Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Is Renato Nunez Worth The Investment?

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For the past two seasons Renato Nunez has proven that he has plenty of power, as he’s slugged 43 HR over 736 AB for the Baltimore Orioles. It’s easy to get excited about that type of mark, but there’s obviously more to it then that. Power isn’t as hard to find as it once was, but being able to pair it with another skill is a different story. Obviously he doesn’t have speed, but can he do it with at least a solid average?

Over the past two years he’s hit enough, with AVG of .244 and .256, but there’s no guarantee that it’s going to continue. There are plenty of potential flaws that can’t be overlooked.

Strike Zone Command

Nunez’ 29.6% strikeout rate is bad enough, but a 14.3% SwStr% and especially a 42.4% O-Swing% are abysmal. If a pitcher doesn’t have to throw you strikes to get you out, why would they? His O-Swing% has gotten consistently worse too:

  • 2018 – 35.6%
  • 2019 – 37.5%
  • 2020 – 42.4%

In other words things could get worse…

Impact Contact

You would think that a player hitting for his power would be making consistently loud contact, but that doesn’t appear to be the case:

  • Hard% – 25.8%
  • Exit Velocity – 86.3 mph

Those two numbers make you wonder if the power will start to regress, and that may be the only thing buoying his average…

Other Metrics

Those things alone are a concern, but Nunez also struggled with popups (15.3% IFFB) and wasn’t using the entire field (22.0% Oppo%). In other words things are certainly dicey.

Nunez has shown impressive power over the past two seasons, but the likelihood of it continuing seems slim. Now isn’t the time to be buying, instead we should be ignoring (or selling).

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant

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