We all know that speed is hard to find, and if someone has proven capable of stealing a significant number of bases they could be overvalued. That leads us to a pair of shortstops, both of whom have the potential to be busts in 2020:
- Adalberto Mondesi – Kansas City Royals
- Tim Anderson – Chicago White Sox
Both players could help, at the right price, but chances are you are going to have to significantly overpay on draft day. Let’s take a look:
Current NFBC ADP – 39.52
Preseason Rotoprofessor Ranking – 150
Mondesi has 75 SB over the past two seasons, so it’s obvious that he’s going to hold value to fantasy owners searching for speed. He also has 23 HR over this span, so he’s not a one-trick pony. The question is whether or not he’ll continuously be able to tap into those skills, despite averages of .276 and .263.
He features an abysmal approach, with a career 19.5% SwStr% (21.0% in ’19) and 40.5% O-Swing% (42.2% in ’19). It was all types of pitches that he struggled with (Whiff%) last season:
- Hard – 16.74%
- Breaking – 30.42%
- Offspeed – 24.27%
Strikeouts aren’t going to disappear from his game and you can argue he’s too pull heavy for a speedster (21.3% Oppo%), and while his speed will allow him to maintain an elevated BABIP can we really expect a .357 mark? If he’s hitting .250 or worse without drawing walks, just how many stolen bases will he be able to get?
Note – Part of his ranking was due to offseason shoulder surgery which potentially was going to cause him to miss the start of the season. With that no longer an issue he will rise up the rankings, at least a little bit, but nowhere near his current ADP.
Current NFBC ADP – 96.04
Preseason Rotoprofessor Ranking – 154
Anderson isn’t a pure speedster, instead blending power and speed. Over the past three seasons he’s averaged 18.33 HR and 19.33 SB per season, and we all know how valuable potential 20/20 players are. Considering he coupled it with a .335 AVG last season it makes sense for fantasy owners to be excited (though the ADP isn’t “that” inflated). However there are a few key statistics that cloud the issue:
- BABIP – .399
- Hard% – 32.2%
- O-Swing% – 45.2%
So he chases outside the strike zone far too much, which helps to explain the relatively weak contact, yet maintained a bloated BABIP? None of that sounds like a reasonable expectation and leads us to believe that his average will plummet. He hit .240 in 2018, and while he could exceed that mark it isn’t a given. Without extreme power or extreme speed that hurts, and the fact that he stole just 2 bases in the second half further clouds the issue.
Even at the current price his blend of power and speed is playable, but what happens if/when opposing pitchers start throwing him fewer fastballs? It’s been trending down as it is (55.57% hard pitches seen in ’19), and considering the Whiff% it makes sense to further decline:
- Hard – 9.32%
- Breaking – 20.0%
- Offspeed – 20.00%
That could lead to increased strikeouts and chasing outside the zone, and with the anticipated drop in BABIP the results could be disastrous.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out all of our 2020 Fantasy Baseball preseason rankings: