Josh Reddick: Improvement to Believe In

Josh Reddick is having an outstanding first season with the A’s after previously playing for Boston. The 25-year-old left handed hitter has an unexpected 25 HRs this season to go with a .253/.325/.500 triple slash line. Did Reddick change much from his time Boston? Was there some possible signs that Reddick had a chance to break out this season?

The main factor affecting his fantasy value in Boston was his playing time. Over 3 MLB season he had only 403 PA’s and hit .248/.290/.416 with 10 HRs (0.025 HR/PA). Not exactly numbers that will win a fantasy title.

While his MLB stats where not great, the 75th rated prospect by Baseball America in 2010 had good minor league numbers. He hit .260/.333/.516 with a 0.043 HR/PA. They were not can’t miss numbers, but respectable. Going into 2012, his projection numbers were fairly consistent except Marcels which only uses MLB data.

The first main difference is that the projection systems didn’t expect for him to play much (345 to 546 PA). So far in 2012, he is at 481 PA. If before the season, someone expected him to have 600 PA, his HR values would have been extrapolated to be:

Projection System: HRs
RotoChamp: 19.2
Bill James: 25.7
ZiPS: 16.0
RotoChamp: 15.3
Marcel: 15.7

The home run values are closer to his actual 2012 values. The highest projection, prorated to 600 PAs, is equal to the number of HRs Reddick has hit in 481 PAs. Extrapolating Reddick’s 2012 HRs to 600 PAs, he will hit 31 HRs. While this value is still within reason for the Bill James projection, it is twice the value of 3 of the other projections.

The reason for the HR increase is clear, more HR per flyball (FB). While Reddick’s FB% has gone from 46% to 48%, his HR/FB value has jumped from 7.4% in 2011 to 16.1% in 2012. More HRs usually means one of two changes, more distance per flyball or turning on the ball more to take advantage of shorter fences in the corners. Using data from, his average HR and Fly ball distance from 2009 to 2011 was 273 ft. He showed little pull tendencies for a left-handed hitter with his average fly ball landing position being dead center (angle = -0.3 with +90 being RF corner and -90 being LF corner).

For 2012 his average distance has increased 9 ft to 282 ft. Also, he is pulling the ball more (angle = +5.0). Josh’s increase in power is for real.

One note of caution is that players with similar batted ball angles and distances average a HR/FB rate south of Reddick’s value (+/- 1 on angle and +/-2 on distance, min 50 FBs).

Name Count Distance (ft) Average Angle HR/FB
Reddick, Josh 90 282.1 5.0 16.1%
Pena, Carlos 78 283.7 5.5 13.5%
Martinez, J.D. 56 280.1 5.1 12.4%
Phillips, Brandon 78 280.9 4.4 11.4%
Moustakas, Mike 94 281.8 5.8 11.3%

With his batted ball profile, he looks to have a decent and improved HR/FB rate. It just might not be as good as his current rate.

Josh Reddick is having a breakout season for two main reasons, he is getting constant playing time and is hitting for more power. The only possible red flag is that his HR/FB rate may see a small decrease, but it will be better than his previous value.

We hoped you liked reading Josh Reddick: Improvement to Believe In by Jeff Zimmerman!

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Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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I think Bill James’ projection was based on something very simple, which was noted in the article: FB%. Take a look at the FB% leaderboards, there is a strong correlation to ISO there. Instead of just relying on regression, James used known strong skills correlations to peg the power increase. I was surprised to read how down on Reddick Red Sox fans were at the end of last season, because the few times I saw him last year I was really impressed. He had already improved his approach immensely before he got to Boston. My only question would be is he able to get the BA up in the near future, or is a low BA, high ISO guy who he is?