FACTS/FLUKES: Berrios, Olson, Kennedy, Renfroe, and N. Anderson

Berrios fits as SP #2... After many fantasy owners grab their aces of their staffs, Jose Berrios (RHP, MIN) is an option as an SP #2 at his current ADP of 93. The right-hander finished with 14 wins, 195 strikeouts, a 3.68 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in his first 200-IP season. Can owners trust Berrios as an SP #2 in drafts?

Year   IP   ERA/xERA  Ctl   Dom  Cmd  Ball%   SwK   Vel   G/L/F    H%/S%  HR/F/xHR/F 
====  ===  =========  ===  ====  ===  =====  ====  ====  ========  =====  ==========    
2016   58  8.02/5.70  5.4   7.6  1.4   42%    8.6  93.3  38/22/40  35/59   16%/ 16%      
2017  146  3.89/4.32  3.0   8.6  2.9   37%   10.0  93.5  39/21/40  30/71    9%/ 10%    
2018  192  3.84/3.79  2.9   9.5  3.3   36%   11.7  93.2  42/20/38  28/71   13%/ 12%   
2019  200  3.68/4.30  2.3   8.8  3.6   33%   11.2  92.8  42/21/37  31/74   12%/ 14%   

His AAA reliability and skills say he's earned the trust:

  • His ability to miss bats with his change-up (15% SwK), curveball (12% SwK) and four-seam fastball (11% SwK) should provide steady strikeouts in 2020. 
  • Although his GB% is close to league average, his 90.6 MPH average exit velocity allowed on fly balls held steady in 2019. While his xERA may say to temper expectations, his skills (126 BPX) and ERA history say he could outperform xERA again.  
  • Even though his Ball% did not fully support the Ctl improvement, his 3.5 Cmd vL and Ball% project a Ctl between his 2018 and 2019 results. His 1.23 xWHIP can be an asset. 
  • His 25%/25% DOM%/DIS% split suggests that he may not be the ace we hoped for a few years ago. 

With sharper Ctl against LHH, Berrios's Ball% says his 2019 Ctl wasn't all fluke. With an xWHIP that can lower a roster's ratios, he's safe to target for ratio help. While his xERA and DOM% don't point to further upside, his AAA reliability offers consistency. In his attempt to clear 200 IP again, the right-hander misses enough bats to provide league-average strikeouts. Once the aces are off the board, target Berrios for his above-average skills. 

 

Olson shows off power... A hamate bone injury in the Opening Series against Seattle in 2019 could not stop Matt Olson (1B, OAK) from crushing his way to strong power numbers. The slugger hit .267 with 36 HR, 91 RBI, and 73 R in 483 at-bats. Should we expect an encore performance in 2020? 

Year   AB  HR  xHR   BA/xBA   bb%  ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX   PX/xPX  HR/F  xHR/F
====  ===  ==  ===  ========  ===  ===  ========  ==  ====  =======  ====  =====
2016* 485  13    0 .207/.203   12   71  47/ 6/47  26    51  110/N/A    0%    0% 
2017  189  24   16 .259/.278   10   68  38/16/46  24   111  215/178   41%   28%
2018  580  29   37 .247/.247   11   72  36/21/43  29   125  132/140   16%   21%
2019  483  36   38 .267/.271    9   71  31/24/45  30   124  151/161   24%   25%
*-Inc. MLEs

Yes, and his strong power skills point to a run at 40+ HR: 

  • With an elite xPX and plenty of HctX, his xHR provides a strong vote of confidence for his power. His above-average FB% combines well with his 96.5 MPH exit velocity on fly balls (14th in MLB), and his 337 feet average fly-ball distance ranks 54th in the majors. His xHR/F and xHR point support a HR total that finishes near 40 HR. 
  • While his ct% is slightly below league-average, his LD% and xBA point to a BA that won't lag too much. With a consistent HctX, he has the skills to finish 2020 with an above-average BA. 
  • Even with a drop to a 5% bb% vL, his 11% bb% vR offers enough value to keep his OBP slightly above league-average.   

After an injury scare in March, Olson returned with immense power. An elite xPX supports his power skills, and his ability to crush fly balls combines with a strong xHR to offer legit 40+ HR power in 2020. With more line drives and consistent hard-hit balls, his xBA says he can provide another BA that won't drag down a roster. If looking for power at 1B near his current price (ADP: 68), invest in his power with plenty of confidence.  

 

Kennedy flashes skills in bullpen... With a move to the bullpen in 2019, Ian Kennedy (RHP, KC) rewarded fantasy owners with 30 saves. To go along with his saves, the right-hander posted 73 strikeouts, a 3.41 ERA, and a 1.28 WHIP for $19 of R$. At age 35, can he repeat his success in 2020?

Year   IP   ERA/xERA  Ctl   Dom  Cmd  Ball%   SwK   Vel   G/L/F    H%/S%  HR/F/xHR/F 
====  ===  =========  ===  ====  ===  =====  ====  ====  ========  =====  ==========   
2015  168  4.28/3.74  2.8   9.3  3.3   36%   10.8  91.3  38/23/39  31/74   17%/ 15%
2016  196  3.68/4.40  3.0   8.5  2.8   35%   10.1  92.2  33/20/47  28/77   13%/ 13%     
2017  154  5.38/5.04  3.6   7.7  2.1   37%    9.7  91.9  36/16/48  26/66   16%  16%   
2018  120  4.66/4.77  3.0   7.9  2.6   35%    8.7  91.9  30/26/44  31/71   13%/ 16%
2019   63  3.41/3.84  2.4  10.4  4.3   34%   11.0  94.5  44/18/37  35/76    9%/ 13% 

While his age and health (Grade D) could impede a repeat, his skills believe:

  • He ramped up his velocity a few ticks, and his curveball (11% SwK), change-up (10.5% SwK), and four-seam fastball (10.3% SwK) support his SwK jump. With his velocity peaking in August (95.3 MPH) and September (95 MPH), he could provide another 9.0+ Dom in 2020.  
  • Decreasing his Ball% to 33% in the second half contributed to a 1.24 second-half xWHIP. With small improvements in his Ball%, he could finish just below his 3.0 career Ctl and post a useful WHIP. 
  • Keeping the ball on the ground helped his xERA and xHR/F. His change-up (67% GB%), cutter (61% GB%), and curveball (55% GB%) can balance out the lack of his ground balls with his four-seam fastball. Expect an ERA near his 2019 xERA, as his HR/F could move towards his xHR/F. 
  • Converting 30 of his 34 save chances in 2019 bodes well for more ninth-inning looks in 2020. 

Kennedy's increasing velocity and rising SwK pair well together, and he could offer a strikeout an inning. As his Ball% ticks downwards, he can offer a better than league-average WHIP. His xERA points to helpful ratio support, even if his HR/F increases in 2020. Although his health grade (Grade D) carries some risk, Kennedy has the skills (156 BPX) to offer 30+ Sv in the middle of drafts. 

 

Renfroe eyes UP: 40 HR... After swatting 24 HR in the first half, an ankle injury slowed Hunter Renfroe (OF, TAM) in the second half of 2019. In 440 at-bats, the outfielder hit .216 with 33 HR, 66 RBI, and 64 R with San Diego. In December, the Padres traded him to the Rays. If his ankle heals properly, what should owners expect in 2020? 

Year   AB  HR  xHR   BA/xBA   bb%  ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX   PX/xPX  HR/F  xHR/F
====  ===  ==  ===  ========  ===  ===  ========  ==  ====  =======  ====  =====
2016* 583  23    2 .255/.242    3   76  43/13/43  30    82  116/125   31%   15%
2017  445  26   21 .231/.244    6   69  38/17/45  28    96  148/131   19%   15%
2018  403  26   25 .248/.265    7   73  37/20/43  28   127  156/136   20%   20%
2019  494  33   28 .216/.236    9   65  36/16/48  25   106  159/144   24%   20%
*-Inc. MLEs

Count on the power and his BA could even improve from 2019: 

  • With a strong xPX, a consistent xHR/F, and a rising FB%, he offers a strong power profile. His 95.7 MPH exit velocity on fly balls ranks 27th in the majors, and his 344 feet average fly-ball distance is the 14th-highest in MLB. Plan for another 30-HR season with a shot at more HR. 
  • He posted a 71% ct% before his ankle injury with a .280 xBA in the first half. With a 69% career ct% and a .249 career xBA, his BA could finish just below league-average in 2020. 
  • He even swiped four bases in four first-half tries. With a healthy ankle, he could add a handful of SB to a roster. 

Before an ankle injury contributed to a poor second half, Renfroe's 289 first-half BPX offered elite skills. The power is real, as his steady xHR/F, increasing FB%, and strong fly-ball statistics offer a shot at UP: 40 HR from the 2020 Baseball Forecaster. While his power is his main source of value, his career ct% and xBA offer a chance to move closer to a league-average BA in 2020. Adding in another few SB could contribute to a double-digit R$ finish. Check on the status of his September foot surgery, but Renfroe's power is a fact. 

 

Anderson's skills draw attention... When we last checked on Nick Anderson (RHP, TAM) in July, BaseballHQ.com analyst Brandon Kruse noted that "his skills deserve to be on your radar." Anderson's results were enticing too, as he struck out 110 batters in 65 IP with a 3.32 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Does he have the skills to close? 

Year   IP   ERA/xERA  Ctl   Dom  Cmd  Ball%   SwK   Vel   G/L/F    H%/S%  HR/F/xHR/F 
====  ===  =========  ===  ====  ===  =====  ====  ====  ========  =====  ==========        
2017#  34  1.66/1.77  2.2   7.3  3.4   N/A    N/A   N/A    N/A     28/82     N/A   
2018+  60  5.26/5.86  3.4   9.7  2.8   N/A    N/A   N/A    N/A     35/71     N/A
2019   65  3.32/2.73  2.5  15.2  6.1   31%   20.3  96.1  29/30/42  38/74   15%/ 17%
#-Double-A MLEs
+-Triple-A MLEs

If he sees ninth-inning chances, his electric skills are worthy:

  • His four-seam fastball (15.9% SwK) and slider (24.9% SwK) sawed through bats. His elite SwK claims that he can repeat a double-digit Dom in 2020. 
  • With a 67% FpK and favorable Ball%, he can sustain his 2019 Ctl. His 0.94 xWHIP says that he can provide a helpful WHIP. 
  • Although his FB% may not do him any favors, his xERA tells owners not to worry too much. Even when he gives up HR, his ability to limit walks can help him provide an ERA similar to his 2019 finish. 
  • His LI increasing to 1.43 in the second half is a positive sign, and his 275 second-half BPX is eye popping. 

While his spot in the Tampa Bay bullpen could limit his ninth-inning chances, his elite SwK should keep the strikeouts coming in waves. With those strikeouts, he can keep the walks down with a favorable Ball%, which can provide a WHIP to help lower ratios. Even with a FB% tilt, his ability to limit base runners make his ERA repeatable, as seen in his xERA. Anderson's strong skills are worth a shot at his current price (ADP: 233), and with ninth-inning chances, his UP: 25 Saves is within range. 


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