Gary Sanchez came up and completely dominated. In just 53 games he triple-slashed .299/.376/.657 with 20 homers, 42 RBIs and 34 runs. You may have known he was good, but you may not have realized he was THAT good. Many owners are looking at those numbers, and salivating at just how good he could be over the course of a full season. Well, I have a secret for you. He is going to regress.
Why do I think he will regress? Well, during his amazing run in 2016, he posted an off the charts .358 ISO. Now, why do I call that off the charts? Well, of all qualified hitters, David Ortiz led the league in ISO with a mark of .305. Not only was he the only hitter with an ISO over .300, but the next closest qualified hitter was Brian Dozier, at .278.
I dug a little deeper and saw that if he qualified, his .358 mark would have been the highest ISO of any
hitter since 2005 (I did not go further to avoid skewed numbers in the steroid era). Jose Bautista posted a .357 ISO in 2011, which was the only full season in recent history that compares to the power run Sanchez had last season. The highest ISO posted over the past three seasons was Bryce Harper, who had a .319 mark in 2015. So, unless you think Sanchez is the best power hitter in the league, there is some obvious regression to be had.
Another concern with Sanchez is that he struck out in one-quarter of his at bats. That could be an issue, especially if pitchers start to identify a weakness in his game.
Now, before you think all I am doing is bashing Sanchez, I still think he should be the third catcher off the board in Roto and points leagues. There is a ton to like here, as he made hard contact 41.8 percent of the time, and ranked third in barrels (well struck balls) per plate appearance, at 10.5 percent. Pretty much he either struck out or drove the ball. Additionally, he walked 10.5 percent of the time, which ranked 11th amongst all catchers with 220 plate appearances. His .376 OBP was second at the position just behind Francisco Cervelli (.377). I think there is a good possibility he could hit 30 homers this season.
However, my issue with Sanchez is not where he will be drafted at the position, but the price I am expecting owners to have to pay to land him. I am expecting him to be this year’s Kyle Schwarber, who we saw creep into the second round at times last season. I have said since last season that I think Sanchez will be this year’s Schwarber, and I still believe he will be.
In a recent mock draft I participated in with other writers, Sanchez went in the seventh round. I have no problem paying that price, in fact, I would happily take him there. However, according to early NFBC ADP, Sanchez is the 43rd player off the board, meaning you would have to select him in the early fourth round. I expect that to climb even higher in drafts as we get closer to opening day.
Puig once again disappointed in 2016, finishing with just 11 homers, 45 runs, 45 RBIs, five steals and a .263 average. He played so poorly that he was demoted to Triple-A! However, he came back up in September and was a catalyst for the Dodgers, hitting .281, with a .338 OBP, .372 wOBA. He hit four homers and drove in 11 RBIs and scored 10 runs in his 23-games after being recalled. The best sign for me was during that stretch he had a hard hit rate of 38.6 percent, which resembles the 37.5 percent mark he had in his rookie year, still his career best. Another positive, was his HR/FB rate was 23.5 percent, which is similar to his rookie season mark of 21.8 percent.
Yes, I am looking at a very small sample size, but we have seen this guy perform at a high level. I just can’t seem to quite this guy and the potential upside that is there. Unlike in years past you do not need to invest an early or mid-round pick on him. In the mock draft I referenced earlier, I was able to nab him in the 17th round. I will take him there in every draft if he’s available.
After a very slow rookie year, Tomas exploded onto the scene in 2016, hitting 31 homers. However, many Fantasy owners are still wondering if this guy is for real? Well, I’m buying into this power surge by Tomas. He profiled as a power hitter in Cuba, and put it all together this season. He had a hard hit rate of 41 percent, which was the eighth best amongst qualified hitters. That was not the only big improvement he made in 2016.
He hit more fly balls more frequently, increasing his fly ball rate from 23.2 percent in 2015, to 31.4 percent in 2016. That led to him having an elite HR/FB rate of 25 percent, which was tied for the fourth best amongst qualified hitters. That HR/FB rate puts him in elite company, power-hitter wise, as the top seven include Ryan Braun, Khris Davis, Nelson Cruz, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Chris Carter. I told you, elite power-hitting company.
He had eight “no doubters,” as well as seven “just enough,” and no lucky homers, according to ESPN home run tracker. He also averaged 403.5 feet on his homers. It is also a good sign that he hit 16 homers at home and 15 on the road.
I would not be surprised if his HR/FB rate dropped, costing him a few homers, but the hard hit rate is a great sign. I would expect 25-plus homers, with a .270 average. Those numbers are hard to find later in the draft, making Tomas a good value to target. He went towards the end of the 13th round in the mock draft I referenced.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio.
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