2019 Review — Barrels Per True Fly Ball Decliners

Yesterday, I listed and discussed the hitters who at increased their barrels per true fly ball (Brl/TFB) rates by at least 10% over 2018. Today, I’ll discuss the opposite end of the spectrum, those whose Brl/TFB rates fell at least 10% from 2018.

Brls/TFB Decliners
Player 2018 Brls/TFB 2019 Brls/TFB Diff
Tyler O’Neill 53.1% 25.0% -28.1%
David Bote 48.3% 23.5% -24.7%
Max Stassi 33.3% 12.0% -21.3%
Luke Voit 57.1% 38.4% -18.8%
Ryan Zimmerman 43.8% 25.6% -18.2%
Lewis Brinson 30.3% 13.0% -17.2%
Eric Thames 38.5% 22.0% -16.4%
Daniel Robertson 19.6% 5.3% -14.4%
Tyler White 25.4% 11.3% -14.1%
Mark Reynolds 30.0% 16.1% -13.9%
Randal Grichuk 37.3% 23.5% -13.8%
Yonder Alonso 29.4% 15.8% -13.6%
Tony Wolters 13.5% 0.0% -13.5%
Trey Mancini 47.7% 34.3% -13.4%
J.D. Martinez 48.6% 35.3% -13.3%
Elias Diaz 21.2% 8.6% -12.6%
Justin Upton 43.2% 30.9% -12.3%
Chad Pinder 42.9% 31.3% -11.5%
Matt Carpenter 30.4% 19.0% -11.4%
Trevor Story 32.9% 22.1% -10.8%
Paul Goldschmidt 42.2% 31.4% -10.8%
Brian Goodwin 27.3% 16.5% -10.8%
Yairo Munoz 17.6% 6.9% -10.8%
Christian Yelich 58.2% 47.6% -10.6%
Daniel Descalso 25.3% 14.7% -10.5%
Ramon Laureano 37.5% 27.0% -10.5%
League Average 21.7% 23.5% 1.8%

Let’s give Luke Voit a little bit of a pass, as his 2018 outburst was obviously unsustainable. You can see that even his much reduced 2019 mark was still firmly above the league average and excellent on its own. Coming off injury, having perhaps disappointed some of his fantasy owners, and with his playing time not 100% guaranteed given the non-zero chance that Miguel Andujar finds himself at first, Voit could come at a solid price in drafts.

Wow, Lewis Brinson, remember when you used to be a top prospect? What happened?! That Brl/TFB rate is really pathetic. He continues to display an intriguing blend of power and speed…in the minors, but you wonder when that’s going to translate to the Majors, if it ever does. In an NL-Only league, at least, he’s probably worth the cheap speculation. I feel like his skill set could breakout at any time without warning.

The power spike I expected from Randal Grichuk after his move from the pitcher friendly Cardinals to the hitter friendly Blue Jays home park never manifested. That was in 2018. In 2019, his ISO fell to a career worst, as did his Brl/TFB and HR/FB rates. Since he does nothing else, he’ll need to maintain that power, at the very least, to keep his playing time.

It’s not often you see a guy suffer such a decline in Brl/TFB rate, but increase their HR/FB rate, but that’s exactly what Trey Mancini just did. This was a true bustout year as he improved essentially all of his skill metrics to career bests. Are you willing to pay for a repeat?

Wow, this was the first Brl/TFB rate below 41% for J.D. Martinez since 2015, the first year on my spreadsheet. At age 31, he wasn’t at an obvious age for his production to decline drastically. But perhaps it was his back, which acted up here and there and caused him to miss some games. That could have lingered throughout the season and would be an easy explanation for a down power year. He’ll likely come cheapest he has in years and could therefore return a nice little profit for a change.

Well that was a wasted season from Justin Upton, especially for those fantasy owners keeping him in an injured slot for half the year. With his steals all but disappearing and a rising strikeout rate, he’s become riskier than ever.

You’re probably surprised to find Trevor Story on this list, as I was too. He’s young enough that this could just be a blip, and his home park does its best to mask any such declines anyway.

Gosh, Paul Goldschmidt hit 34 homers and yet he was actually quite a fantasy disappointment. It’s surprising he still cleared the 30-homer plateau given his Brl/TFB rate decline, but much of that is due to a career high fly ball rate. Since his stolen bases have all but dried up, he’ll have to get his BABIP back up to the elite levels of past years. At age 32 now, it becomes more difficult to maintain such levels.

We hoped you liked reading 2019 Review — Barrels Per True Fly Ball Decliners by Mike Podhorzer!

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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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Let the record reflect that Pod says Yelich is in complete freefall 🙂

Appreciate these articles. Always a good starting point for some additional research. Goldschmidt is a good one – his O-swing% since 2015:

2015 22.4% (7th of 141 qualified hitters)
2016 23.0%
2017 24.4%
2018 28.8%
2019 31.4% (68th of 135 qualified hitters)

The Statcast numbers are different of course, but have a similar trend going from 20.3% to 28.3%. I always pay attention to O-Swing% as a marker for age-related decline with Albert Pujols from 2009-2012 a shining example. Once a guy has to get that swing started a little early to catch up, that’s worrisome. It also would explain why his BABIP dipped because his contact% didn’t really change that much.