by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There is no question that Eduardo Nunez was enjoying a breakout season as a member of the Minnesota Twins, leading to being dealt to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for prospect Adalberto Mejia. San Francisco looked to Nunez to fill their vacancy at third base, which was there due to an injury to Matt Duffy (who was later traded to Tampa Bay). He’ll once again be asked to man the spot full-time, at least at the beginning of the season, but can he thrive in the role?
First off, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that things fell off after the deal. Just look at the numbers:
Everything pretty much regressed, including his average and power. At the same time, could anyone have really expected those types of marks?
Sure he had never had more than 309 AB in a Major League season, but he also had never hit more than 5 HR nor did he flash a significant amount of potential. His HR/FB has been rising in recent seasons (8.5%, 9.5% and 10.2%), though he simply doesn’t put the ball in the air much (33.2% for his career) and now calls a less than favorable ballpark home. It’s fair to think that 10 HR may be his ceiling, and even that isn’t a guarantee.
As for the average, a look at his line drive rate gives us reason to think his post-trade average is far more believable:
- Twins – 16.1%
- Giants – 17.6%
He owns a career 17.7% mark, and while he has always maintained a solid strikeout rate (13.6%) that doesn’t mean he holds a strong approach. Over the course of his career he has posted a 34.2% O-Swing% and it ballooned to 37.3% last season. Seeing him get back to his Minnesota mark is a stretch, with the San Francisco average a much more believable (and less palatable) mark.
A regression in power… A regression in average… Can he maintain his speed?
That’s something he’s shown in the past (22 SB in 309 AB back in ’11), though last year’s mark may be a bit inflated as well. He spent a lot of time hitting atop the lineup last season (339 AB), and that likely led to opportunities. If he hits second for San Francisco, behind Denard Span, those chances simply won’t be as prevalent (and the RBI/R opportunities will be capped as well).
Sure there is appeal thanks to his multi-position eligibility (3B/SS), but that’s not enough. Speed is hard to find, so there will be value, but he’s not going to be nearly as good as he was in ’16. Be careful not to overspend on draft day.
Sources – Fangraphs, CBS Sports
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|Starting Pitcher||#1-20 |02/27/17|