2018 Barrels Per True Fly Ball Decliners

Yesterday, I identified and discussed the hitters that increased their barrels per true fly ball rate (Brls/TFB), a metric that makes up one of my xHR/FB rate components. Let’s now take a gander at those whose Brls/TFB rates declined most from 2017 to 2018. We’ll limit the list to declines of at least 10%.

2018 Brls/TFB Decliners
Player 2017 Brls/TFB 2018 Brls/TFB Diff
Howie Kendrick 40.4% 18.8% -21.7%
Lonnie Chisenhall 25.3% 6.3% -19.1%
Caleb Joseph 22.0% 4.1% -17.9%
Tim Beckham 34.0% 19.3% -14.7%
Aaron Judge 63.5% 48.9% -14.6%
John Hicks 31.4% 18.2% -13.2%
Willson Contreras 39.7% 27.1% -12.6%
Steven Souza Jr. 36.7% 24.1% -12.6%
Miguel Sano 43.2% 31.0% -12.1%
Jesus Sucre 12.8% 2.0% -10.8%
Carlos Gomez 23.9% 13.8% -10.1%
James McCann 25.3% 15.2% -10.1%
League Average 19.9% 21.7% 1.8%

There are significantly fewer hitters who suffered a big decline than enjoyed a surge. That’s actually surprising since all hitters are now a year older and you would expect age-related decline to kick in.

When do you not care to find your name on this list? When you posted an absurd 63.5% Brls/TFB in 2017 like Aaron Judge did. Of course he couldn’t sustain that mark. But the 48.9% mark he posted this past season still ranked third in baseball. Injury and a decline in fly ball rate (which I bet gets back above 40%) explain how he failed to reach 30 homers. Take advantage of any discount on draft day, he’s positively monstrous.

Fantasy owners were counting Willson Contreras to be one of the top catcher options amid a weak field. That wasn’t to be, as his power completely disappeared. And while his Brls/TFB did collapse, it still remained above average. Smells like a buy low situation, especially since the position remains stinky, so it wouldn’t take much of a rebound for him to reclaim a top tier spot.

Injury limited Steven Souza Jr. to what amounted to about half a season, and while on the field, he suffered through his worst offensive performance yet. His HR/FB rate tumbled thanks to the drop in Brls/TFB. But, don’t forget about him! He still owns a tantalizing power/speed combination, and while his average won’t be pretty, he’s a perennial threat to reach 20 homers and 10 steals, if he could remain healthy.

It was a forgettable season for Miguel Sano and a falloff in Brls/TFB confirms the power regression. But let’s be real — we know he’s got mammoth power potential in that bat, he’s shown high BABIP ability at times, and he’s super patient, so despite lots of strikeouts and a potentially low average, should still post a respectable OBP to tally those runs scored. I’m buying at a likely very depressed cost.

How do I use this table of players? It’s not a players to avoid list. This is simply more confirmation of what drove a decline in power in 2018, acting as a descriptive metric, rather than predictive. Instead, you might believe these hitters have hit bottom and have rebound potential, which could yield profits on draft day.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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