New Everyday Players — Sep 12, 2022

Just when I thought I might be finished for a little while reviewing new everyday player, another crop appears! So let’s continue reviewing until the end of the world.

Mickey Moniak | OF LAA

Acquired at the beginning of August from the Phillies as part of the Noah Syndergaard trade, Moniak fractured his finger just days after debuting with the Angels. He finally returned last Friday and has started three straight games, between left and center fields. It’s pretty clear that the Angels will do whatever necessary to avoid making Jo Adell an everyday player, so Moniak is the current beneficiary.

He enjoyed a power breakout last year at Triple-A, as his HR/FB rate jumped into double digits for the first time, while his ISO hopped over .200. He took advantage of that blooming power by hitting fly balls at an above average rate. It’s a small sample size, but he maintained the double digit HR/FB rates during his short time at Double-A and Triple-A this season, with ISO marks well over .200. It suggests he could deliver at least league average power.

He also owns some speed and has stolen double digit bases three times during his career. He actually upped his stolen base rate, stealing five in just 91 plate appearances at Triple-A this season. Perhaps he could contribute modestly in both power and speed, which is typically an undervalued skill combination in fantasy leagues.

He doesn’t have great plate discipline, with mediocre, at best, walk and strikeout rates, plus an unimpressive history of BABIP marks. Overall, he’s far from exciting and really only worth consideration in deep leagues now given the playing time. He might be good for a handful of homers + steals, but not much else.

Alec Burleson | OF STL

The ninth ranked Cardinals prospect, Burleson was recalled when Dylan Carlson hit the IL. The 23-year-old had shown excellent power in both High-A and Double-A last year, with HR/FB rates hovering around 30% and ISO marks of at least .200. However, upon his first taste of Triple-A action, his power output plummeted, as his HR/FB rate slipped into single digits and ISO fell to just .123. The good news is that his power rebounded at that same level this year, with his HR/FB rate jumping back up to 17.2% and ISO returning to the .200 level. That’s far from elite, or even impressive, but allows us to ignore his power outage during his first go-around at Triple-A.

What interests me most here is his relatively low strikeout rate. Though his 20.95 strikeout rate at Double-A last year was pretty solid, he improved to the mid-teens at Triple-A both last and this year. I love to see low strikeout rates combined with above average power. My only concern is a consistent SwStk% between 11% and 12%. That doesn’t typically pair with a mid-teen strikeout rate, so I have to imagine he must be one of those free-swingers, who swings so frequently, he eventually puts the ball in play before getting a chance to strike out or earn a walk. It’s a risky skill set.

In five games since being recalled, Burleson has only started three, starting at DH twice and right field once. As there is more opportunity at DH, he’ll likely see the majority of his time there, but it increases the pressure to hit or he’ll quickly lose his lineup slot.

David Villar | 3B SF

Villas was recalled at the beginning of September, and after not starting during his first day in the Majors, he has started nine straight between first, second, and third base. The 25-year-old was ranked as the team’s 33rd best prospect, but his minor league performances suggest he wasn’t someone to ignore.

While his power through last year was perfectly solid, with mid-teen HR/FB rates in two of three seasons and ISO marks well above .200, he actually took that power to a new level this year at Triple-A. His HR/FB rate surged to 27.8%, while his ISO spiked to an elite .342. Boosting his power output is an extreme fly ball tendency. He has never posted a FB% below 44%! So far, he hasn’t had any issue lifting flies in the Majors, as his FB% sits at a typical 46.4%. The one concern I have here is a maxEV of just 103.9 MPH. It’s rare enough to see a maxEV that low to begin with, and when you do, it’s not going to normally be paired with a 19.2% HR/FB rate or .228 ISO. So I’m skeptical he’ll be able to continue displaying such power if he doesn’t start hitting the ball with greater exit velocity.

I do love his plate discipline trends. His walk rate has risen as he has climbed the minor league ladder, culminating at an elite 15% at Triple-A, while his SwStk% has declined every step of the way. It’s real proof of his improvement as a hitter.

Because of his high FB%, I’m not expecting much from his BABIP and resulting batting average, but I’m definitely interested in an OBP league. I can’t figure out what to expect from his power though, but he’s worth gambling on.

Tyler Naquin | OF NYM

Acquired from the Reds before the trade deadline, Naquin had mostly served as a reserve outfielder. However, with incumbent Starling Marte hitting the IL, Naquin had started four straight games in right field before sitting against a lefty. He should continue to handle the strong side of a platoon at the position.

Naquin’s power has been up and down since his 2016 debut. Then, he posted what remains his career high of a 22.2% HR/FB and .218 ISO. His power tumbled after his debut, but then slowly rebounded beginning in 2019 and surged again last year. This year, he has upped his FB% to a career high and the first time it’s sat over 40%. While his HR/FB rate has fallen back to his 2019-2020 years, his Barrel% is at a career high and maxEV remains strong. He therefore looks to be in a good position to continue contributing in home runs.

As the power has come back, so has the strikeouts and swings and misses. His strikeout rate is sitting at the third highest of his career, while his SwStk% is second highest. It’ll make it difficult for him to contribute in batting average, especially given his newfound extreme fly ball tendency.

Given his role now, he’s probably not worth using in shallow mixed leagues, but a consideration in deep mixed, and obviously a must-start in NL-Only leagues.

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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23 days ago

Burleson is not an everyday player. As you said, he’s only started 3 out of 5 games, and he only got that much playing time with some regulars getting a day off this past weekend. At best, he’s only a short-side platoon player (and only until Carlson returns). Donovan and Pujols will continue to get most of the starts at DH; while O’Neill and Nootbaar will continue to start in the outfield, and Dickerson plays OF vs. RHP.

Last edited 23 days ago by Lanidrac