Archive for Player Analysis

2018 Projection: Has Whit Merrifield Truly Emerged As One Of The Elite Second Baseman?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Royals’ Whit Merrifield was one of the best waiver wire finds of 2017.  While he showed signs of emerging the year before, it looked like it was more sizzle than substance considering he had just 2 HR and 8 SB over 332 PA.  That all changed last season, as he transformed into an impressive five-category producer:

587 At Bats
.288 Batting Average (169 Hits)
19 Home Runs
78 RBI
80 Runs
34 Stolen Bases
.324 On Base Percentage
.460 Slugging Percentage
.308 Batting Average on Balls in Play

He’s always shown the ability to steal bases, with 32 SB in 2015 and 28 SB in 2016 (with 20 SB over 274 AB at Triple-A).  So the true development came in the form of his power.  Is it sustainable?  Can he continue to hit .280+? Read more

Under-the-Radar Target: Why Jorge Polanco Is Worthy Of Your Attention

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While he doesn’t get much attention, the Twins’ Jorge Polanco posted a solid season in ’17 across the board.  Whether or not he can maintain it, or even expand on it, is the question as we look ahead towards 2018.  First, let’s look at the numbers:

488 At Bats
.256 Batting Average (125 Hits)
13 Home Runs
74 RBI
60 Runs
13 Stolen Bases
.313 On Base Percentage
.410 Slugging Percentage
.278 Batting Average on Balls in Play

While the average wasn’t strong, his approach at the plate was.  He made consistent contact (5.8% SwStr%) and didn’t stray outside the zone very often (26.9% O-Swing%).  You would think that would bring better results, though overall he simply didn’t hit the ball very hard (19.3% line drive rate).  Things changed as the season progressed, though, and it could give a glimpse of the future: Read more

Chris Iannetta Returns To Colorado, Though Don’t Get Excited By It…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Coming off what could be considered a career year, Chris Iannetta returns to Colorado (where he played the first six years of his career).  It’s going to be easy to get somewhat excited, considering the park he’ll come home, but let’s not forget that he put these numbers up playing half his games in Arizona:

272 At Bats
.254 Batting Average (69 Hits)
17 Home Runs
43 RBI
38 Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.354 On Base Percentage
.511 Slugging Percentage
.308 Batting Average on Balls in Play

It’s easy to get excited about the power number, but just how “real” is it?  That’s the key determination, because a regression there will bring the average back into the realm of unusable (he’s a career .231 hitter) considering his continued inability to make contact (11.3% SwStr%, 27.5% strikeout rate).

All we really need to see is his 21.5% HR/FB, compared to a 12.9% career mark, to reach the conclusion that it’s unsustainable overall.  That said, there is an opportunity to try and exploit against southpaws pitching in Coors Field.  Just look at this split from last season:

  • LHP – .303/.404/.563
  • RHP – .234/.333/.490

There isn’t much disparity in the slugging, but don’t let that cloud the issue.  He owns a career .380 SLG against RHP (.472 against LHP) courtesy of an 11.7% HR/FB.  In other words he’s a platoon player, most likely, the question is who the Rockies ultimately pair him with.  That’s been the case for a long time, as he hasn’t topped 375 PA over the past four seasons (and he’s had over 400 PA twice over the course of his career).

Then you throw in the ballpark, which has the perception of being more favorable but wasn’t in 2017:

  • Chase Field – 2.65 HR/game
  • Coors Field – 2.57 HR/game

Pigeon-holed as a platoon player who will likely regress (even against southpaws), getting excited about the new locale and his ’17 production would be misguided.  He’s a spot play, at best, and is almost certain to regress.  Even in two-catcher formats, there are better gambles to take.

Sources – Fangraphs, ESPN

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections:

Player
Date Published
Cano, Robinson10/09/17
Castillo, Luis10/03/17
Gerrit Cole10/30/17
Didi Gregorius11/20/17
Wil Myers10/24/17
Quintana, Jose11/13/17
Sanchez, Aaron12/05/17
Schoop, Jonathan11/27/17
Stroman, Marcus10/16/17
Walker, Taijuan 11/06/17

Now In Chicago, Is Tyler Chatwood A 2018 Breakout Candidate?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was a day of surprising moves in the Majors, and the first came with Tyler Chatwood signing with the Cubs.  Maybe where he landed wasn’t shocking, but the contract he was given was.  At first blush everyone is going to do a double take when the owner of a career 4.31 ERA and 1.49 WHIP signs a three-year, $38 million contract.  We’re not about to justify the contract, but we will say that there is at least some upside as the need for pitching grows around the game.

Still just 28-years old, Chatwood has thrived away from Coors Field over the past two years:

  • 2016 – 1.69 ERA over 80.0 IP
  • 2017 – 3.49 ERA over 77.1 IP

No one is going to buy into his 2016 mark, especially since the underlying skills bring their own questions.  While Chatwood has consistently proven to be a groundball machine (58.1% in ’17), the strikeouts (7.31 K/9) and control (4.69 BB/9) leave a bit to be desired. Read more

Draft Day Decision: Is Trea Turner Worthy Of A 1st Round Pick In 2018?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Entering 2017 there was a lot of hype surrounding the Nationals’ Trea Turner, with many viewing him as a late first round selection despite having only 347 AB in the Majors.  A year later it’s interesting that we are almost in the same situation, as injuries limited him to 98 games.  Sure we have basically a full season of data (759 AB), but it’s spread over three seasons so it’s hard to draw decisive conclusions.

That said 412 AB in 2017 isn’t a small sample size, so let’s take a look at the numbers:

412 At Bats
.284 Batting Average (117 Hits)
11 Home Runs
45 RBI
75 Runs
46 Stolen Bases
.338 On Base Percentage
.451 Slugging Percentage
.329 Batting Average on Balls in Play

They are impressive, especially when you extrapolate them out.  The question is, are they first round worthy?  Let’s take a look: Read more

Newly Minted Starters: Will Miles Mikolas or Mike Minor Bring Value In 2018 & Beyond?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Over the past few days we’ve seen a few intriguing, “low-end” pitching signings that could create potential value for fantasy owners.  Will Miles Mikolas return from Japan and deliver?  Can Mike Minor transition back to the rotation for Texas?  Let’s take a look and see if either are worth owning for 2018 and beyond:

 

Miles Mikolas – St. Louis Cardinals
While Mikolas failed in the Majors (5.32 ERA, 1.42 WHIP over 91.1 IP), he showed significantly better stuff coming up through the minors (7.6 K/9, 1.8 BB/9).  That led to him getting an opportunity in Japan, where he’s thrived over the past three years:

424.2 IP
2.18 ERA
0.99 WHIP
8.0 K/9 (378 K)
1.5 BB/9 (69 BB) Read more