Are We Buying The Hype… Luis Arraez & Francisco Mejia

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As we wait for the 2020 campaign to hopefully get started, there are various players getting some hype as potential breakout options.  Are they names we should be buying?  Is the hype driving up the cost to the point they should be ignored?  Let’s take a look at a few potential “sleepers”:

Luis Arraez – Minnesota Twins

The hype for Arraez stems solely from his ability to make consistent contact.  He hit .334 over 366 PA in the Majors last season, courtesy of a 7.9% strikeout rate and an impressive Whiff% against all types of pitches:

  • Hard – 2.45%
  • Breaking – 4.61%
  • Offspeed – 6.32%

The problem is he’s simply a one-trick pony.  What other skill does the now 23-year old bring to the table?  Over 1,428 PA in the minor leagues he’s amassed 6 HR and 29 SB, so there isn’t much power or speed.  With such a strong ability to make contact, he also doesn’t draw many walks (9.8% walk rate in ’19).

A strong average with little else doesn’t carry much weight, and a .355 BABIP and 34.7% Hard% draws questions there as well.  In other words, don’t buy into the hype.

Verdict – Deny ‘Em

Francisco Mejia – San Diego Padres

Once considered an elite prospect, Mejia hasn’t been able to truly find his footing in the Majors.  Last season he received 244 PA with San Diego, hitting .265 with 8 HR and 22 RBI.  Those are hardly impressive marks, and while he hit .365 in 73 PA at Triple-A that obviously isn’t a sustainable mark.

Mejia has consistently brought a questionable command of the strike zone, highlighted by these marks in the Majors in 2019:

  • SwStr% – 13.3%
  • O-Swing% – 47.9%

It’s hard to be successful with those types of numbers      Just to make matters worse, his 3.3% Barrel/PA put him 255th out of 342 hitters with at least 150 BBE (Batted Ball Events) in 2019.  His 87.8 mph average Exit Velocity and 36,3% Hard% don’t instill much confidence either.

Throw in the presence of Austin Hedges, who is the superior defender, and even the AB aren’t guaranteed.

Verdict – Deny ‘Em

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Baseball Savant, Brooks Baseball

Make sure to check out all of our 2020 prospect rankings:

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PositionLast Updated
Catcher04/13/20
First Baseman--
Second Baseman04/15/20
Shortstop04/17/20
Third Baseman04/20/20
Outfield04/24/20
Pitcher--

1 COMMENT

  1. RP:

    I’d like to offer a slightly different perspective on Arraez……

    IMO, the guy is a a future BA champion, with a history that seems to prove an extraordinary BA capability; he’s a pretty sure bet of a .300+ BA. THAT SAID, clearly, your point is well made: He is not going to contribute meaningfully in HR/SB. HOWEVER, he will contribute in runs and rbis and provide huge support in BA for the hole team. Adjust his bapip reasonably and you still end up with a BA well above league average.

    If you pay/buy him as a “one trick pony”, with a skill as rare as SB’s how is he so much different than Mallex Smith, who routinely gets bid up. In the end, the point is if you construct your team with a below league BA, then Arraez is a GREAT bandaid; he get’s bid up now because BA is truly becoming a rare category. Further, let’s consider one other part to this analysis – the guy is still young and may grow into some level of power. Could you see him delivering a .320 BA 10HR’s and 7 SB’s in a full season with strong R’s/RBI’s? I won’t answer for you, but I know I would say yes…that’s not unreasonable. THAT’s a valuable line.

    To me, Arraez should be valued at or better than Mallex Smith. Their sole skill is equally rare. HOWEVER, I think Arraez delivers in other categories sufficiently that he doesn’t create as big a drag as Mallex Smith AND probably has slightly surer playing time. Smith may very well may become a bench player this year.

    Lastly, I do think Arraez carries some risk. Namely, he’s a sophomore player and the league may adjust or worse find a hole in his swing.

    PS: If it’s not clear, I’m not challenging your primary points, I’m just saying I believe Rotary players rightlfully often see more value than your do.

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