by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Regardless of where he ultimately signed there was a risk in Mike Moustakas being overvalued heading into 2018. Just looking at his surface numbers from last season would cause someone to spend big to acquire him, and that makes sense given the performance:
555 At Bats
.272 Batting Average (151 Hits)
38 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.314 On Base Percentage
.521 Slugging Percentage
.263 Batting Average on Balls in Play
However it’s hard to buy into him replicating these numbers, so it makes sense that his market wasn’t as robust as he had hoped. That’s not to say that there shouldn’t have been a market, but an across the board regression appears likely:
His 2016 was shortened by injury (27 games), but including that gives us a 175 game sample over the past two seasons making the power seem a little bit more believable (HR/FB):
- 2016 – 19.4%
- 2017 – 17.8%
Of course he did take a step back in the second half of ’17 (14.0%), which led to 13 HR over 244 AB. That’s much more in line with his career numbers and would put him on pace more in the 28-32 HR range as opposed to a potential 40 HR threat.
As it is last season’s average was pedestrian, though there’s risk that it becomes far worse. On the surface his strikeout rate appears to be for real, as his 15.7% is right in line with a career mark of 15.5%. However his plate discipline and approach took a step backwards across the board (2017 vs. career):
- SwStr% – 10.5% vs. 8.7%
- O-Swing% – 40.3% vs. 35.2%
Opposing pitchers began throwing him fewer fastballs, at 55.05% overall, which likely led to the step backwards given these Whiff%:
- Hard – 7.83%
- Breaking – 15.85%
- Offspeed – 16.92%
Given those numbers there’s a good chance that the strikeout rate balloons, at least a little bit. You couple that with a regression in his power and a general lack of line drive rate (19.5% in ’17, 18.9% for his career) and his average upside is limited at best. It seems far more likely that he hits .250 or worse, as opposed to even replicating last season’s mark.
Fewer HR + A Declining Average = Fewer Runs Produced
That’s easy math, and now when you put that into a questionable lineup the outlook is that much worse.
It’s easy to get excited about Moustakas after 2017, but all signs point towards him taking a significant step backwards in 2018. You have to be careful with how much you pay to acquire him, because chances are you are going to overpay (and at his current ADP of 127.7, which isn’t unreasonable, the risk outweighs the reward).
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
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|Starting Pitchers||1-20: 03/24/18|