Why We Missed: Disappointing Hitters

It’s time for the final installment of “Why We Missed”. The breakout pitchers and hitters are done along with the disappointing pitchers so it’s time to dive into hitting busts.

To determine who disappointed, I collected the information on any hitters who saw more than a $10 decline in value from their draft-day price. I didn’t want to just use the difference in ranks because the gap from #1 to #15 could be over $10 but the difference between #250 to #300 might just be $1. I only analyzed the hitters who had a positive draft day value.

Like with the pitchers, injuries dominate the list with about three-quarters of the 43 hitters spending some time of the IL. Most of the rest just sucked. So here are the hitters and some observation.

Hitting Disappointments
Y-1 Y
Name (43 Total) PA OPS PA OPS Age Injury Bad OPS OPS drop SB drop Rookie Got platooned Superhyped
Giancarlo Stanton 705 .852 72 .894 29 x
Miguel Andujar 606 .855 49 .271 24 x .271 -.585
Travis Shaw 587 .825 270 .551 29 .551 -.274
Scooter Gennett 638 .847 139 .568 29 .568 -.279
Cedric Mullins II 191 .671 74 .337 24 x .337 -.334
Daniel Palka 449 .778 93 .372 27 .372 -.406
Matt Kemp 506 .818 62 .493 34 x .493 -.325
Jose Ramirez 698 .939 542 .806 26 x -.133 -10
Jed Lowrie 680 .801 8 .125 35 x .125 -.676
Aaron Judge 498 .919 447 .921 27 x
Francisco Cervelli 404 .809 160 .649 33 x .649 -.159
Odubel Herrera 597 .730 139 .629 27 x .629 -.101
Jose Peraza 683 .742 403 .631 25 .631 -.111 -16
Mike Trout 608 1.088 600 1.083 27 x -13
Lewis Brinson 406 .577 248 .457 25 .457 -.120
Tyler White 237 .888 279 .612 28 x .612 -.275
Jesus Aguilar 566 .890 369 .714 29 .714 -.177 x
Justin Upton 613 .808 256 .724 31 x .724
Mike Zunino 405 .669 289 .544 28 x .544 -.126
Ender Inciarte 660 .705 230 .740 28 x -21
Mitch Haniger 683 .859 283 .778 28 x
Khris Davis 654 .874 533 .679 31 x .679 -.195
Brandon Nimmo 535 .886 254 .783 26 x .783 -.104
Mookie Betts 614 1.079 706 .915 26 -.163 -14
Gregory Polanco 535 .839 167 .726 27 x .726 -.113 -9
Carlos Correa 468 .728 321 .926 24 x
Andrew McCutchen 682 .792 262 .834 32 x
Matt Carpenter 677 .897 492 .726 33 x .726 -.171
Joey Wendle 545 .789 263 .633 29 x .633 -.156 -8
Jung Ho Kang 6 .667 185 .617 32 x .617
Jake Lamb 238 .655 226 .676 28 x .676
Aaron Hicks 581 .833 255 .769 29 x .769
Billy Hamilton 556 .626 353 .564 28 .564 -12
Robinson Cano 348 .845 423 .736 36 x .736 -.109
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. \N \N 514 .772 20 x .772 x x
Tyler O’Neill 142 .803 151 .723 24 x .723
Kyle Tucker 72 .439 72 .857 22 x x
Andrew Benintendi 661 .830 615 .774 24 -11
Leonys Martin 353 .747 264 .619 31 .619 -.128
Dee Gordon 588 .637 421 .663 31 x .663 -8
Greg Allen 291 .654 256 .636 26 .636 -13 x
Yonder Alonso 574 .738 335 .641 32 .641
Stephen Piscotty 605 .821 393 .720 28 x .720 -.101
Average 503 .792 290 .672 28.2 30 .605 -.222 -12.3 2 2 2
Median 570 .808 263 .679 28 .635 -.161 -12

Thoughts:

  • Again, 30 of the 43 spent some time on the IL with their median plate appearances dropping from 581 in 2018 to 259 last season. Additionally, the performance of these hitters suffered with 16 seeing their OPS drop by at least 100 points. After combining all their OPS differences, they saw a drop of 101 points. It seems like most of these hitters who come back from injuries under-perform compared to their previous season. The injury likely caused the production drop either before and/or after the IL stint.
  • The average age for the injured hitters was 28.6 years which is a little older than the league’s average age of 27.9. Those who were 29 years and older saw a median drop of 282 plate appearances while the younger group saw about half the decline (152). When the older players broke down, they had problems getting back into the lineup.
  • Of the 13 who didn’t go on the IL, three didn’t completely suck (Betts, Benintendi, Tucker). Of the other 10, they saw their median OPS drop from .744 to .593. With a .650 OPS being around the level which keeps a hitter as a major league regular, all but one were below the threshold. The exception was Aguilar who moved to a platoon role. Also, their median playing time dropped by about 300 PA (561 to 267). From my First Pitch Arizona presentation, I found that job security can be shaky for hitters who have a projected sub-.750 OPS.
  • Betts and Benintendi under-performed their projections because their stolen base totals dropped by at least 10.

It’s tough to find any new actionable items besides ones I already follow like take the player who is 1) good at baseball and 2) younger. One item I need to look into is to see if an early-season injury hampers projected production. While there are always exceptions to a rule, it might be worth lowering expectations of someone already hurt beyond just replacement production.

I need further examine some injury information with pitchers and these hitters. After that, it’s time to dive into more of my offseason to-do list. If you’re not moving ahead, you’re falling behind.

We hoped you liked reading Why We Missed: Disappointing Hitters 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’m really looking forward to the SB and SwStk% vs K% items from your to-do list, Jeff.

Also, you have the penmanship of a doctor.