Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Is Chris Owings Worth Targeting Or Is He Destined To Disappoint?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Chris Owings has long been a player that fantasy owners have had their eyes on, as he’s brought the allure of a 15/20 option.  He was on his way to finally backing up the hype in ’17, before a fractured finger ended his season on July 30.  For those who owned him it was a disappointment, considering these numbers:

362 At Bats
.268 Batting Average (97 Hits)
12 Home Runs
51 RBI
41 Runs
12 Stolen Bases
.299 On Base Percentage
.442 Slugging Percentage
.318 Batting Average on Balls in Play

At the same time, for those looking to target him in 2018 the potential is there to find value.  If he had amassed 500+ AB and posted a 20/20 season he’d be a hot commodity, but now there’s at least a chance that he falls on the radar.  So that leads to the question of, can he maintain this pace over a full season?  How about improve upon it?

He’s always flashed a bit of speed and while the power pace is a jump, is anyone going to do a doubletake based on a 12.2% HR/FB?  Especially for a player who calls Arizona home…  In fact that’s where the questions start, as there’s a distinctive split in his production:

  • Home – .315 with 8 HR, 37 RBI, 29 R and 10 SB
  • Road – .219 with 4 HR, 14 RBI, 12 R and 2 SB

There are two differences in the production, his HR/FB (18.2% vs. 7.4%) and his BABIP (.370 vs. .265).  You could easily argue that he’s better than that road mark, but he also doesn’t have the ability to maintain his mark at home.  His overall .318 BABIP mark was fair, but it’s easy to imagine it falling with a little less luck at home.

That puts further risk in his average, as he displayed poor plate discipline last season:

  • SwStr% – 11.9%
  • O-Swing% – 40.4%

He struggled mightily against both breaking balls (20.48% Whiff%) and offspeed pitches (22.77%), so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he began seeing fewer and fewer fastballs.  In July he saw just 49.36% fastballs, and he hit .169.  That’s a red flag we can’t ignore, and could be a sign of things to come.

Do we want to buy into the power and speed?  Absolutely, but there’s risk that the average plummets from an already pedestrian mark.  If that were to happen the power and speed would be capped as well, and that leads to a disappointing season.

Let someone else pay for the potential, as the risk is just too great.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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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

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