What Went Wrong: Eduardo Escobar: Was 2019 An Aberration Or Is A Rebound Coming?

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After an impressive 2019, which saw him hit .269 with 35 HR and 118 RBI, Eduardo Escobar’s production fell off a cliff. Instead of giving fantasy owners elite numbers, we got this instead:

203 At Bats
.212 Batting Average (43 Hits)
4 Home Runs
20 RBI
22 Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.270 On Base Percentage
.335 Slugging Percentage
.244 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Looking at the BABIP it’s easy to place part of the blame on poor luck, though that wasn’t the only issue. Instead there was a laundry list of problems that we can’t ignore.

Power Regression

After a career best 15.2% HR/FB in ’19, things regressed back to his ’16 type marks at 6.1%. That said, interestingly his Exit Velocity improved (87.7 to 88.6 mph) and his Launch Angle was right on par (18.4 to 18.1).

While he wasn’t hitting the ball nearly as hard, which also helps to explain his poor BABIP, does that fully justify the regression? He had 7 doubles and 3 triples and his 13.3% HR/FB in August shows that the power stroke is still there.

Maybe he’s not a 30+ HR guy, but would rebounding to the 24-27 range be so hard to believe?

Poor Approach

While his approach still wasn’t great, what’s actually interesting is that he improved from his breakout ’19:

  • SwStr% – 12.0% to 10.4%
  • O-Swing% – 40.8% to 36.9%

You would think that not straying outside the strike zone as much would’ve led to a better Hard%. Over the long haul, you would think that this improvement would only help his production.

Popups

His 10.6% IFFB% was more than double his ’19 mark (5.2%), but with a career 6.9% mark this one is hardly a concern.

In other words there were signs of the ’19 version of Escobar in terms of his power, and long-term you would expect a significantly better average. Maybe he’s not an elite player, but he definitely is better than he showed last season. That means he’s an ideal buy low candidate and if the price tag drops he’s a must target on Draft Day.

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant

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