The title of the article is an allusion to Schott’s Miscellany, which you should definitely check out if you never have and feel compelled to know that a group of larks is called an exaltation or that a member of the 32nd degree of Freemasonry is known as a Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret.
–DL and Call-Up Player Pace Comparisons–
When making player comparisons on fantasy statistics pages, it’s easy to get blinded by seasonal totals. Those work pretty well over the first month of the season, but now that we are a week into the second half, many players have experienced DL stints or have been called up since the start of the season. Even for players who have made a minimum stay on the DL, the lost plate appearances over a two-week period can be enough to hold them behind comparable players in the counting statistics.
I was curious if there were any players I had overlooked for that reason, so I prorated every player’s statistics to 95 games, which is the number of games the game leaders have played. Here are the names that stood out to me with a (mostly) healthier comparable player.
Carlos Correa: 21.1 prorated home runs
Similar Pace: Manny Machado (21.0)
It’s pretty obvious that Carlos Correa is a star, and perhaps the best testament to that is how similar his prorated numbers this season are to breakout player Manny Machado’s. In addition to their home run paces, both players have batting averages in the .290s with similar stolen base and run paces. The closest player to Correa’s home run pace who should maintain shortstop eligibility in 2016 is Jhonny Peralta at 14.6. Correa may be the No. 1 shortstop in drafts next season.
Mitch Moreland: 21.4 prorated home runs
Similar Pace: Adrian Gonzalez (21.0)
Mitch Moreland is enjoying the best year of his career in pretty much every respect, but the power numbers are the most important from a fantasy perspective. The left-handed Moreland has traditionally had pretty big splits, and while that has continued this season, he has fared better versus both right-handed (156 wRC+ in 2015 vs. 111 for his career) and left-handed (84 wRC+ in 2015 vs. 71 for his career) pitchers. There are no clear indicators in his peripherals how he has improved—his swing and contact rates are similar to what they were in recent seasons as is his ratio of soft-to-hard contact—but neither are there red flags.
Marlon Byrd: 21.4 prorated home runs
Similar Pace: Jose Bautista (21.6)
Marlon Byrd has continued his late-career power spike in 2015, but a fractured wrist has somewhat hidden that continued power production and likely scared many owners away from using Byrd since his return. You shouldn’t be shy. Byrd has hit six of his 16 total home runs since his June 19 activation, which is actually a better home run pace than he had pre-injury. It’s probably not fair to expect him to continue to match Jose Bautista’s homer pace, but Byrd is projected to hit 12 home runs over the rest of the season by ZiPS, which is tied for sixth most among outfielders.
Maikel Franco: 15.8 prorated home runs
Similar Pace: Freddie Freeman (17.3)
Maikel Franco has been one of the few bright spots for the 34-63 Phillies this season. In addition to hitting a sustainable .283 with a high contact rate (78.0 percent), Franco has 10 home runs in just 252 plate appearances. He hit just 15 home runs in 556 plate appearances in a down year in Triple-A in 2014. Franco’s development in the minors prior to his poor 2014 season supported this power display. Franco does not current share the exceptional power potential of the elite corner infield bats, but his moderate power and contact ability should make him a poor man’s Freddie Freeman.
Devon Travis: 11.9 prorated home runs
Similar Pace: Kolten Wong (10.6)
Devon Travis’ shoulder injury—not to mention the play of Carlos Correa—has taken some of the wind out of his rookie of the year candidate sails. Meanwhile, since he returned on July 26, Travis has not yet hit a home run. Travis never hit more than 10 bombs at any stop in the minors, and with a groundball rate north of 50 percent, it’s unrealistic to expect Travis to recapture his early-season power pace, even if he fully recovers from his injury.
Billy Burns: 26.9 prorated stolen bases
Delino Deshields Jr.: 25.3 prorated stolen bases
Similar Pace: Ben Revere (23.0)
Neither Billy Burns nor Delino Deshields Jr. received the attention of the elite prospect call-ups of 2015 like Joc Pederson or Kris Bryant, but their speed makes them two of the best rookies from a fantasy perspective. Burns is fast enough to sustain a high BABIP, but Eno Sarris explained how his high popup rate and (relatively for his type of hitter) low groundball rate could threaten his current .350 BABIP. Meanwhile, Burns has walked just 3.9 percent of his plate appearances this season. The strikeout rate (13.7 percent) is also low, but I’m concerned he will have fewer opportunities to steal over the second half if he cannot reach base as frequently. Deshields has an even higher BABIP (.374), but he does not pop up nearly as often as Burns, and he walks (11.9 percent). That makes him a safer bet to maintain his current steals pace.
Scott Spratt is a fantasy sports writer for FanGraphs and Pro Football Focus. He is a Sloan Sports Conference Research Paper Competition and FSWA award winner. Feel free to ask him questions on Twitter – @Scott_Spratt