Fantasy owners are always looking to find breakout players, whether it’s those who haven’t emerged as of yet or those who are currently struggling. Obviously when you are looking to acquire someone who is under-performing the price tag is going to be the key. Who are worth targeting, assuming the price has dropped significantly? Here are three names to explore:
Jurickson Profar –
2019 Statistics – .162, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 9 R, 3 SB
There were high hopes entering the season, with people thinking that Profar had finally lived up to the hype of formerly being dubbed the top prospect in baseball. Things have fallen completely flat thus far however, and it’s left people wondering if it is time to cut bait and move on. However, when you start digging into some of the underlying metrics it all looks like a hot streak is brewing:
- BABIP – .169
- Hard% – 36.5%
- SwStr% – 7.3%
While you can argue that he’s chasing outside of the strike zone a little too much, with a 34.6% O-Swing%, he’s not only making consistent contact (13.9% strikeout rate) but he’s hitting the ball hard when he does. That screams of poor luck in his BABIP (even with some popup issues, with a 26.7% IFFB), and when that comes around the results will improve significantly.
Profar has actually excelled against southpaws thus far in ’19 (.321/.345/.536), while he’s been awful against righties (.099/.177/.169). He was better against left-handed pitchers last season as well, but 16 of his 20 HR came against righties. Don’t be worried about a platoon quite yet.
Now isn’t the time to be losing hope. In fact, given his positional flexibility it’s the time to go out and try and buy before he gets hot.
Yonder Alonso –
Chicago White Sox
2019 Statistics – .185, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 12 R, 0 SB
Alonso isn’t a sexy name but he’s better than this. Let’s not forget that he hit 51 HR over the past two seasons and should bring more upside playing in a favorable home ballpark. What’s interesting is that, despite the struggles, Alonso has actually shown an improved approach at the plate:
- SwStr% – 11.5% to 7.4%
- O-Swing% – 33.0% to 22.3%
Whether or not he can maintain those improvements remains to be seen, but with a notable improvement against offspeed pitches (7.14% Whiff%) it’s highly encouraging. When you couple that jump with an ability to hit the ball hard (37.3% Hard%) and willingness to use the entire field (25.4% Oppo%) there’s a lot to like.
No one is going to argue against his power potential and his .175 BABIP should improve significantly. That alone tells you there’s an opportunity, but if he can also maintain the improved approach? He has the upside of a difference maker, so target him now while you can.
Evan Longoria – San Francisco
2019 Statistics – .204, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 9 R, 1 SB
He’s obviously not the player that he once was, but does that mean he’s completely lost the ability to be productive? Despite the awful numbers, and in turn a .233 BABIP, there’s the potential for at least a scorching hot streak to come at any moment.
Do we really believe that he can maintain a 50.0% Hard%? Not likely, but he was at 41.1% last year and at the very least that led to a .274 BABIP. Couple that with a continued strong approach at the plate (9.4% SwStr%, 21.4% strikeout rate) and there’s something to like.
Granted we’d like to see a few more walks and a little bit more usage of the entire field (23.7% Oppo%), but are those enough to discourage us? Maybe he’s not a true difference maker, but you at least have the potential to catch a hot streak before kicking him to the curb once again. The price should be meaningless and there’s value/opportunity to capitalize on.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball