Is Yoan Moncada Disappointing in Ottoneu Leagues?

It seems that since Yoan Moncada was signed by the Boston Redsox in March of 2015 for $31.5 million, he has been a staple atop MLB prospect lists. Top-5 by Baseball America in 2016 and 2017. Number 1 by Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen this season with KATOH+ also ranking him in the top-10. This list goes on. He is an elite prospect. If you play Ottoneu, you already know that.

However, given the pedigree (and the likely fact that he has been owned since his signing in nearly all leagues) it is likely that Moncada’s performance is viewed as a disappointment to Ottoneu owners. I mean this purely on a performance basis. With an average price across in all Fangraph Points leagues of nearly $12, owners are likely expecting production from a premier prospect. With the relative ease at which young players have transitioned to the major leagues over the past few seasons, who can blame them?

Yoan Moncada Career Totals
Season Team Age BB% K% ISO wOBA wRC+
2016 Red Sox 21 5.00% 60.00% 0.053 0.228 33
2017 White Sox 22 15.00% 36.20% 0.16 0.301 86
2017 ZiPS (R) 22 11.00% 27.00% 0.15 0.307 90
2017 Steamer (R) 22 11.30% 31.90% 0.139 0.299 84
2017 Depth Charts (R) 22 11.20% 29.40% 0.144 0.303 87
Career Avg. 13.60% 39.50% 0.144 0.291 79

Starting with Longenhagen’s scouting report, I wanted to confirm that the player we are seeing now at least resembles what we should have expected prior to his debut. Even if we shouldn’t expect a finished product instantaneously, it is helpful to see confirmation of our expectations:

Even with a worse-than-average strikeout rate factored into his hit tool’s grade, I think Moncada is a future plus hitter because, when he does connect, he’s vaporizing baseballs into play and his career-long BABIP and ISO are evidence of that. I think it’s reasonable to say Moncada’s career BABIP rate will rest, at the very least, comfortably above the league-average .300 mark when you factor in his speed and the quality of contact he makes when he does connect.

So what does a player like this look like? A higher than average strikeout rate would lead us to below average contact and a higher than average swinging strike rate (these two go hand-in-hand). He should also have a higher than average exit velocity, focusing on the quality of contact that Longenhagen describes. While we don’t have exit velocity data for every season, we do have Hard hit rate here on Fangraphs for recent years, which can help us in some capacity.

In terms of exit velocity, the scouting report holds up. With Moncada displaying above average exit velocities overall, with significantly higher exit velocities on quality batted balls. He is roughly 6 mph above average on batted balls between 19 and 26 degrees and about 4 mph above average on batted balls from 26 to 39 degrees.

Looking at players who have possessed similar skills over the past 10 seasons (below average contact, below average swinging strike rates, above average hard hit rates), we arrive at a list of 476 players with the following average stat line:

Comparable Averages (2007-2017)
BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
9.17% 24.97% 0.216 0.311 0.261 0.335 0.478 0.348 116
– All seasons 2007-2017 with 300PAs
– Swinging Strike Rate above league average
– Below average contact
– Above average hard hit rate
– n=476

This is somewhat encouraging and gives an idea of potential upside with a player like Moncada. If he could run a .348 wOBA, even in today’s offensive environment, that would be a pretty valuable player. However, we are only looking at players who are making below average contact. Moncada’s contact rate, on the other hand, sits at ~66%, while the league average rate is just under ~78%. Similarly, his swinging strike rate is at 14%, while the league average rate is just over 10%. You probably guessed it based on his exit velocity, but his hard hit rate is also well above the league average rate of ~32%, at 40%. Simply put, there is a decent case to be made that Moncada is one of the more extreme players of this profile. So looking at this sample again, what happens if we limit our data slightly?

Moncada Comps (2007-2017)
Season Name Age Contact% SwStr% Hard% BB% K% ISO wOBA wRC+
Career Yoan Moncada 21-22 65.60% 14.00% 40.00% 0.136 0.395 0.144 0.291 79
2017 Aaron Judge 25 67.50% 13.60% 43.90% 17.90% 31.40% 0.294 0.409 157
2014 Giancarlo Stanton 24 69.60% 12.90% 40.40% 14.70% 26.60% 0.267 0.403 161
2015 Giancarlo Stanton 25 65.80% 15.20% 49.70% 10.70% 29.90% 0.341 0.394 155
2015 Miguel Sano 22 60.90% 15.70% 43.20% 15.80% 35.50% 0.262 0.392 149
2015 Chris Davis 29 67.00% 15.60% 41.40% 12.50% 31.00% 0.300 0.390 149
2017 Cody Bellinger 21 69.90% 13.50% 45.40% 10.60% 26.30% 0.332 0.386 142
2017 Joey Gallo 23 60.00% 19.00% 47.00% 14.60% 35.80% 0.350 0.372 129
2015 Kris Bryant 23 66.30% 16.50% 37.50% 11.80% 30.60% 0.213 0.371 136
2015 Randal Grichuk 23 69.80% 15.50% 36.90% 6.30% 31.40% 0.272 0.370 138
2017 Alex Avila 30 65.30% 12.80% 49.20% 16.20% 31.80% 0.199 0.368 129
2017 Mark Reynolds 33 67.30% 14.40% 35.20% 12.40% 29.30% 0.231 0.367 110
2017 Miguel Sano 24 62.40% 18.30% 45.30% 11.40% 35.80% 0.248 0.365 126
2016 Sean Rodriguez 31 66.70% 15.80% 43.10% 9.60% 29.80% 0.240 0.363 128
2017 Khris Davis 29 67.60% 15.30% 43.30% 11.20% 31.50% 0.289 0.358 126
2014 George Springer 24 61.00% 18.60% 39.30% 11.30% 33.00% 0.237 0.352 129
2016 Khris Davis 28 68.20% 16.60% 39.10% 6.90% 27.20% 0.277 0.349 121
2016 Chris Carter 29 64.60% 15.50% 40.50% 11.80% 32.00% 0.277 0.346 112
2014 Chris Carter 27 65.30% 16.70% 38.30% 9.80% 31.80% 0.264 0.346 125
2016 Giancarlo Stanton 26 66.70% 15.20% 42.90% 10.60% 29.80% 0.249 0.344 116
2016 Chris Davis 30 65.70% 14.60% 40.30% 13.20% 32.90% 0.239 0.340 112
2017 Mike Zunino 26 63.90% 17.80% 37.00% 8.30% 37.90% 0.253 0.339 114
2015 Joc Pederson 23 66.70% 14.00% 37.30% 15.70% 29.10% 0.206 0.335 116
2016 Miguel Sano 23 65.80% 14.00% 40.10% 10.90% 36.00% 0.227 0.334 106
2016 Brandon Moss 32 67.50% 16.50% 40.10% 8.40% 30.40% 0.259 0.329 105
2014 Colby Rasmus 27 69.80% 14.20% 40.50% 7.70% 33.00% 0.223 0.321 104
2015 Chris Carter 28 64.20% 16.40% 36.70% 12.40% 32.80% 0.228 0.319 104
2017 Chris Davis 31 67.60% 13.80% 41.70% 11.60% 36.70% 0.216 0.319 96
2017 Keon Broxton 27 62.20% 17.50% 35.40% 8.10% 37.30% 0.217 0.313 88
2016 Kirk Nieuwenhuis 28 64.40% 14.70% 35.20% 14.30% 33.90% 0.176 0.313 90
2015 Jorge Soler 23 67.80% 15.40% 36.30% 7.90% 30.00% 0.137 0.312 96
2014 Alex Avila 27 67.70% 13.20% 39.70% 13.30% 33.00% 0.141 0.311 98
2017 Matt Davidson 26 66.10% 16.60% 38.20% 4.60% 38.20% 0.249 0.310 92
2014 Chris Davis 28 66.30% 15.50% 36.00% 11.40% 33.00% 0.209 0.308 94
2017 Trevor Story 24 69.10% 14.60% 38.70% 9.50% 36.00% 0.199 0.308 71
2015 Ryan Howard 35 69.70% 16.60% 37.40% 5.40% 27.40% 0.214 0.308 93
2017 Mike Napoli 35 67.70% 13.90% 35.90% 10.30% 32.70% 0.242 0.307 85
2014 Jarrod Saltalamacchia 29 65.50% 16.20% 42.60% 12.60% 32.90% 0.142 0.304 93
2017 Brandon Moss 33 67.00% 15.80% 35.80% 10.40% 32.30% 0.219 0.299 82
2016 Ryan Howard 36 67.50% 17.90% 45.90% 7.50% 31.50% 0.257 0.298 82
2016 Colby Rasmus 29 68.00% 14.90% 35.20% 10.30% 29.00% 0.149 0.282 76
2014 Danny Espinosa 27 66.00% 17.20% 36.30% 4.90% 33.50% 0.132 0.280 75
Average 66.93% 15.10% 40.16% 11.88% 30.33% 0.246 0.356 121
– All seasons 2007-2017 with 300PAs
– Swinging Strike Rate above 12%
– Contact below 70%
– Hard Hit rate above 35%
– n=82

For display purposes, I am only including seasons from 2014 forward in the above table. All seasons from 2007 to 2017 were included in the total.  However, given the slow start to Moncada’s career, this should be encouraging. We can see that the profile of below average contact isn’t quite the negative it appears to be for Amed Rosario, when above average exit velocity also part of the profile. Does that mean that Moncada is turns things around immediately, absolutely not. But astute Ottoneu owners should recognize what will likely be a relatively easy buying opportunity this offseason given Moncada’s likely price in the mid-teens.

Oddly enough, the name that comes up most frequently on similar seasons to Moncada is Ryan Howard. I say oddly only because my perception is that if you are visiting Fangraphs, comparisons to Howard likely don’t invoke much confidence. However, given that athleticism is not an issue for Moncada, and this comparison is only based on offensive value, this would be an extremely favorable outcome. 9 Ryan Howard seasons meet the criteria we have outlined above. The next closest players are Giancarlo Stanton and Carlos Pena, both with 6 seasons. Chris Davis and Mark Reynolds each have 5 similar seasons.

Perhaps this is a further indication of the oddities of Yoan Moncada, these players are all power first corner players (mostly 1B with the exception of Stanton). However, Moncada possess athletic ability that surpasses nearly all of his offensive comparables. For fantasy players, who often make extremely quick decisions, I would encourage patience with a profile that may garner more pessimism (at first glace) than it deserves.

 

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Joe works at a consulting firm in Pittsburgh. When he isn't working or studying for actuarial exams, he focuses on baseball. He also writes @thepointofpgh. Follow him on twitter @Ottoneutrades

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Robert
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Robert

The biggest disappointment for me is that he’s not stealing bases, which was expected to provide a nice floor in this current environment. It sounds like he was dealing with shin splints for most of the year, so hopefully an off-season of recovery raises that part of his fantasy profile back to where scouts expected.