by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Jonathan Villar has been a tremendous fantasy asset thus far and there is every reason to think that he’s going to continue to be moving forward. I am not about to suggest that he isn’t a better pick than Ketel Marte over the second half, because he clearly is. What I’m suggesting is that he might not be that much better, so selling high on Villar and scooping up Marte could make your season. Let’s take a look:
First Half Stats – .298, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 44 R, 31 SB
Villar has always shown an ability to kick in a few home runs, and it’s going to add to his appeal, but expecting more than 2 or 3 over the remainder of the season would be a mistake. He puts the ball on the ground (57.8%) and uses his speed, which is exactly what you’d want him to do, but it works against big power numbers.
That speed allows him to carry an elevated BABIP, but there’s little chance that he can maintain a .410 mark. He also strikes out a bit too much, currently at 26.8%, though he has improved his SwStr% (9.9%) and O-Swing% (23.5%). A little growth there would help, but it’s far more likely that he hits .250ish in the second half as opposed to .290+.
That potential drop is obviously an issue, because the less he’s on base the fewer opportunities to run he’s going to have. As it is his 31 SB is buoyed by 14 in May. We can’t expect him to replicate that, meaning he’s far more likely to average around 7 per month (he had 5 in April and 7 in June), especially with the expected average drop.
That yields more in the 15-19 SB territory the remainder of the season. That’s going to be among the league leaders, but it’s something to keep in mind. He also should continue scoring runs, even for a rebuilding team, as he hits atop the order so that shouldn’t be a concern.
First Half Numbers – .272, 1 HR, 19 RBI, 36 R, 8 SB
While he’s been a bit of a disappointment thus far, the numbers actually aren’t atrocious. He’s hitting the ball hard (23.9% line drive rate), hasn’t been lucky (.320 BABIP) and makes consistent contact (16.3% strikeout rate courtesy of an 8.0% SwStr%). In other words he should at least maintain his average, if not improve upon it.
He doesn’t have much power, though he should chip in 1-2 in the second half (putting him right on par with the Villar expectation). He’s not going to score as many runs, since he’s not a full-time leadoff hitter, but he does hit there about half the time and could chip in 30.
The big difference is in his stolen bases, though. Obviously Marte isn’t going to swipe 15+…. Though could he? He had 28 SB between Triple-A and the Majors last season. He has 16 SB in 495 AB in the Majors. We know there’s speed, it’s just a matter of getting the opportunity to utilize it.
Is reaching 10-12 SB so far-fetched? If that’s a fair base, one big week and suddenly you are at 15.
Again, Villar is the better option. He’s guaranteed to help buoy your SB totals and also is going to score more runs. That said, it also gives him significant trade value. If you aren’t desperate for SB, moving him to plug another hole then scooping Marte up off the waiver wire would be a home run. It’s surprising, but at the end of the day their second half outlook isn’t much different.
Source – Fangraphs
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