News broke recently that the A’s would be bringing up Skye Bolt from Triple-A, where he’s been enjoying a tremendous start to the season (.325 with 6 HR, 27 RBI, 22 R and 3 SB). The production makes him worthy of the promotion, but can he maintain it in the Majors? Can he make an impact for fantasy owners?
He’s coming off a year where he produced 19 HR and 19 SB over 454 AB split between High-A and Double-A. Those are numbers that will catch our attention, but he also struggled with strikeouts. Overall he posted 122 K, and that’s continued at Triple-A. Just look at the rates at each level:
- High-A (209 PA) – 22.5%
- Double-A (315 PA) – 23.8%
- Triple-A (90 PA) – 25.6%
The strikeout rate came courtesy of an 11.1% SwStr% in ’18, and he’s posted a similar mark this (11.8% SwStr%). There’s the risk of the strikeout rate further regressing upon reaching the Majors, and that will have a significant impact on his outlook. That becomes especially true when we factor in the .392 BABIP he’s benefited from, a number that will be impossible for him to maintain.
A switch hitter, he’s produced significantly better against right-handed pitchers this season:
- vs. LHP – .280/.333/.560
- vs. RHP – .345/.429/.727
Obviously there’s nothing wrong with the marks against southpaws, though they were far worse at Double-A last year (.228/.299/.380). It makes you wonder if he’s nothing more than a platoon player, at best.
There’s obviously some skills, and he does bring some power and speed with him. At the same time his best skill is his defense, as his Baseball America described him be saying “Bolt is the best athlete in the system and also its best defensive outfielder. He is a plus center fielder with a strong, accurate arm.”
That could keep him in the lineup, and even if he’s a .260/12/12 player there would be value. While there’s no need to move on him in shallower formats, in 14+ team leagues (and maybe those desperate for help in 12 team leagues) it’s worth at least taking a look.
Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball America