2019 Review — Average Fly Ball Distance Surgers

On Monday, I discussed the surgers in one of the components of my xHR/FB rate equation, barrels per true fly ball. Today, we’ll hop over to another important component of the equation, average fly ball distance (AFBD, because I’m lazy). While you might expect the two lists to include similar names, 11 of the 31 names did not increase their Brl/TFB rate by at least 10%. So yes, that means the majority do appear on both lists, but probably less a majority you would think. So it’s worth consulting each group separately. This list includes all hitters with at least 30 fly balls in both 2018 and 2019 and increased their AFBD marks by at least 20 feet. I won’t discuss guys already discussed from Monday’s list.

Avg FB Dist Surgers
Player 2018 2019 Diff
Logan Forsythe 290 329 39
Cameron Maybin 299 336 37
Hunter Pence 301 338 37
Ryan McMahon 308 344 36
Willie Calhoun 301 335 34
Ronny Rodriguez 306 339 33
Miguel Sano 335 367 32
Adeiny Hechavarria 305 335 30
Adam Duvall 324 353 29
Roberto Perez 314 343 29
Willson Contreras 309 338 29
Howie Kendrick 314 342 28
Sandy Leon 288 315 27
Adam Engel 299 325 26
Brian Anderson 306 332 26
Jonathan Schoop 312 337 25
Jorge Polanco 295 320 25
Scott Kingery 299 323 24
Albert Almora Jr. 299 321 22
Carlos Correa 321 343 22
Christian Vazquez 299 321 22
Josh Bell 321 343 22
Isiah Kiner-Falefa 282 303 21
Ronald Guzman 311 332 21
Chris Davis 318 339 21
JaCoby Jones 315 335 20
Cheslor Cuthbert 291 311 20
Brandon Crawford 308 328 20
Dexter Fowler 304 324 20
Nelson Cruz 339 359 20
Kolten Wong 297 317 20
League Average 319 324 5

Who would have thunk Logan Forsythe would find himself at the top of our list?! Most of it is because he was so pathetically below average in 2018.

At age 36, Hunter Pence enjoyed one of his best seasons! Sure, it was really half a season, but it was quite the surprise. Is he going to sign with anyone and get another chance at regular at-bats?

Man, what a wacky season of extremes for Adam Duvall, but sadly that “season” only encompassed 130 plate appearances, as he found himself in Triple-A for the majority of the year.

Brian Anderson doubled his HR/FB rate and raised his FB%, but because the Marlins offense stunk as expected, he still failed to deliver any mixed league value.

This represented a real power spike for Jorge Polanco, someone you didn’t expect to decide to join the fly ball revolution. Offsetting the power increase is a disappearance of his steals, but I don’t think any fantasy owners are complaining.

This was definitely closer to the season fantasy owners were expecting in 2018 for Scott Kingery, but it came a year later. He’ll have to cut down on the whiffs and strikeouts to become a true five category threat.

Well at least Chris Davis showed some sort of signs of life, getting his AFBD mark closer to his 2015-2017 marks after it collapsed in 2018. But with a strikeout rate nearing 40% now, all that power is useless if you can’t make contact.

Kolten Wong’s AFBD mark surged, yet his HR/FB rate actually fell. That’s because he both pulled his flies less frequently and barreled them up less often. Still, a distance spike is good and he finally put his excellent speed to use with 20+ steals for the first time since 2014. He still needs a better lineup spot to really enjoy a breakout fantasy season.

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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Buhners Rocket Armmember
2 years ago

It might be worth doing a bit of a deep dive into Willie Calhoun. Was his 2019 pace supported by the batted ball profile?