We’ve all heard the hype surrounding Yoan Moncada, though the results on the field had never quite matched it. That all changed in 2019, when you can argue that he not only lived up to expectations but surpassed them as he delivered a monster campaign:
511 At Bats
.315 Batting Average (161 Hits)
25 Home Runs
10 Stolen Bases
.367 On Base Percentage
.548 Slugging Percentage
.406 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Now fantasy owners face the tough decision on figuring out how to value him. It would appear that he’s one of the elite players and should rank among the Top 10 at a deep third base spot. However there’s one significant red flag and that’s in his average. There are a few key metrics that can’t be ignored:
- BABIP – .406
- SwStr% – 13.9%
- O-Swing% – 32.7%
Regardless of his speed and how hard he hits the ball (39.9% Hard%), maintaining a BABIP anything close to that level is unrealistic. That alone looms large, but he also regressed in his approach overall yet improved his strikeout rate (33.4% in ’18 to 27.5% in ’19). That doesn’t make much sense, especially as he started to see fewer hard pitches and struggled to make contact against other types of pitches (Whiff%):
- Hard – 9.76%
- Breaking – 23.71%
- Offspeed – 16.24%
An increased strikeout rate coupled with the drop in luck could lead to an average much closer to .260 as opposed to .300+. Even if he were to maintain the power and speed, a .260/25/10 third baseman has value but is he one of the elite?
Everything comes together for the following projection for 2020:
.262 (144-550), 27 HR, 80 RBI, 85 R, 12 SB, .338 BABIP, .331 OBP, .489 SLG
Just compare that to someone like Yulieski Gurriel, who also enters the year with 3B eligibility, who hit .298 with 31 HR and 98 RBI last year. Who would you rather have, if Gurriel is expected to put up numbers close to .290/30 again? We wouldn’t argue with someone who said they preferred Moncada’s upside, but for one year it’s not such an obvious decision.
Could he post a little bit better of a BABIP, leading to a better average? It’s possible, but considering the depth at the position (Gurriel has an average ADP of 127.37, compared to 66.08 for Moncada) it isn’t worth the gamble.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out all of our 2020 preseason rankings: