Knowing whether to sell high on a player and when to ride the wave of the breakout is paramount to fantasy success. Let’s take a look at two first half breakouts and try to decide if they are for real or if we should be looking to move on before it’s too late:
Ketel Marte – Arizona Diamondbacks
2019 Statistics – .286 (83-290), 20 HR, 50 RBI, 50 R, 3 SB
There was always potential, but did anyone really see this coming? He entered Sunday hitting the ball extremely hard (45.6% Hard%) and showing an ability to make consistent contact (8.3% SwStr%). Last season he managed just 14 HR, though with 26 doubles and 12 triples the potential was there for more. This much, though? His HR/FB has nearly doubled (20.9% prior to Sunday’s home run, up from 10.9% in ’18), making it hard to envision him maintaining it.
You also have Marte having taken a bit of a pull heavy approach (21.3% Oppo%), though his success against non-fastballs has got to make you optimistic that the success can continue:
- Changeup – .302 AVG / .509 SLG / .289 BABIP
- Slider – .286 AVG / .643 SLG / .226 BABIP
- Curveball – .280 AVG / .680 SLG / .235 BABIP
Obviously there’s a little bit of risk that the power regresses, but he’s not going to be a non-factor in that department. Throw in that he hasn’t been lucky in his average (.277 BABIP) and isn’t a risk of significant strikeout troubles and there’s reason for optimism. Maybe he slows down, but he’s not likely to disappear.
Verdict – Not A Must Sell
Franmil Reyes – San Diego Padres
2019 Statistics – .241 (52-216), 19 HR, 33 RBI, 30 R, 0 SB
Whenever he’s been in the Majors Reyes has shown significant power, with 35 HR over 477 AB (31.8% HR/FB). The question is going to be whether or not he can improve his batting average moving forward. The issues are two-fold, with a poor BABIP and an inflated strikeout rate.
In terms of the BABIP (.244), the underlying metrics would make you think there’s upside:
- Hard% – 48.7%
- Fly Ball Rate – 36.4%
- Oppo% – 27.3%
So he is hitting the ball hard, doesn’t appear to be swinging for the long ball and has proven willing to use the entire field. Those numbers should equate to a significantly better BABIP moving forward.
The strikeouts are a different story, with a 17.3% SwStr% and 34.5% O-Swing%. The fact that he’s struggled to make contact against all types of pitches doesn’t help (Whiff%):
- Hard – 13.42%
- Breaking – 24.47%
- Offspeed – 22.22%
Maybe his 27.8% strikeout rate rises a bit (34.1% in June), but an improvement in his BABIP will help to offset that. Coupled with his power he should still be able to hit .250-.260, and maybe a little bit more. That’s enough to anticipate him maintaining his value, so selling high isn’t a must.
Verdict – Not A Must Sell
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball