FACTS/ FLUKES: Mondesi, Alberto, Eovaldi, Perez, Heaney

Risk and reward with Mondesi ... Ten players hit 40 HRs last year, but only three swiped 40 bags, including Adalberto Mondesi (SS, KC), who reached the benchmark in barely more than 100 games because of a separated shoulder. The idea of a full season of Mondesi tearing up the basepaths is appealing. Can he take advantage?

Year   AB  HR  SB    BA   xBA  bb%  ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX   PX/xPX  hr/f  Spd  SBO
====  ===  ==  ==  ====  ====  ===  ===  ========  ==  ====  =======  ====  ===  ===
2016* 307   7  28  .232  .208    6   68  49/12/39  27    86   89/137    7%  168  45%
2017* 374  11  22  .270  .260    4   70  34/34/31  27    73  115/120   11%  142  35%
2018  275  14  32  .276  .255    4   72  41/21/38  34   114  135/130   20%  130  68%
2019  415   9  43  .263  .230    4   68  47/19/34  36    89   95/ 82    9%  155  56%
*Includes MLEs

As enticing as Mondesi's speed is, his plate skills leave much to be desired:

  • Mondesi continued his free swinging ways and he gave back the small gains in ct% achieved over previous years.
  • He outhit xBA thanks to h% and Spd that helped him leg out 17 infield hits.
  • The power we saw from Mondesi in 2018 dropped off as FB%, hr/f both fell and xPX dipped below league average.
  • Mondesi noticeably ran less in the 1H (47% SBO%) but picked it up in a big way (88% with 12 SBs) in September after returning from the shoulder injury.

The biggest question with Mondesi, 24, is his health after he underwent shoulder surgery after the season. The Royals say he'll be ready for Opening Day, but even if so will that come with limitations. (Mondesi was ordered not to dive when he returned from injury last year but did so anyway and re-injured the shoulder.) Beyond his health, another unknown is whether Mondesi can hit for the same power he showed in 2018. Something close to a full season of 2018-level production would easily justify his current ADP (39), but not without considerable risk.

 

Nowhere but down for Alberto ... Hanser Alberto (2B, BAL) burst onto the scene to finish 8th in the AL in batting average, hitting .305 and providing a bright spot for an otherwise dismal year in Baltimore. The output should earn Alberto plenty of opportunity moving forward, but how likely is another .300 season?

Year   AB   HR SB   BA  xBA   bb%  ct%  HctX  h%   G/L/F   PX   xPX  
=====  ===  == ==  ==== ====  ===  ===  ====  ==  =======  ===  ===   
2017    20   1  0  .306  ---    4   83   ---  --   ------   86   --    
2018*  361   5  0  .280  ---    2   91   ---  --   ------   52   --
2019   524  12  4  .305 .273    3   90    77  32  47/21/32  54   49       

Alberto's value rides overwhelmingly on hit rate:

  • Alberto's lone skill is putting the bat on the ball, which he does at an elite level. And he does so with a hacker-level bb%.
  • He doesn't have the HctX or speed to regularly sustain an above-average h%.
  • Alberto doesn't have any power and just average speed.

Nothing in Alberto's skillset suggests he can build on his performance and a repeat of .300 depends heavily on luck. The downside, meanwhile, is a .260s hitter with no speed or power who loses ABs as the season goes on. There's little reason to take that chance unless your desperate for a MI who can offer BA support in the late rounds of a draft.

 

Eovaldi a wildcard ... After teasing owners with a solid 2018 , Nathan Eovaldi (RHP, BOS) reverted to his old, injured self last season with a career high 5.99 ERA in just 70 IP as he missed half the year with surgery to remove loose bodies from his right elbow. At 30, is there any reason to think he can pull off a revival?

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  H%/S%  GB%  Ctl  Dom  Cmd  FpK   SwK   Vel  hr/9  BPV
====  ===  ====  ====  =====  ===  ===  ===  ===  ====  ===  ====  ====  ===
2016  125  4.76  4.27  28/69  50%  2.9  7.0  2.4   65   10%  97.1   1.7   76
2017  *****************************Injured Did Not Pitch********************* 
2018  111  3.81  3.75  30/70  46%  1.6  8.2  5.1   64   11%  97.2   1.1  128
2019   68  5.99  4.89  32/68  45%  4.7  9.3  2.0   65   11%  97.5   2.1   65

Eovaldi's BPIs and durability remain big red flags:

  • Eovaldi's Ctl was the worst since he broke in with the Dodgers in 2011.
  • Gopheritis again plagued him as it did it 2016, especially as a starter with a 2.5 HR/9 in that role.
  • Some bad luck led to an ERA almost a run higher than his skills suggest but xERA was still ugly.

Eovaldi figures to get a shot at Boston's rotation entering spring, but he'll have to prove more effective and durable than he was last year. A key will be his ability to keep a lid on walks while maintaining a Dom rate near a strikeout per inning. As it stands now, he's a dart throw in terms of both performance and role.

 

Can Perez duplicate power output? ... Roberto Perez (C, CLE) surprised everyone with 24 HRs—a total greater than his previous five major league seasons combined—all while improving on a career BA that flirted with the Mendoza line. For a 31-year-old catcher with a history as a ground ball hitter, can we count on similar production?

Year   AB  HR    BA   xBA   bb%  ct%    G/L/F   H% HctX   PX  xPX  hr/f
====  ===  ==  ====  ====   ===  ===  ========  == ====  ===  ===  ====
2016  153   3  .183  .213    13   71  54/15/31  24   72   75   94    9%
2017  217   8  .207  .222    10   67  50/17/32  27   87  112   94   17%
2018  179   2  .168  .182    10   61  50/15/36  26   91   81  106    5%
2019  389  24  .239  .228    10   67  51/17/32  29   94  116  120   28%

Perez will be challenged to repeat last year's production:

  • Perez improved on his 2018 ct%, but still whiffs in a third of his ABs.
  • He remained a groundball hitter, which isn't ideal for someone with a Spd score in the 70s.
  • Perez did show improved HctX and his 11% barrel% per Statcast is almost double his level from previous seasons.
  • The HR total was a product of a big jump in hr/f, which has varied wildly in limited ABs during previous seasons.

Perez should get the bulk of the catching duties in Cleveland again this year and figures to near, or even exceed, last year's AB total. While 2018's low hr/f may be an outlier, Perez is a groundball hitter who will need to continue making hard contact to exceed 20 HRs again. He's a possible late-round power source at catcher, but expect some regression in hr/f.

 

Can Heaney finally deliver? ... After logging 30 starts in 2018, Andrew Heaney (RHP, LAA) suffered through another injury plagued season while posting an ERA near 5.00. Now 29, can Heaney finally make good on his prospect pedigree?

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  H%/S%  FB%  Ctl   Dom  Cmd  FpK  SwK   Vel  BPV  hr/9
====  ===  ====  ====  =====  ==   ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ====  ===  ====
2016    6  6.00  3.21  34/60  39   0.0  10.5  0.0  60%  13%  90.8  211   3.0
2017   22  7.06  4.69  31/79  48   3.7  11.2  3.0  61%  14%  91.9  109   5.0
2018  180  4.15  3.75  31/70  35   2.3   9.0  4.0  65%  12%  92.0  120   1.4
2019   95  4.91  4.11  33/69  44   2.8  11.1  3.9  63%  15%  92.5  136   1.9
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
19-2H  59  4.60  3.83  36/72  38   2.3  11.4  4.9  63%  15%  92.5  155   1.7

For all the DL trips and struggles in September (7.66 ERA), there were flashes of promise:

  • Heaney bumped Dom back to the level we saw in 2017, and backed it up with SwK. And he did so while maintaining a good Cmd rate.
  • He continued to struggle with HR/9 thanks to more fly balls, but Heaney did a better job keeping the ball out of the air in the 2H (38%).
  • Despite ugly surface stats, Heaney's full season BPV (and especially 2H BPV) indicate solid underlying skills.

With a fortified up offense and new manager, the Angels are counting on the previously unreliable Heaney as a key cog in their rotation. While owners obviously shouldn't count on a full season of production from the left-hander, he does make for an interesting gamble later in drafts and with some health could deliver an ERA below 4.00 and good strikeout production.


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