To Buy Or Not To Buy… Based On Expected SLG Discrepancies (Ozuna & More)

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Trying to figure out which players to buy and which to ignore is never an easy calculation for fantasy owners.  Today let’s try to help make that decision by comparing the Expected SLG to the Actual SLG from 2019 to see if we are buying or denying:

Yuli Gurriel – Houston Astros
Actual 2019 SLG – .541
Expected SLG – . 422

Gurriel had one of the biggest discrepancies in actual SLG vs. Expected SLG last year.  It shouldn’t be surprising, considering he exploded for 31 HR after hitting 31 HR in ’17 and ’18 combined (1,137 PA).  While he can consistently make contact (7.4% SwStr% over the course of his career), what other numbers can we point towards as a positive?

  • His 15.6% HR/FB was reasonable, but doesn’t jive with his previous career marks (7.6% in ’18)…
  • He didn’t hit the ball extremely hard (38.6% Hard%)…
  • He didn’t barrel the ball up at a high rate (3.8%, compared to the league average of 6.0%)…

While his Exit Velocity (89.3 mph) and Launch Angle (14.5 degrees) were above average, is that enough to justify the spike at 35-years old?  A lot of it came in the second half (21.5% HR/FB) and a lot of his success came at home (22.6% HR/FB), though even in the first half he was on pace for around 25 HR. Maybe he was a “victim” of the home runs surge around the game, and it’s certainly a tough sell moving forward.

We need to value him accordingly, especially as a player who doesn’t draw many walks (4.6% career walk rate) and takes a pull heavy approach (21.5% career Oppo%).  He’s still a solid option, but as the expected SLG tells us he’s certainly a player who could be overvalued heading into 2020.

Verdict – Deny ‘Em

Marcell Ozuna – Atlanta Braves
Actual 2019 SLG – .472
Expected SLG – . 548

It was a down year for Ozuna, as injuries plagued him.  Ultimately he finished hitting .241 with 29 HR over 485 AB, but the underlying numbers support significantly more success.  In fact the discrepancy between the actual and expected SLG was the third highest in the league.  A lot of his issues came simply due to poor luck (.257 BABIP), as he improved his Hard% for the fifth straight season:

  • 2015 – 34.5%
  • 2016 – 37.4%
  • 2017 – 39.1%
  • 2018 – 45.2%
  • 2019 – 48.4%

Ozuna’s Exit Velocity was also among the best in the league, for the fourth time in the past five seasons, as he posted a 91.8.  Couple that with an above average Launch Angle (13.5 degrees, compared to the league average of 11.2), the move to Atlanta and a return to health and there’s an awful lot to like.

There are some risks, including an 11.5% SwStr% and 18.8% Oppo%, but neither loom large enough.  With the upside of being one of the best outfielders in the league (think Top 10-15), Ozuna is a must buy in all formats.

Verdict – Buy ‘Em

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant

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

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PositionLast Updated
Catcher04/13/20
First Baseman--
Second Baseman04/15/20
Shortstop04/17/20
Third Baseman04/20/20
Outfield04/24/20
Pitcher--

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