Finally there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and fantasy owners need to ramp up their preparedness for the 2020 season. They need to evaluate the information we have and decide who we should be buying and who we should be selling. Let’s take a look at a few young players and try to determine if they are worth owning for the upcoming season:
Victor Robles – Washington Nationals
Long hyped, Robles’ performance has generally failed to match. That was until 2019, when he hit .255 with 17 HR and 28 SB. It was that blend of power and speed that is going to catch your attention, though now we have to ask whether he can not only match those numbers but improve upon them.
There is no questioning the speed, so our focus more is on his average and power. In terms of the latter he’s never shown that type of upside before, and when we start to look at the metrics it’s fair to wonder if he can match it:
- Hard% – 24.9%
- Exit Velocity – 81.0 mph (second worst among 250 qualified hitters, above just Billy Hamilton)
- Barrels/PA – 3.2%
His Launch Angle (14.5) does help, at least a little bit, and an 11.8% HR/FB isn’t an unreasonable mark. However, for a player with his speed we’d rather see him use the field more (23.3% Oppo%) and not focus on the long ball. That hurts the average outlook, and while his approach isn’t abysmal it also could improve given a 10.5% SwStr% and 31.9% O-Swing%.
The true keys are going to be improving his Hard%, which he showed signs of late in the season (32.9% Hard% in September) and improving his performance on fourseam fastballs (.244 in ’19). The power may stagnate a bit, with 14-17 HR being his ceiling, but with his speed and some slight improvements (including his .310 BABIP) seeing him hit .270 or better isn’t unreasonable.
Would a .270/15/25 player appeal to you? Considering those numbers could be a 20/30 hitter over a full season, especially still at just 23-years old, he certainly should.
Verdict – Buying
J.P. Crawford – Seattle Mariners
Crawford didn’t show much with his first extended look in the Majors, hitting .226 with 7 HR and 5 SB over 396 PA. Once one of the top prospects in the Phillies’ system, is it time to give up on him emerging as a viable fantasy option?
If we just look at his 84.3 average exit velocity and 2.3% Barrel/PA it is easy to write him off. However, before you get too concerned by those numbers don’t ignore his willingness to use the entire field (26.9% Oppo%) and impressive approach:
- SwStr% – 8.1%
- O-Swing% – 22.6%
Those marks should yield better than a 21.0% strikeout rate and the Oppo% and a hopefully decent enough Hard% (28.4%) should yield better than a .275 BABIP. He doesn’t have Robles’ upside, but he does have the potential to mature into a .265/10/10 type player. From a middle infielder with virtually no cost, that seems like a strong buying opportunity.
Verdict – Buying
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out all of our 2020 prospect rankings: