Franmil Reyes vs. Hunter Renfroe: Who Should Fantasy Owners Target?

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When you look at the Padres’ crowded outfield there’s an intriguing debate growing as to who offers more upside, Franmil Reyes or Hunter Renfroe.  Through Wednesday, among those who have at least 25 batted ball events, both find themselves among the Top 20 in Average Exit Velocity (according to Baseball Savants):

  • Franmil Reyes – 94.3 mph
  • Hunter Renfroe – 93.7 mph

So what do the other numbers tell us?  Who is the better option?  Let’s take a quick look:

Franmil Reyes
He’s always shown the propensity to hit the ball hard in the Majors, but the big key here has been a regression in his strikeout rate (17.5% over his first 49 AB).  It’s a small sample size, and an 11.9% SwStr% tells you that it may not be sustainable.  That’ll be especially true as opposing pitchers adjust and begin throwing him more breaking balls, considering these Whiff%:

  • Hard – 6.92%
  • Offspeed – 10.53%
  • Breaking – 22.95%

He’s hitting .200 against sliders and has yet to collect a hit against a curveball.  Things are going to change and he needs to prove that he can hit those pitches.  If he can there’s a little bit of promise, as the power seems sustainable (21.1% HR/FB) and he’s shown a willingness to go the other way (26.8% Oppo%).

There’s some risk, but there also is ample reward.

Hunter Renfroe
His strikeout rate appears more promising, even at 21.6%, as his Whiff% are better across the board:

  • Hard – 8.00%
  • Offspeed – 4.55%
  • Breaking – 15.25%

Do we believe in the dramatically improved mark against offspeed pitches (17.82% in ’18)?  How about given his propensity to chase outside the strike zone (37.7% O-Swing% this season)?  Those numbers seem to indicate that a regression could be coming, and when combined with his 36.4% HR/FB and 2.8% Oppo% (17.4% for his career) things could get ugly quickly. 

Maybe he adjusts, but he’s always been pull happy and the strikeout rate is a risk.  There’s value in his power, but he also could play himself out of a role.

Winner – Franmil Reyes

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, Baseball Savant

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