teens HR and SB potential.
Muncy, Max A C- level prospect Muncy doesn't possess the power required to warrant fantasy attention, as he posted ISO's of .115 and .132 in the upper minors. His ability to draw a walk should earn him a bench role.
Turner, Trea Turner is part of the next wave of middle infielders that are redrawing the fantasy landscape. Turner shows impressive power. Last season in his 13 Hrs, he averaged an elite 407 Distance and 105.3 BBS. Additionally his 35% Hard Hit rate demonstrates consistency. The batting average is not likely to be above 290 though, despite the hard hit rate, unless he can cut down on the Ks (18%) or increase the groundball rate beyond his standard 1.3:1 rate. Lots of keeper upside.
Moncada, Yoan Top 100 Prospect: Hitter Rank- 03 Overall Grade- A Current Level- AAA Expected MLB- 2017 Didn't look ready in September, so guess is that he opens in AAA. Moncada struck out 31% of time in AA and struggled making contact during stint with Red Sox. He displayed willingness to walk in MiLB, but could use seasoning to work on pitch recognition skills. The Prospect Central grade A prospect possesses best power/speed combo in minors, but we don't see him justifying higher price in de-drafts just yet.
Schimpf, Ryan Schimpf wasn't on anyone's radar last season as the 28 YO career minor leaguer came up and surprised a lot of folks with his 16 HRs in 216 2nd half Abs. Although the 18% HR/FB rate is on the high end, the 40% Hard Hit rate does say something. He has shown power in the minors in recent seasons, but at age 28, most discount production. Ryan posted the highest flyball rate of .30|1 GB|FB rate, which is one of the highest rates (3 to 1 flyball to groundballs) that you will ever see. When this is combined with his 74% Contact Rate, we're talking about someone that is going to drag you down in the BA department, but OBPers should revel as his 13% BB rate makes him a very viable fantasy producer.
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