ALTERNATIVE: First Look at Scoresheet 2020 Player Lists

The Scorehseet 2020 Player Lists were released this past Tuesday, January 21. Taking a first look at the lists, we’ll go over some of the large defensive range changes from the 2019 list and then go over some players that might be on the edge of retention lists.

Defensive Range Changes for 2020

These tables list notable players with a +/- 0.5 change in defensive range from 2019 to 2020. These are measured at the players’ main listed defensive position.

IMPROVED           POS  2019  2020  CHANGE
=================  ===  ====  ====  =======
Joey Gallo         OF   2.04  2.12  +0.8
Christian Walker   1B   2.85  2.93  +0.8
Michael Chavis     2B   4.18  4.25  +0.7
Eduardo Escobar    2B   4.17  4.28  +0.7
Adam Frazier       2B   4.28  4.30  +0.6
Ryan McMahon       2B   4.20  4.26  +0.6
Brian Anderson     3B   4.60  4.65  +0.5
Rafael Devers      3B   4.58  4.63  +0.5
Austin Hays        OF   2.10  2.15  +0.5
Cesar Hernandez    2B   4.18  4.23  +0.5
Teoscar Hernandez  OF   2.05  2.10  +0.5
Adalberto Mondesi  SS   4.77  4.82  +0.5

Something must have happened with the overall range rankings at 2B because almost half of this list come form the position. One explanation is that most of them played a lot of 2B after not playing the position much previously (Chavis, Escobar, Frazier, McMahon), so they appear to have acquitted themselves well upon further exposure at the position. All three of the OF (Gallo, Hays, T.Hernandez) listed moved from a corner position to playing some centerfield. Two players moved from average to elite (Walker, Mondesi), while two others moved from poor to adequate (C.Hernandez, Devers).

 

DECREASED          POS  2019  2020  CHANGE
=================  ===  ====  ====  =======
Yordan Alvarez     OF   2.10  2.02  -0.8
Eloy Jimenez       OF   2.10  2.04  -0.6
Jurickson Profar   2B   4.24  4.18  -0.6
Charlie Blackmon   OF   2.12  2.07  -0.5
Hunter Dozier      3B   2.61  2.57  -0.5
Vladimir Guerrero  3B   2.65  2.60  -0.5
Colin Moran        3B   2.61  2.56  -0.5
Rougned Odor       2B   4.28  4.23  -0.5

There are three players who were rookies last year who started out at the basic average at their positions who proved to be poor defenders (Alvarez, Guerrero, Jimenez). With the 2B, one fell from average to poor (Profar) and another lost his gains from 2018-19 (Odor). The two 3B (Dozier, Moran) moved from barely adequate to barely usable at their positions.

 

Potential Keepers

American League

Tommy La Stella (2B, LAA) is on the wrong side of 30, but his breakout season looks very well supported. He’s always had decent hit tool (.279 career xBA). His power has fluctuated wildly, but his 135 HctX from 2019 is elite. He also has an elite 90% ct% with a 0.71 Eye, supporting continued success in batting average at least. He still only had 292 AB due to injury, but assuming he can stay on the field he should be a great value.

Mark Canha (OF, OAK) is another 31-year old who may be a more obvious potential keeper coming off a monster 2019 season, but his was not as well supported. Canha’s career xBA is .249 and was just .256 in 2019, and yet he actually batted .271. He spiked his walk rate to 13%, up by 5% from his previous career high. He also vastly outperformed his xPX of 100 with a PX of 123. He could still be a good value, but a repeat of the .913 OPS does not seem likely with the underlying numbers.

It is hard to find a single starting pitcher to recommend in this spot. I identified a list that I like, but none of them project to have a great ERA. That said, each of these pitchers has at least one intriguing trait: Trent Thornton (RHP, TOR) needs to make strides with his command but he has a good 92.9 mph FB and strikes out almost a batter per inning. Daniel Norris (LHP, DET) doesn’t have anything flashy, but he posted a 97 BPV in 2019. Cleveland opened up a rotation spot for Zach Plesac (RHP, CLE) in the Corey Kluber (RHP, TEX) trade, and he posted a decent 1.23 WHIP in his 116 innings in 2019.

National League

Tommy Edman (2B, STL) was called up in early June 2019 as a utility player, and while he continued to play all around the diamond, he earned his way into regular playing time. The BaseballHQ.com projection for 514 at bats is still below full playing time, but the positional flexibility (2B, 3B, and supposed to play OF in 2020) combined with his sparkling debut make him an intriguing player. He doesn’t walk much (5% bb%), but he makes good contact (81% ct%) and has a little pop (108 xPX). He also brings a lot of speed (144 Spd) which for Scoresheet can translate to more first to third and scoring from second baserunning plays as well as SB.

A couple of under-the-radar options at shortstop are Kevin Newman (SS, PIT) and Nick Ahmed (SS, ARI). Much like Edman, Newman doesn’t walk much (5% bb%) but he makes even more contact (87% ct%). He doesn’t have much raw power (50 xPX), but he as great speed (153 Spd) and his .285 xBA says the hit tool is real. Ahmed projects to have league average power (99 xPX) and slightly less speed (123 Spd) than Newman or Edman. However, Ahmed also has an excellent defensive range (4.87).

Adrian Houser (RHP, MIL) projects into the Brewers starting rotation for 2020 after pitching as a starter and out of the bullpen in 2019. Houser had a 1.47 ERA as a reliever and 4.57 ERA as a starter. But taking a look at his game log, he had a 3.28 ERA with 9.8 Dom and 2.5 Ctl in his last 12 starts. The BHQ projection has him around 4.33 ERA, closer to a repeat of all his games started in 2019, but there is opportunity for surplus value here.

Joey Votto (1B, CIN) and Buster Posey (C, SF) have been perennial keepers for years but may deserve a closer look. Votto has seen a precipitous decline over the last two years. After posting an OBA over .400 in nine of the previous ten seasons, he fell to .357 OBA in 2019. His .253 xBA and 86 PX are mediocre for a second division middle infielder much less a 1B. The years behind the plate appear to have taken their toll on Posey. His power has been waning for a few years, but his HctX fell from 116 from 2017-18 to 102 in 2019. His ct% fell from 87% to 81%, and his once elite batting Eye fell to a pedestrian 0.48.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.