There wasn’t much attention paid to Renato Nunez entering 2019, but playing for a rebuilding Orioles’ team he was given an extended opportunity and delivered strong production… Or did he? Just look at these numbers across the board:
541 At Bats
.244 Batting Average (132 Hits)
31 Home Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.311 On Base Percentage
.460 Slugging Percentage
.272 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Outside of the power, which was up across the league, what are we hanging our hats on in terms of a “breakout”? He continued to show an abysmal approach at the plate, which was exploited by opposing pitchers, as he posted a 12.7% SwStr% and 37.5% O-Swing%. He saw a steady diet of breaking balls (34.77%), which makes sense as his Whiff% indicates:
- Hard – 10.15%
- Offspeed – 16.30%
- Breaking – 17.87%
Couple that with a flyball approach (46.3%) and a Hard% that doesn’t justify an inflated BABIP (36.6%), and it seems impossible that he ever posts a strong average. As it is his .304 AVG in July stands out like a sore thumb, with only one other month above .237 and three months of .217 or worse.
You also have to wonder how real the power is. While it’s going to remain a part of his game, he posted a 20.0% HR/FB in the first half compared to a 12.8% in the second. Hitting 6 total home runs over the final two months and adding 24 doubles overall, is it a given that he emerges as a can’t miss slugger?
It’s not to say that Nunez is going to be a complete non-factor in 2020, but he also isn’t locked in as a can’t miss fantasy option. He could have appeal as a low-end option, but he’s not a player you should count on making an impact.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball