by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
It was a disappointing first season in Seattle for Ryon Healy, hitting .235 with 24 HR and 73 RBI over 493 AB. Things were particularly bad in September, as he was mired in a terrible slump and finished hitting .162 with 0 HR and 8 RBI over 85 PA. Is it time to write him off? Is the September swoon a sign of things to come? Or is there upside and hope that he can put things together and produce big numbers?
The obvious issue was in his average, which was a problem all season long. It wasn’t that he had a particularly poor approach, either in September or over the full season:
- Full Season – 11.4% SwStr%, 36.1% O-Swing%
- September – 10.4% SwStr%, 30.9% O-Swing%
His Hard% also wasn’t particularly poor (though it wasn’t “stellar”), including a 33.3% Hard% in September, and he wasn’t swinging for the fences (33.9% fly ball rate). Instead it appears that this was purely a case of poor luck, with a .211 BABIP in September and a .257 mark overall, that led to his poor average. Considering his .319 BABIP in 2017, with similar underlying metrics, there’s reason to believe that he could get back to a .260 average or better without much change.
Clearly before the September power outage he was producing home runs at an even better rate than he had before. As it is he posted a career best 17.3% HR/FB for the entire season, and he was at 19.8% over the first half of the season (19.2% was his “worst” month through July). That led to 18 HR and 46 RBI over 80 games, putting him on pace for a 35/90 type season.
Is he going to be a locked in 35 HR threat? Absolutely not, but seeing him get into the 26-29 HR range, with the potential to surpass 30 HR, is not an unrealistic expectation. With that should come a spot in the middle of the Seattle lineup and ample RBI opportunities. That would bring in the potential to reach the 100 RBI plateau, and also the ability to score ample runs.
Suddenly we are looking at a player who will likely come at a discount, yet has the potential to be at least a .260/27/80 player (and the upside of maybe .280/35/105). What’s wrong with that?
It will be interesting to see how the Mariners proceed this offseason, and if they move forward with the assumption that Healy will be the full-time first baseman in 2019. If he is, then consider him a potential bargain on draft day. If not he could be a sleeper, but he’d be pigeon holed towards those in deeper formats. We’ll have to keep monitoring the situation throughout the offseason and will certainly check back in on his outlook.
Sources – Fangraphs