Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Was Trey Mancini’s 2019 Breakout For Real?

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While his 2019 performance doesn’t get much attention, likely because of the team he played for, the Orioles’ Trey Mancini quietly had a monster season:

602 At Bats
.291 Batting Average (175 Hits)
35 Home Runs
97 RBI
106 Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.364 On Base Percentage
.535 Slugging Percentage
.326 Batting Average on Balls in Play

His 23.6% HR/FB wasn’t a significant leap from his 20.9% in ’18 (or 22.2% career mark), so the difference was his shift from groundballs to fly balls. It’s something we had seen a small sign of late in ’18, when he posted a 46.1% groundball rate in August (for the season he had a 54.6% mark), and in turn hit 7 HR over 110 AB. In 2019 he consistently maintained those types of rates:

  • First Half – 44.4%
  • Second Half – 47.8%

He didn’t have a month with fewer than 5 HR, hitting 17 HR in the first half and 18 in the second. That type of consistency helps make you believe in the 27-year old (he’ll turn 28 in March), and gives one strong selling point even if power across the game takes a step backwards.

The fact that he paired it with an improved Hard% (37.1%, up from 33.6% the year before) and approach (11.8% SwStr%, 33.4% O-Swing%) only further supports his breakout. Whether or not those “improved” numbers will allow him to maintain a .290+ average is debatable, even though it was consistent all year, and it’s easy to envision a small regression. That said it’s also not a given, as he showed an ability to hit more than hast a fourseam fastball (.320 AVG, 22 HR):

  • Changeup – .258 AVG / .436 SLG
  • Slider – .258 AVG / .364 SLG
  • Curveball – .185 AVG / .315 SLG

Obviously the numbers weren’t spectacular, and he only hit 2 HR off non-fastballs from July 1 on (14 against fourseam fastballs, 2 against sinkers). How many fewer fastballs he sees remains to be seen, with 51.93% hard pitches, but it’s something to watch.

Does that mean we don’t believe in the breakout? Absolutely not, as seeing him hit .270ish with 30+ HR is a fair expectation. It’s not quite 2019, but it’s more than enough to continue viewing him as a viable option moving forward.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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