The 2017 Brls/BBE Decliners

Yesterday, I shared 19 hitters whose Brls/BBE marks spiked from 2016 to 2017. A surge in this metric usually coincides with a jump in HR/FB rate, and sure enough, 18 of the 19 batters did enjoy an increase. Now let’s check in on the hitters who suffered a decline in their Brls/BBE marks. We shall assume that each of their HR/FB rates also declined. Was this actually the case?

2017 Brls/BBE Decliners
Name 2016 Brls/BBE  2017 Brls/BBE  2016 HR/FB 2017 HR/FB Brls/BBE Diff HR/FB Diff
Mark Trumbo 17.4% 7.1% 24.6% 13.8% -10.3% -10.8%
Adam Rosales 11.8% 3.0% 21.7% 8.8% -8.8% -12.9%
Tommy Pham 17.3% 9.3% 34.6% 26.7% -8.0% -7.9%
Evan Longoria 12.8% 5.2% 15.5% 10.5% -7.6% -5.0%
Gary Sanchez 18.8% 11.8% 40.0% 25.4% -7.0% -14.6%
Tyler Flowers 13.1% 6.3% 10.5% 15.2% -6.8% 4.7%
Yasmani Grandal 13.9% 7.4% 25.2% 17.7% -6.5% -7.5%
Miguel Cabrera 16.5% 10.5% 22.1% 13.4% -6.0% -8.7%
Chris Carter 17.8% 11.8% 23.8% 14.5% -6.0% -9.3%
Evan Gattis 11.2% 5.5% 24.1% 11.2% -5.7% -12.9%
Ian Desmond 8.2% 2.7% 18.2% 13.2% -5.5% -5.0%
Jonathan Lucroy 7.7% 2.4% 15.8% 5.7% -5.3% -10.1%
Tommy Joseph 12.5% 7.3% 18.9% 15.3% -5.2% -3.6%
Troy Tulowitzki 10.2% 5.0% 15.1% 10.4% -5.2% -4.7%
Drew Butera 5.1% 0.0% 12.1% 5.5% -5.1% -6.6%
Xander Bogaerts 6.2% 1.3% 11.4% 7.2% -4.9% -4.2%
Joc Pederson 13.5% 8.7% 23.1% 15.5% -4.8% -7.6%
Kennys Vargas 13.8% 9.1% 21.7% 20.8% -4.7% -0.9%
Addison Russell 10.4% 5.7% 14.2% 12.5% -4.7% -1.7%
Brad Miller 10.6% 6.0% 20.4% 10.8% -4.6% -9.6%
Albert Pujols 9.9% 5.4% 15.0% 12.0% -4.5% -3.0%
Group Avg (unweighted) 12.3% 6.3% 20.4% 13.6% -6.1% -6.8%

Would you look at that, Mark Trumbo heads the list, as he went from more than double the league average Brls/BBE in 2016 to around the league average this season. His HR/FB rate has really been up and down throughout his career, so it’s anyone’s guess what you’re going to get in 2018. If nothing else, there will actually be some room for profit this draft season at least.

Don’t freak Tommy Pham phans, he sits third on this list simply because of his absurd small sample 2016. Of course he was never going to repeat that mark, and just below 10% is still strong enough (though it in no way supports the hefty 26.7% HR/FB rate he posted!). While he showed respectable enough power in the minors, it was nowhere near enough to suggest a 25.9% career MLB HR/FB rate so far over 758 at-bats. This is especially surprising given that he’s already 29! Because he also steals bases, I feel like there may be enough non-believers that if his playing time is secure, he might end up being undervalued.

Aaaaaaaand this is why I have no hope for Evan Longoria in San Francisco.

Well, duh, Gary Sanchez was going to regress this season, but damn, 11.8% is still highly impressive. I’m still not sure where this massive power came from though as it certainly didn’t appear in the minors (like Pham, his HR/FB rate were solid, but certainly didn’t suggest this).

Well that’s interesting — Tyler Flowers‘ Brls/BBE plunged, and yet his HR/FB rate rose 50%. It’s not supposed to happen that way! Coming regression means he might be overvalued in leagues that highly value catchers.

Speaking of catchers, what happened to Yasmani Grandal? Even in 2015, his Brls/BBE sat at a robust 12.1%, so this is quite the slip-up. Of course, his HR/FB rate merely dropped to his pre-2016 levels (of which he’ll probably never reach again), but he deserved a more significant falloff.

This doesn’t mean the end of the world for Miguel Cabrera like you may think. His 2016 mark represented a major spike over 2015, which got him on this list in the first place, and his 2017 mark was only marginally below that 2015 level. He also underperformed his xHR/FB rate. He’s a real perplexing player to project because his age and health right now are making it difficult to count on a rebound. I still think there’s strong skills in there, I just don’t know if his body will allow him to display those skills again.

So much for an Ian Desmond Coors Field explosion. It actually should have been worse given that pitiful 2.7% Brls/BBE mark. That’s in the same vicinity as power legends Cesar Hernandez, Delino DeShields, and Jacoby Ellsbury. Of course, injuries likely played a role, as he dealt with a fractured finger, then a strained right calf which pushed him to the DL twice.

I think we can safely assume that Jonathan Lucroy had his career power year in 2016 and he won’t be sitting in the mid-teens in HR/FB rate anytime soon again. I’m curious where the free agent ends up, but he’ll be a fantasy contributor for batting average and counting stats due to lots of playing time, rather than a real power source.

When your only skill is power and your power wanes, you lose your job. Sorry Tommy Joseph.

Is this the Xander Bogaerts any of you actually expected? Maybe this is the year fantasy owners will stop massively overvaluing him at the draft.

I decided to end this list with Albert Pujols, a sad reminder that his career is nearing an end. I still remember when he debuted in 2001 and one of my best friends and I thought it was absolutely crazy that he started the year in the Majors having spent just one full season in the minors with just 15 Triple-A plate appearances. He was that once in a generation hitter who could seamlessly make the leap.

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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Your take on Bogaerts is unfair without at least mentioning he played half the season with a wrist injury sustained on a Faria HBP on July 6. Prior to that, he was hitting .308/.361/.455 with 20 doubles in 341 PA.

He’ll be 25 on Opening Day 2018, and I’m still buying.