Is The A’s Bruce Maxwell A Legitimate Sleeper Entering 2017?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Oakland A’s have Stephen Vogt penciled in as their starting catcher, but the lineup is fluid and it’s easy to envision him seeing a lot of time as the designated hitter.  That’s not a bad thing, as it would open playing time for 26-year old Bruce Maxwell.

Maxwell got his first taste of the Majors in ’16 (101 PA), hitting .283 with 1 HR and 14 RBI.  Those numbers aren’t going to catch your attention, but his line at Triple-A prior to his recall does:

.321 (62-193), 10 HR, 41 RBI, 27 R

Even more impressive was his ability to work the strike zone, with a 17.4% strikeout rate and 11.0% walk rate.  Those are skills that he’s shown throughout his time in the minor leagues, and while the strikeout rate did jump in the Majors (23.8%) the underlying numbers don’t give reason for concern.  Just look at the Whiff% by pitch type:

  • Hard – 11.70%
  • Breaking – 10.00%
  • Offspeed – 10.71%

It was a small sample size, but it’s promising all the same.  Maxwell wasn’t a highly touted prospect entering the season, and it’s easy to write off his Triple-A success since it came in the Pacific Coast League and he benefited from a .354 BABIP.  They are fair concerns, as is the fact that his power likely won’t translate to Oakland.

He’s going to be calling a big ballpark home, and there is a red flag in his fly ball rates.  Look at his GO/AO rates from the past few seasons:

  • 2015 (Double-A) – 1.74
  • 2016 (Triple-A) – 2.13
  • 2016 (Majors) – 1.50

The Major League mark yielded a 52.2% groundball rate, to put things in perspective.  Considering the ballpark, just how many home runs is he really going to be able to add ?

A career .266 hitter in the minors, that’s not a given as well.  While he could be a decent source of average, especially from a catcher, thanks to his strong batting eye, there’s concern in regards to his power and playing time.  As a deep sleeper for those in two-catcher formats?  He’s worth stashing in that type of scenario.  In other formats, though, he’s a hands off player simply to monitor off the waiver wire and little else.

Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, Baseball Reference

*** Order Rotoprofessor’s 2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for Just $7.00 By Clicking Here!!   Not only will you get all the help you need to dominate your fantasy draft, but you will also be entered to win a Noah Syndergaard autographed baseball, complete with “Thor” inscription! ***

Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings:

Position
Standard League
OBP League
Catcher03/20/1702/28/17
First Base01/16/1703/07/17
Second Base03/22/1703/09/17
Third Base02/06/1703/12/17
Shortstop02/13/1703/15/17
Outfield#1-20 |03/16/17

#21-40 |03/16/17
03/19/17
Starting Pitcher#1-20 |02/27/17

#21-40 |03/02/17
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Relief Pitcher01/02/17--

2 comments

  1. bbboston says:

    All,

    Just started to review the Rotoprofessor’s Draft Guide; again, best $7 one can spend to prep. Highly recommend it.

    Rotoprofessor;
    Didn’t see Joe Musgrave on SP list – fyi. Knee-jerk reaction: Where would you rank him, if at all?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      First of all thanks for the kind words in terms of the Draft Guide. It’s very much appreciated!

      As for Musgrove, I’m a big fan if he gets the starts/innings. The problem is I’m not sure I see them, given the presence of Charlie Morton and the potential that they trade for another starter. If he’s taking the ball every five days I’d say he’s a Top 50/60 option. That said, he may not get more than 90 innings in the Majors

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