FACTS/FLUKES: Arraez, M. Barnes, Jansen, Bummer, Pillar

Arraez has the plate skills... When we last checked in on Luis Arraez (2B, MIN) in July, Brandon Kruse noted that Arraez would "be of fantasy interest to everyone if he can find more at-bats." In 326 at-bats, he hit .334 with 4 HR, 28 RBI, 54 R, and 2 SB. In the middle rounds (242 ADP), can he offer another strong BA?

Year   AB  HR/SB  xHR    BA/xBA   bb%  ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX   PX/xPX  Spd/SBO
====  ===  =====  ===   ========  ===  ===  ========  ==  ====  =======  =======
2018^ 178   2/ 2  N/A  .277/ N/A    6   91     N/A    30   N/A   35/N/A  100/ 3%
2019  326   4/ 2    5  .334/.302   10   91  41/29/29  36   110   46/ 73  111/ 3%
^-AA MLEs

Yes, his elite plate discipline provides a strong floor: 

  • With plenty of ct%, above-average HctX, and a strong LD%, his plate skills are elite. While his h% could regress some, his xBA and 1.24 Eye support another .300+ BA. 
  • Although his above-average Spd, elite OBP, and bb% could provide more chances to steal, he only stole two bases in four attempts in 2019. With a sprint speed in the 52nd percentile in MLB, he may only reach of a handful of steals with a low SBO.  
  • His below-average xPX, xHR, and 5% HR/F expect his home runs to stay in the single digits. 
  • The contact remains consistent vL (89%) and vR (92%). He finished with a strong 17% bb% versus southpaws. 

With the prospect of more at-bats in 2020, we should heed Kruse's advice on Arraez. In the middle rounds, his elite ct% and LD% can be a BA boon for a roster. Although his Spd and elite OBP hint at more SB, his SB% and SBO may temper expectations for SB in 2020. His xPX and power skills say that his HR total could finish in the single digits again. Arraez's elite plate skills are his calling card and make him worth a roster spot when drafts reach the middle rounds. 

 

Barnes looks to improve control... Fantasy owners didn't get the saves they were hoping for from Matt Barnes (RHP, BOS) in 2019. While he provided strikeouts in bunches, his walks also increased. In 64 IP, he posted five wins, four saves, 110 strikeouts, a 3.78 ERA, and a 1.38 WHIP. What should we expect in 2020? 

Year   IP   ERA/xERA  Ctl  Dom   Cmd Ball%  SwK   Vel    G/L/F    H%/S%  HR/F/xHR/F 
====  ===  =========  ===  ====  === ===== ====  ====  ========  =====  ==========
2015   43  5.44/4.54  3.1   8.2  2.6  35%  10.1  94.8  39/22/40  36/73   16%/ 15%
2016   67  4.05/4.01  4.2   9.6  2.3  40%  11.1  96.8  46/21/33  32/72   10%/ 13%
2017   70  3.88/3.38  3.6  10.7  3.0  39%  12.9  95.2  49/23/28  31/71   14%/ 11% 
2018   62  3.65/2.88  4.5  14.0  3.1  40%  14.9  96.6  53/14/33  35/73   11%/ 16%
2019   64  3.78/3.10  5.3  15.4  2.9  39%  15.4  96.7  47/22/31  38/77   20%/ 14%

Even without many projected saves, expect some strikeouts with a chance at better ratios:

  • Carrying over his velocity from 2018 helped his cause. Throwing plenty of curveballs (19.0% SwK) boosted his swings and misses, and his four-seam fastball (10.8% SwK) also missed some bats. Plan on another double-digit Dom in 2020.   
  • His Ball% hasn't moved much since 2016. With a 4.2 career Ctl, his walks should stay above league average. His 1.22 xWHIP and 34% career h% say he could lower his WHIP. 
  • Those ground balls helped his ERA, even when his HR/F spiked. His xHR/F and xERA claim that his skills deserved a better ratio. With a 14% career HR/F, his ERA could finish near his 2018 tally. 
  • He posted a strong 1.42 LI, but he blew eight saves in twelve tries. 

Although his results did not fully show it, Barnes flashed elite skills (158 BPV) in 2019. His strikeouts are worth targeting, as he pairs a powerful curveball with a four-seam fastball to provide plenty of swings and misses. It's not all roses, as his Ball% and career Ctl carry some ratio risk. Luckily, his xWHIP argues that he could lower his WHIP in 2020. If his HR/F corrects, his ERA could dip as well. While he may not be the closer to start the year in Boston, he's a strong LIMA target. 

 

Jansen sputtered early but improved late... Danny Jansen (C, TOR) started slowly in the first half of 2019 with a .188 batting average and only 4 HR. He improved in the second half, as he finished with a .207, 13 HR, 43 RBI, and 41 R final line. Are there better days ahead for the catcher in 2020? 

Year   AB  HR  xHR    BA/xBA   bb%  ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX   PX/xPX  Fbd^  EV*
====  ===  ==  ===   ========  ===  ===  ========  ==  ====  =======  ===  ====
2017^ 246   5  N/A  .295/ N/A   11   89     N/A    32   N/A   88/N/A  N/A   N/A 
2018* 379  14  N/A  .257/.256   11   82  32/20/48  28    60  111/ 69  316  92.5
2019  347  13   13  .207/.237    8   77  39/20/41  23   114   78/ 97  332  91.8
^-AA/AAA MLEs
*Inc. MLEs
^ average fly ball distance
* average exit velocity on fly balls

The batting average could improve, and he will need his second-half power to carry over:

  • He hit more fly balls in the second half with a 45% FB%, and his 106 second-half xPX is encouraging. His xHR does not point to further power upside, and his 12% xHR/F was in line with his 12% HR/F. His close to league-average power can provide a HR total in the teens.  
  • After the ct% dipped to 75% in the first half, his HctX increase and 80% second-half ct% contributed to a .254 xBA in the second half. His ability to make contact from the minors could come back, which could bump up his BA to slightly below average. 
  • Jansen offered more power (106 PX) against southpaws with a 95 OPS+ vL. While he struggled vR with a 60 OPS+ vR in the first half, he did post a 102 OPS+ vR in the second half.   

Most of Jansen's early struggles in 2019 were a fact with a -30 BPX in the first half. On a positive note, with consistent ct% in the minors, his second-half xBA says he could improve his BA in 2020. While his xHR and xPX don't hint at much power upside, carrying over his 106 second-half xPX with a 45% FB% could boost his HR efforts. For now, somewhere in the mid-teens is a reasonable HR expectation with a chance to build on his second half. Monitor his improvement versus RHP in the second half too, which could help his efforts. Jansen's second-half skills (156 BPX) make him a decent second catcher option. 

 

Bummer is a LIMA play... Lady Luck paid Aaron Bummer (LHP, CHW) back in 2019, as his 42% H% from 2018 dropped to a 23% H% in 2019. In 68 IP, the southpaw posted one save, 60 strikeouts, a 2.13 ERA, and a 0.99 WHIP. What did his skills support look like underneath the shift in fortune? 

Year   IP   ERA/xERA  Ctl   Dom  Cmd Ball%  SwK   Vel    G/L/F   H%/S% HR/F/xHR/F 
====  ===  =========  ===  ====  === ===== ====  ====  ========  ===== ========== 
2017*  60  4.00/4.22  5.1   7.6  1.5  N/A  11.5  93.2  54/14/32  29/75  22%/ 15% 
2018*  64  3.72/4.16  3.1   8.5  2.7  40%  10.5  93.1  61/22/16  37/73   6%/ 16%
2019   68  2.13/3.15  3.2   8.0  2.5  37%  11.0  95.6  72/11/17  23/81  14%/  9%
*-Inc. MLEs

His elite GB% pairs nicely with his velocity bump:

  • Even though throwing his two-seam fastball (6.9% SwK) often cuts into his SwK, his cutter (22.6% SwK) and slider (18.9% SwK) create some swings and misses. His 8.3 career Dom is a reasonable expectation for 2020.  
  • The heavy GB% can keep ERA in check, even if his H% regresses in 2020. With a 14% career HR/F, the lefty's ERA can finish close to his xERA from 2019. 
  • While the Ball% decline is encouraging, his 3.6 career Ctl and 76% career S% don't expect another sub-1.00 WHIP. Something closer to his 1.20 career WHIP is more likely. 
  • His LI increased to from 0.92 in 2018 to 1.23 in 2019. The lefty saved one game in three Sv chances. 

The White Sox gave Bummer an extension in February, and there are some skills to like here. While his sinker-first approach may limit the strikeouts, his elite GB% can contribute to another helpful ERA in 2020. Even though his Ball% and Ctl don't expect a WHIP repeat, his career WHIP is still below league average. With his rising LI and above-average skills, Bummer can provide strong ratios and a positive R$ with a chance at a few saves. 

 

Pillar offers a little power and speed... With his first 600+ at-bat season in the majors, Kevin PIllar (OF, BOS) added $18 worth of R$ to fantasy rosters in 2019. He hit .259 with 21 HR, 14 SB, 88 RBI, and 83 R. As a new member of the Boston Red Sox, can he sustain his run?

Year   AB  HR/SB  xHR    BA/xBA   bb%  ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX   PX/xPX  Spd/SBO
====  ===  =====  ===   ========  ===  ===  ========  ==  ====  =======  =======
2015  586  12/25    8  .278/.261    4   85  41/22/37  31    92   78/ 72  106/20%
2016  548   7/14    8  .266/.259    4   84  46/20/34  31    92   72/ 73   98/16%
2017  587  16/15   13  .256/.269    5   84  43/20/36  28    93   85/ 69  102/16%
2018  512  15/14   15  .252/.273    3   81  36/27/38  29   101  108/ 90   94/19%
2019  611  21/14   17  .259/.276    3   85  44/20/36  27   110   86/ 71  100/17%

The HR and SB totals may slide, but there's enough here for double-digit HR and SB: 

  • Increasing his HctX was a good sign, but a below-average xPX with a higher GB% doesn't bode well for HR. His 89.2 MPH exit velocity, 311 feet average fly ball distance, and his xHR expect some pullback in 2020. Expect a HR total closer to his 2018 result.   
  • Steady ct% with above-average HctX contributed to a playable xBA, but his BA finished below his xBA again. His poor bb% won't help, as his OBP could stay below .300 again. With a 29% career h% and plenty of ct%, he can provide an above-average BA. 
  • He stole 14 bases in 19 attempts, and his league average Spd can add SB with his steady SBO. His 75% career SB% and 17% career SBO should be enough to add 10+ SB in 2020. 

Pillar's across-the-board contributions are worth a look as a fifth OF at his 366 ADP. His power metrics are mostly below league average, and his xHR expects another mid-teens HR result. Seeing consistent chances on the basepaths with a playable career SB% should allow him to swipe double-digit SB in 2020. As he accumulates counting stats, his BA won't hurt rosters either. With consistent ct% and above-average HctX, he can finish with a favorable BA. Monitor his playing time with his new club, as he could find fewer at-bats in 2020. Even so, his small contributions in five categories can help in deep leagues. 


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