BATTERS: 2020 Gambles

This column will help you identify batters who may be overvalued heading into draft day. We'll do so by looking at batters whose 2019 production was not backed up by strong underlying support from their skills.

Here are the batters with the worst skills in 2019 among those who earned at least $5 that season:

<25 BPV, 5x5 $5+, 2019*

Name          Lg  Pos       bb%  ct%  Eye   PX   HctX  xPX  Spd  $    EV    LA    BPV
============  ==  ========  ===  ===  ====  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ====  ====  ===
Alfaro, J     NL         C   5%  64%  0.14   98    97  102   88   $9  90.8   4.7  -26
Hamilton, B   NL        CF   9%  72%  0.37   41    59   41  154   $5  78.3  12.8  -10
Chavis, M     AL     1B/2B   8%  63%  0.24  113    74   90   94   $8  88.8  12.0   -9
Castro, H     AL     CF/2B   2%  76%  0.10   50   104   67  139   $7  86.3   7.9   -7
Davis, K      AL        DH   9%  70%  0.32   89   111  126   81   $6  90.1  13.2   -5
Santana, D    NL        LF  10%  64%  0.30  118    92  128   88  $14  89.0  11.7   -2
Myers, W      NL        LF  10%  61%  0.30  119   100  121  114  $12  88.9  11.1   -1
DeShields, D  AL        CF   9%  72%  0.38   59    77   65  147  $13  82.9  10.6    0
Cabrera, M    AL        1B   9%  78%  0.44   64   119   93   60   $9  90.3  12.2    1
Sanchez, Y    NL        2B   8%  76%  0.38   42    72   49  154   $6  85.6  12.8    3
Dixon, B      AL     1B/LF   5%  65%  0.15  115    93  126  130   $7  89.5  17.0    4
McCann, J     AL         C   6%  69%  0.22  113    95   89   82  $13  89.9  10.7    5
Hosmer, E     NL        1B   6%  74%  0.25   89   102   77   86  $14  90.5   2.1    6
Marisnick, J  AL        CF   5%  67%  0.18  108    74   66  124   $6  85.0   9.7    6
Cooper, G     NL     1B/RF   8%  71%  0.30   93   100   93  101   $9  89.1   4.5    7
Perez, R      AL         C  10%  67%  0.35  116    94  120   79   $7  88.3   4.3    8
McMahon, R    NL     2B/3B  10%  67%  0.35  119   102  112   83  $13  91.4   8.4    9
Moran, C      NL        3B   6%  75%  0.26   90    89   80   80  $11  88.2  12.3    9
Berti, J      NL  SS/CF/3B   8%  71%  0.33   81    90   59  130  $11  86.6   5.5    9
Hampson, G    NL     2B/CF   7%  71%  0.27   75    74   73  168   $8  83.2  11.1    9
Tellez, R     AL     1B/DH   7%  69%  0.25  128    99  114   55   $5  90.7  14.0   10
Adames, W     AL        SS   8%  71%  0.30   94   104   91  106  $11  87.8  10.0   10
Gonzalez, M   AL  RF/3B/1B   7%  77%  0.32   81   110   99   82   $8  90.4  10.6   13
Carpenter, M  NL        3B  13%  69%  0.49   98    99  138  105   $5  87.2  18.1   13
Bote, D       NL     3B/2B  12%  69%  0.47  101    87   78   97   $7  89.7   7.7   14
Galvis, F     NL     SS/2B   5%  74%  0.19   98    97  100   93  $13  88.2  14.2   14
Solano, D     NL     2B/SS   4%  77%  0.20   74   102   77  117   $6  87.1  14.6   14
Goodrum, N    AL  SS/LF/2B  10%  67%  0.33  109    93   87  123  $11  89.3  13.2   15
Severino, P   NL         C   9%  76%  0.40   90    87   91   66   $5  87.2  12.9   15
Reyes, V      AL        CF   5%  77%  0.22   72   107   70  127   $9  86.4   8.0   15
Name          Lg  Pos       bb%  ct%  Eye   PX   HctX  xPX  Spd  $    EV    LA    BPV
============  ==  ========  ===  ===  ====  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ====  ====  ===
Ramirez, H    NL        LF   4%  78%  0.20   75    95   63  110   $9  88.9   3.8   17
Martinez, J   AL     1B/RF   9%  75%  0.43   75    97   85  116   $7  88.6   6.8   17
Arcia, O      NL        SS   8%  78%  0.39   66    89   86  117   $5  87.5   6.3   17
Fowler, D     NL        RF  13%  71%  0.52   99    92  129   91  $10  85.2  13.0   18
Dyson, J      NL        CF  10%  79%  0.55   47    80   54  147  $13  82.0   8.9   18
Chirinos, R   AL         C  12%  66%  0.41  128    90  109   93   $7  86.2  16.5   19
Jones, J      AL        CF   8%  68%  0.29  118   103  107  112   $5  91.3  13.7   20
D'Arnaud, T   NL      C/1B   8%  76%  0.38   97   109  100   70   $7  90.0  14.6   20
Bradley, J    AL        CF  10%  69%  0.36  117    85   99  102  $10  89.7   8.7   20
Walker, N     NL     1B/3B  11%  77%  0.55   76   100  100   89   $5  86.2  11.7   20
Phegley, J    NL         C   4%  80%  0.24   91    95   79   55   $5  83.7  17.0   20
Cain, L       NL        CF   8%  81%  0.47   63   103   65   94  $15  89.4   6.6   21
Piscotty, S   AL        RF   7%  76%  0.35   87   105  102   95   $6  89.1  12.6   21
Tapia, R      NL        LF   5%  77%  0.21   78    80   64  136  $11  87.4   7.3   21
Locastro, T   NL        LF   6%  79%  0.32   55    85   60  158   $6  83.4  12.3   21
Reyes, F      AL     RF/DH   9%  68%  0.30  145   112  140   45  $14  93.3   9.5   22
Voit, L       AL     1B/DH  14%  67%  0.50  120    90  118   95  $11  89.7  12.8   22
Schoop, J     AL        2B   4%  73%  0.17  119    98  103   78  $10  87.5  12.5   22
Holt, B       AL        2B   9%  78%  0.49   62    96   59  130   $5  87.5  11.0   22
Odor, R       AL        2B   9%  66%  0.29  142   104  157   85  $13  89.4  16.2   23
Vogelbach, D  AL        1B  16%  68%  0.62  130    90  123   42   $7  88.9  17.2   23
Gordon, A     AL        LF   8%  82%  0.51   70   110  107   71  $14  88.2   9.0   23
Biggio, C     AL        2B  17%  65%  0.58  119    89  151  109  $12  88.7  20.1   24
Hernandez, E  NL     2B/CF   8%  77%  0.37   92   107  107   87   $7  88.4  19.5   24
Grossman, R   AL        LF  12%  80%  0.69   60    95   81  104   $7  87.7  12.1   24
Lowe, B       AL        2B   8%  62%  0.22  156    92  130  117  $10  91.1  18.7   25
Hernandez, T  AL        LF  10%  63%  0.29  147    96  144  111  $10  91.1  15.5   25
Frazier, C    AL        RF   6%  69%  0.23  132    83  101   95   $5  88.4  15.4   25
*min 50 AB

Let's take a closer look at ten bats who are likely to be overvalued in 2020.
 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Jackie Bradley (CF, BOS) might struggle to hold on to an everyday role in 2020. He's coming off a season in which he showed a marginal rate of hard contact (85 HctX), which questions his ability to hit over .250 again. And his 8.7 degree launch angle supports the notion that he'll continue to struggle to generate consistent power.

Alex Gordon (LF, KC) returned $14 of value in 5x5 leagues in 2019, as he improved his batting average (.266 BA) while delivering modest power (13 HR) and speed (5 SB). On one hand, Gordon's maturing plate skills over the past few seasons (67%, 74%, 75%, 82% ct%) do support the BA growth he showed in 2019 . But his Statcast metrics suggest he will struggle to provide power (88.2 mph exit velocity, 9.0 degree launch angle). And at age 36, we can't bank on much speed from him anymore.

James McCann (C, CHW) has watched his draft stock soar in 2020 (357 ADP). It's a result of the career year he posted in 2019 (.273 BA, 18 HR in 439 AB). A closer look indicates his batting average is headed south, as his plate discipline wasn't very good (6% bb%, 69% ct%, 0.22 Eye). And his 89 xPX gave little backing to his 113 PX, especially after noticing his 10.7 degree launch angle. Expect significant regression unless he finds more of an uppercut in his swing.

Jonathan Schoop (2B, DET) should get steady at-bats in the DET lineup in 2020. He has posted 20+ HR in four consecutive seasons. That said, Schoop has put up a 0.20+ Eye in just one of his six seasons in the majors. He doesn't hit the ball that hard on average (87.5 mph exit velocity). And most of his power has come against lefties in two of the last three seasons.
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Jorge Alfaro (C, MIA) is a high-upside catcher who turned that upside into results in 2019 (.262 BA, 18 HR, 57 RBI in 431 AB). While he has the raw power and speed to be a difference-maker down the road, he still has huge holes in his swing (64% ct%). He hits a lot of groundballs too (53/22/25 G/L/F). In fact, he had one of the lowest launch angles in the game in 2019 (4.7 degree launch angle). In single-year leagues, he's being overvalued at his 210 ADP.

Ryan McMahon (2B/3B, COL) has some good appeal as a MI that can hit for power. That said, his swing isn't designed to generate much power (8.4 degree launch angle). He still strikes out a lot (67% ct%). At age 25, he's got time to tweak his approach. But banking on another double-digit dollar return from him in 2020 wouldn't be a wise move.

Colin Moran (3B, PIT) is a former high draft pick that has watched his production inch upward for the last two years. However, his plate skills took a step backwards in 2019 (6% bb%, 75% ct%, 0.26 Eye). Both his HctX (89) and xPX (80) give him a shaky power foundation at the plate. As does his below average exit velocity (88.2 mph).

Josh Phegley (C, CHC) had the best season of his career in 2019 (12 HR, 62 RBI in 314 AB). Problem is, his plate skills were more marginal than good (4% bb%, 80% ct%, 0.24 Eye). His underlying power was subpar (79 xPX). And he had one of the lowest exit velocities in the game (83.7 mph). He's worthy of your second catcher slot only in very deep leagues.

Raimel Tapia (LF, COL) took a step forward in 2019, delivering $11 of value while adding modest value in multiple categories (.275 BA, 9 HR, 9 SB in 426 AB). Before you expect him to show further growth in 2020, note that his marginal plate discipline (5% bb%, 77% ct%, 0.21 Eye), complete lack of power (64 xPX), and pessimistic Statcast metrics (87.4 mph exit velocity, 7.3 degree launch angle) tie most of his value to his legs (136 Spd). If he can cut down on his strikeouts, it's a formula that could make him a BA/SB play. But Tapia's history of marginal contact rates makes it likely that won't happen in the near future.


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