Any Hope for These 2020 Flops? Pt. 3

Calling someone a flop in two-month season requires some serious caveats, air quotes around “flop”, or both. That doesn’t mean there weren’t several disappointing players that deserve a deeper look to see what’s going on. We will investigate some of them today and if you find this exercise worthwhile, we can make it a series!

Miguel Sanó | MIN – 1B – 99 wRC+

Sano wasn’t exactly a complete dud for his teams in 2020, essentially amounting a league average bat, but the expectations were a good bit higher as he was coming off a 137 wRC+ in 2019 and 121 career mark through 2019 (2051). His 13 HRs put him among the top 30 in baseball and was tied for the 8th highest total. They saved his season in the wake of a .204 AVG and 44% K rate. The AVG was only his second worst (.199 in 2018), but the strikeout (44%) and walk (9%) rates were career worsts.


His raw power still delivered a rosy StatCast profile, sitting in the 99-100th percentile in Barrel, HardHit%, and Exit Velocity. We have seen runs like this before, the difference now is that it’s a “season”. This feels more like the ebbs and flows of this profile. His ADP of 192 since the New Year is more than fair. It both leaves plenty of room for upside and affords you enough rounds before you have to pick him to insulate yourself from his batting average issues should you want to take on the power infusion. The downside and health issues are covered within this draft price. Buy.

Josh Bell | WAS – 1B – 77 wRC+

On the heels of an excellent 2019 breakout, expectations were high for Bell going into 2020. He didn’t just regress back to 2018, he fell apart with a .669 OPS, 27% K rate, and 10% BB rate in 223 PA – all of which stand as single season worsts for Bell, but there is no way I’m weighing anyone’s 2020 as a truly full season. Even in his 2019 breakout he had a stretch that wasn’t too far off his entire 2020. From July 6th to August 27th, he posted a .688 OPS in 170 PA, though his 21% K and 14% BB rates were much more in line with his career marks (19% and 11%, respectively).

Bell has moved up 20 picks since his trade to Washington, currently sitting at pick 163. That’s still ahead of Sano, Rhys Hoskins (173), Christian Walker (197), and Jared Walsh (199) – all of whom I prefer over Bell. As such, I’m just passing on him here. I don’t put a return to 2019 levels out of the realm of possibilities, but it’s a low probability play with some combination of 2018-19 looking more likely which would yield a .260s AVG with a mid-20s HR count, and a strong chance to be north of 80 in both R and RBI. That is a pretty solid projection, but I just prefer the potential power output from the other four, especially with them all being cheaper.

What do you think? Are you buying back in on these two? What is your general plan at 1B?

Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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Jolly Good Show
1 year ago

The contrast in Statcast for Bell between 2019 and 2020 is quite shocking. I’m not sure what to make of it.

1 year ago

Looks like a lot of ground balls!

I’d take a chance on Bell over at least Walker and Walsh. He’s got enough of a track record (even pre-2019) that I’m not too concerned about two bad months, and hitting 1-2 spots behind Soto should be great for the RBIs, even if his power doesn’t really bounce back.

Dan Greermember
1 year ago
Reply to  Groundout

If you buy into the effect of hitting coaches, Kevin Long of the fly ball revolution is now working with Josh Bell.