There were high hopes for Austin Meadows entering 2020, but the left-handed hitter struggled both with injuries (36 games played) and a miserable performance. A year after hitting .291 with 33 HR and 12 SB, just look at the line:
.205 (27-132), 4 HR, 13 RBI, 19 R, 2 SB
It’s clear that the power surge may have gotten into his head, and while it was a small sample size there are a few key metrics that stand out:
- Flyball Rate – 53.6%
- Oppo% – 19.0%
- SwStr% – 12.5%
His strikeout rate soared from 22.2% to 32.9% as he struggled to make contact against all types of pitches (Whiff%):
- Hard – 12.31%
- Breaking – 11.97%
- Offspeed – 24.00%
That alone is a red flag, but seeing his flyball rate jump from 42.9% to 53.6% hammers the point home. There was a warning sign in August of ’19 (51.2%), but seeing him get things back on track in September of ’19 (39.2%) does indicate that his ’20 was perhaps a small sample size. Time will tell if he can get things back on track, but it is something that needs to be watched closely.
With his power and speed he shouldn’t be so focused on the long ball. Even last season during his struggles he produced a 90.1 mph Exit Velocity (right inline with his 90.4 in ’19). Considering his 19.3% HR/FB in ’19 he doesn’t needs to swing for the fences to produce power. He added 8 doubles and 1 triple in ’20 so the power is still there, and there’s reason to believe that he’ll fix the issues.
The key will be his health, and even though he may not be the 30/10 player that he was in ’19 would anyone complain about 25/10? Would it be shocking to see him be 25/15?
The moral of the story is look to buy low if the owner in your league has grown frustrated. There should be better days ahead.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, Brooks Baseball