Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Will Franmil Reyes Continue To Produce In 2020 Or Is He A Bust In Waiting?

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Over the past few years fantasy owners had consistently been comparing Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe (we wrote about them nearly a year ago to the day, which you can view by clicking here).  Fast forward twelve months and the comparison doesn’t hold much water, as neither player still finds himself in San Diego.  While Renfroe calls Tampa Bay home, Reyes is in Cleveland hoping to carve out a consistent role in a convoluted outfield mix (outside of Oscar Mercado).

Reyes showed off plenty of power last season, hitting 37 HR over 548 PA split between his time in San Diego (354 PA) and Cleveland (194 PA).  That’s obviously his carrying tool, as it came courtesy of a .249 AVG and he hasn’t stolen a base in 833 PA in the Majors.  Those numbers lead to three significant questions:

  1. Is this type of power for real?
  2. Will he hit enough to hold value?
  3. Will he earn the playing time?

Let’s break it down:

Power

Reyes had a monstrous 31.1% HR/FB, after posting a 29.6% mark in 2018.  That would make it seem that the number is maintainable, especially getting out of San Diego and his career 46.4% Hard% and 93.3 mph exit velocity (which placed him fourth in the league).  There is the risk that some of the home runs start to fall short of clearing the fences (only 19 doubles and 0 triples last season), but the power appears to be very much for real.

Average

Obviously there are significant questions in this regard, and it comes solely from his ability to make consistent contact as he hits the ball hard, doesn’t take a flyball-centric approach (34.5% flyball rate) and while he is pull heavy it’s not a crippling mark (23.2% Oppo%).  That all should lead to at least a slightly better BABIP (.279 last season).

So it comes down to his 17.8% SwStr% and 28.5% strikeout rate, which ballooned to 32.5% after the trade to Cleveland.  The swings and misses came against all types of pitches, which further clouds the issue (Whiff%):

  • Hard – 15.36%
  • Breaking – 23.52%
  • Offspeed – 21.00%

That alone is going to help cap the upside in his average, especially since he doesn’t have speed.  As a comparison he may not have quite the power of Joey Gallo, but he also doesn’t put as many balls in the air (50.1% career groundball rate) and is more willing to use the entire field (21.2% career Oppo% for Gallo).  As a comparison, then, while Gallo is a career .212 hitter it is fair to expect Reyes to stay in the .250ish range.

Playing Time

There’s always going to be the risk of a platoon as a left-handed hitter, and Reyes is going to be battling Domingo Santana, Greg Allen, Delino Deshields, Jordan Luplow and Jake Bauers for playing time.  The fact is that he may have the highest upside, but the Indians have several alternatives if he struggles and falls into a deep slump.

Conclusion

There’s significant value in a .250/35 HR thumper who holds a spot in the middle of the lineup, and if he plays the full season as a starter it would make him a Top 30 outfielder.  There is obvious downside risk, especially since it’s easy to envision the playing time disappearing.  Currently with an average ADP of 133.00, making him the 35th outfielder off the board, the price is fair to roll the dice.

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, Brooks Baseball

Make sure to check out all of our 2020 Fantasy Baseball preseason rankings:

PositionLast Updated
Catchers02/10/20
First Basemen02/13/20
Second Basemen02/18/20
Third Basemen02/21/20
Shortstops02/24/20
Outfielders03/06/20
Starting Pitchers03/09/20
Relief Pitchers03/03/20

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