by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
You knew the Cleveland Indians would add someone following the departure of Carlos Santana, and ultimately it was Yonder Alonso who was brought in to fill the void. Clearly he’s coming off a career year, splitting time between Seattle and Oakland, but the question is going to be if there is any hope of him replicating these types of numbers:
451 At Bats
.266 Batting Average (120 Hits)
28 Home Runs
2 Stolen Bases
.365 On Base Percentage
.501 Slugging Percentage
.302 Batting Average on Balls in Play
The home run total is obviously the biggest question, having never hit more than 9 HR in a season previously. There was a distinct change in his approach, with a career fly ball rate of 34.3% ballooning to 43.2%. That alone would’ve led to a little spike, but he coupled it with a 19.4% HR/FB (9.2% for his career). Are either of the new marks truly believable?
There was a drop-off in power as the season progressed, further causing a red flag:
- First Half – 20 HR
- Second Half – 8 HR
While the HR/FB didn’t suffer a huge falloff (21.7% to 15.4%), it was his fly ball rate that really suffered (48.7% to 36.1%). Given his career mark, which one do you think is closer to the truth? That would put him on pace for around 17-19 HR over the course of an entire season, which is hardly a number that’s going to blow you away from a first baseman.
Now throw in that he’s generally going to sit against left-handed pitchers (.181/.263/.417 against them last season) and the upside shrinks even more.
Just to make matters worse his SwStr% jumped to 11.4% last season (8.5% for his career), as he likely was selling out a bit for more power. The fact that the number rose in the second half (12.1%), despite the power shrinking, just looks that much worse.
So let’s put things into perspective:
- He’s a part-time player (maximum 450-500 AB)
- His power is questionable, at best, and isn’t going to stand out among 1B
- Suddenly strikeouts have become an issue, whether the power is there or not
Does that sound like a player we should want to invest in? Coming off a big season people are going to be ready to invest, but don’t make that mistake. The value simply isn’t there.
Source – Fangraphs
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