It’s been a while since I calculated my xHR/FB rate equation and compared its results to each hitter’s actual marks. So let’s discuss eight names, plus two bonus names, with HR/FB rates that fall most short of their xHR/FB rate marks. While there are no guarantees in life, especially baseball, there’s a strong chance that each one of these hitters raises their HR/FB rates the rest of the season, assuming they can maintain the underlying skills driving the marks.
|Player||Brls/TFB||FB Pull%||FB Oppo%||Avg FB Dist||HR/FB||xHR/FB||HR/FB – xHR/FB|
It’s too bad that the Brewers have such an outfield logjam, as Domingo Santana doesn’t look much different from past years. Now with Eric Thames returning and Jesus Aguilar crushing the ball in Thames’ absence, the team now has six players to try to rotate through four positions. Santana will continue to draw the short straw, but if he finds himself back with an every day job, grab him.
Yeah, injury, suspension, who the heck knows what Robinson Cano will be when he returns. But he should have hit the suspended list with a far more impressive HR/FB rate!
Joe Mauer has underperformed his xHR/FB rate for three seasons running, but never to this degree. His Brls/True FB is sitting at a four-year high, but check that microscopic FB Pull%! Amazingly, that’s actually higher than last year’s pathetic 1.9% mark. It makes me wonder if the equation doesn’t do well with guys on the extremes. Shocker, I know. Equations always break on the extremes. But perhaps this component doesn’t affect results in a linear fashion. I have no idea how to test it though. Help?
With Randal Grichuk back and rejuvenated, Teoscar Hernandez needs to continue hitting to ensure he keeps his playing time. While he doesn’t walk enough and swings and misses frequently, his power has been impressive. But xHR/FB rate thinks his results should be even better. I’d be nervous as an owner though as any extended slump could cost him his job.
Man, I never expected Miguel Andujar to hit for this much power already. He has also managed to maintain a better than average strikeout rate, which helps boost his homer total. He’s also pulling it a ton, making him look like a true power bat.
It’s too bad the Blue Jays now essentially have five guys for four spots, and Kendrys Morales might end up the playing time loser. The good news is that he still has the power, even if the results don’t suggest that’s the case. But will he get the chance to rebound?
We’re in mid-June and Willson Contreras, who homered 21 times in less than double the at-bats he currently has, only has four homers?! I thought he was overvalued heading into the season, but I never expected him to disappoint to this degree. His Brls/True FB is down a bit from his previous two seasons (and remains above average), but it’s his Avg FB Dist which has plummeted. You always wonder about a catcher, but even with the down Avg FB Dist, his results should be better. Everyone needs a catcher, so he makes for a good trade target.
Daaaaamn, Trey Mancini’s Brls/True FB is monstrous. It actually ranks third in baseball, way behind leader J.D. Martinez, and barely behind Aaron Judge. Pretty good company. This also proves last year was no fluke and xHR/FB rate actually thinks things should be better. His stat mix is odd though as he has rarely pulled his fly balls and sports a well below average Avg FB Dist mark. How do you post a below average Avg FB Dist mark paired with the third best Brls/True FB rate?! Maybe all his fly balls merely meet the minimum qualifications for a barrel, while his non-barrels simply haven’t traveled very far. Not sure what to make of that.
Marcell Ozuna is another coming off a 2017 breakout that I believed to be overvalued. And he’s also another who has disappointed more than I expected. Did you realize that his xHR/FB rate is actually at its highest mark going back to 2015? While his Avg FB Dist has remained flat, his Brls/True FB has jumped to a career best. I’m buying.
Brian Anderson represents the first true sleeper on this list. He’s likely unowned in many leagues, despite hitting over .300 and having posted 30+ totals of RBI and runs scored. But just three homers? The Brls/True FB is well above average, but nothing else is. You still have to figure a low double digit HR/FB rate at the very least and his minor league track record also suggests better power days ahead.
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.