Early 2019 Barrels Per Fly Ball + Line Drive Laggards

Yesterday, I shared and discussed the hitters who were leading in barrels per fly ball + line drive rate. Let’s now take a peek at the bottom dwellers. Of course, there are going to be your typical suspects, but there are some names that are surprising.

Barrels/Fly Ball + Line Drive Rate Laggards

In a bit of a surprise, Rio Ruiz won the Orioles’ starting third base job out of spring training. While his walk, strikeout, and batted ball distribution rates all look solid enough, his sub-.300 wOBA is not. Although his HR/FB rate sits just into double digits, it’s supported by a weak 2.2% barrel rate, meaning his home run power could decline if he doesn’t start barreling up those balls more frequently. In deeper leagues, it would be wise to scoop up Ryan Mountcastle now, though he has mostly played first base in the minors this year.

What has happened to Jackie Bradley Jr.?! This is one of the ugliest skills lines I’ve come across. Both his SwStk% and strikeout rate are up at career highs. He’s stopped hitting line drives, while those batted balls plus fly balls have been turned into grounders (he ranks third in grounder rate). His BABIP sits at just .230 and he has yet to homer. Usually a batter’s skills will hold up during a slow start, but everything here is out of whack. At his age, his offense shouldn’t fall off like this. I don’t know what to make of it.

So much for Wilmer Flores‘ sleeper appeal coming into the season with his best chance at recording a career high in plate appearances. The playing time has come, but he hasn’t done a whole lot with it at the plate. The strikeout rate is fantastic and pulls you in, but he still hits too many pop-ups, and is showing no power.

And this is why Matt Kemp was released. When your one real offensive skill is power and it disappears, your career is at risk of ending.

Tyler White was an interesting sleeper as he figures to serve as the every day DH for the Astros. That hasn’t happened, as his results haven’t forced the Astros’ hand into playing him every day. But aside from the lack of power and skyhigh strikeout rate, his other metrics look excellent (walk rate and batted ball distribution). With the Astros insane offensive depth, I doubt he’ll be given another extended chance to win back an every day job.

I couldn’t understand why Chris Taylor was coming so cheap in drafts this year, so unfortunately I scooped him up in several. Then he lost his starting job to Enrique Hernandez, who started off blazing himself, furthering himself from Taylor. Hernandez has cooled down though, but Taylor’s wOBA still sits below .300 and his power hasn’t been very impressive. So who knows if he’ll take over the starting job or the team will continue to mix and match, making it tough to play him in shallower leagues.

Eric Sogard, where is this coming from?! More walks than strikeouts, a double digit HR/FB rate for the first time, a sudden fly ball tendency, and a wOBA over .400! His barrels rate suggests the HR/FB rate is a fluke sitting in the teens, but his other metrics look like that of a star. What?!

Remember when Kolten Wong hit three homers over the first week and everyone was rushing out to pick him up or win him with a hefty FAAB bid? Well, he hasn’t homered since April 13 and his barrels rate suggests he’s not on his way to a breakout after all.

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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Brad Johnsonmember
3 years ago

fwiw, I’ve been in on Sogard since his Brewers breakout. There’s a nice set of skills present when everything is clicking.

3 years ago
Reply to  Brad Johnson

Sogard or La Stella?

Brad Lipton
3 years ago
Reply to  Brad Johnson

Even when everything is clicking, it still looks pale next to what several other teams have in the middle infield. The guy will be 33 in a few days and he’s had 4 seasons in the majors where he had at least 299 plate appearances.

His career SLG in the majors is 0.325.

He should not be a reason the Jays wait on Gurriel, Jr. and/or Biggio.

Kudos and full marks to Sogard, though, for keeping at it and still living the dream (and making the most of his current opportunity).