Rebound or Wash Out: Veteran Hitter Addition: With Khris Davis, Joey Votto & More Return To Viability In 2020?


We all know the big names that disappointed in 2019, now fantasy owners are left to wonder if they can bounce back or if they have completed washed out.  Let’s kick things off with three hitters and try to make that determination:

Khris Davis – Oakland A’s

Davis had been Mr. Consistency when it came to power and RBI, with at least 42 HR and 102 RBI in three straight seasons.  It came with a consistent .247 AVG (he posted an identical average for straight years), and that made the disappearing power all the more concerning.  While home runs were up across the game, Davis posted a relatively pitiful season:

.220 (106-481), 23 HR, 73 RBI, 61 R

It’s easy to chalk a lot of his struggles up to injuries, especially when you look at this key split:

  • Through April 30 – .218 with 10 HR and 23 RBI
  • From May 1 Forward – .221 with 13 HR and 50 RBI

That would make it seem that the power was zapped by his various injuries.  It’s also backed up by a career worst Barrel% (10.1%) and worst Exit Velocity since his rookie year (90.1 mph).  Assuming he’s healthy it’s fair to assume the power will return, and 35 HR/90 RBI is a fair expectation with even more possible.

Verdict – Rebound Candidate

Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds

Votto struggled in terms of power for the second straight season (15 HR in ’19, 27 total HR over the past two seasons) and saw his AVG plummet for the second straight year (.320 to .284 to .261).  The last time he had more than 4 HR in a month was August of 2017 and his average Exit Velocity of 88.8 mph was basically average (tied for 134th out of 250 qualified hitters).  At 36-years old why would we expect anything to suddenly change?

He does bring a strong approach (7.3% SwStr%, 21.1% O-Swing%) and hits the ball hard (41.5% Hard%), but without speed it makes it hard to envision an elevated BABIP (.313 in ’19, .333 or lower in three straight seasons).  Couple that without power and the results simply aren’t there.

Verdict – Wash Out

Justin Upton – Los Angeles Angels

Upton is known as one of the streakier players in the game, and injuries did contribute to a 2019 that saw more bad stretches than good.  However there are a few key underlying metrics that add to the concern:

  • Strikeouts – 30.5% (courtesy of a 13.6% SwStr%)
  • Oppo% – 21.2%
  • Flyball Rate – 45.9%

The last two marks help to support the dramatic drop in his BABIP (.325 for his career, .261 in ’19).  He also struggled mightily against curveballs (.200 AVG) and sliders (.174), which explains why pitchers were throwing him fewer hard pitches (55.37%) and more breaking balls (31.34%).  There’s little reason to think that will change, and with his more power-centric approach the results aren’t likely to improve.

Verdict – Wash Out

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, Brooks Baseball

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

PositionLast Updated
First Basemen02/13/20
Second Basemen02/18/20
Third Basemen02/21/20
Starting Pitchers03/09/20
Relief Pitchers03/03/20


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