by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Alex Bregman is going to be a popular selection as we head into 2018, and given his skills and upside it makes sense. However he checked in at #8 on our 3B rankings (click here to view), while many view him as a borderline Top 5 option at the position. Are we “low” on him? Does he belong ahead of Jake Lamb or Anthony Rendon, the two names that others typically have below him?
Don’t make the mistake of viewing the #8 ranking as a knock against him, because we are high on Bregman and the upside he showed in the second half of ’17. The best way to summarize it is to look at our summary from the 2018 Rotoprofessor Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide:
“In his first full season in the Majors Bregman got off to a slow start, but after the All-Star Break he showed off his upside as he hit .315 with 11 HR, 44 RBI and 48 R over 267 AB. He had been showing the skills all season long, with a 6.4% SwStr%, 25.8% O-Swing% and 21.7% line drive rate. Those numbers all scream of a strong average, and that type of discipline allowed him to tap into his power at a believable level (12.1% HR/FB). He finished with 39 doubles, 5 triples and 19 HR, and with experience seeing him morph into a .300/25 player is believable. He may not fully get there in ’18, but he will soon.”
Why Rendon over Bregman?
Rendon has the advantage over Bregman in HR, RBI and R, assuming he stays healthy. That’s the biggest “question”, as he’s faced injuries before, but he’s played at least 147 games in three of the past four seasons so any perception of being injury prone is a bit unjustified. In those three seasons Rendon has hit at least 20 HR while showing plenty of doubles (38-41 each season) and at 27-years old (he’ll turn 28 in June) it’s easy to envision a few more of the doubles turning into home runs.
While Bregman has 20-25 HR upside in ’18, that’s Rendon’s floor and it’s easy to imagine a 30 HR campaign. Couple that with similar approach (5.1% SwStr%, 21.0% O-Swing%) and average upside, as well as a spot in the middle of the lineup (Bregman will likely hit second, meaning fewer opportunities for RBI) and Rendon gets the edge.
Why Lamb over Bregman?
This one is not quite as “obvious”, though Lamb again has the edge in HR and RBI. He’s going to hit in the middle of the lineup and call a hitter friendly ballpark home. He’s hit 59 HR over the past two seasons with at least 91 RBI each year (including 105 in ’17). It’s clear he has the advantage in those two categories, the question is if his average is going to sink him.
Last season he hit .248, but there’s significant upside:
- 8.7% SwStr%, 22.4% O-Swing% support a better approach than his 23.9% strikeout rate
- .227 BABIP in the second half
Remember he hit .279 in the first half, and while there is the risk of a platoon (.144 against LHP) he’d be on the favorable side and likely would only sit against extremely difficult southpaws. All he has to do is hit .265 or better, with the HR/RBI, to be viewed as a better option than Bregman. The two are extremely close, but as a potential .280/30/100 option we are leaning Lamb (but only slightly).
At the end of the day owners will be happy with any of the three, and they are all in the same tier (along with Nick Castellanos). An argument can be made for Bregman sitting atop the tier, and there is value in all three players. For now we prefer the upside of Rendon/Lamb, but what are your thoughts? Which of the three would you prefer to own and why?
Source – Fangraphs
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