FACTS/FLUKES: E. Suarez, M. Smith, Maeda, R. Elias, Meadows

Suarez providing solid, but limited value...Eugenio Suarez (3B, CIN) is on track to post his second consecutive $20 5x5 season during his age 27 campaign. Is he showing growth or have his skills plateaued? 

Year   AB  HR   BA/xBA    ct%  bb%   h%  OBA  HctX   PX/xPX    G/L/F   hr/f
====  ===  ==  =========  ===  ===  === ====  ====  =======  ========  ====
2015  372  13  .280/.247   75    4   34  315    94  113/105  41/21/38   12%
2016  565  21  .248/.241   73    8   31  317   103  104/105  41/21/38   13%                   
2017  534  26  .260/.258   72   13   31  367    99  118/116  39/24/37   18%
2018  527  34  .283/.270   73   11   33  366   131  143/150  38/25/37   23%
2019  452  34  .254/.257   68   10   30  338   113  149/142  38/22/40   27%

​Suarez's power metrics remain top-notch, but his plate skills have not improved:

  • He has already tied his career high HR mark with over a month left in the season. His PX and xPX fully support his excellent power. He also ranks in MLB's top third of Statcast power metrics as well (Average Exit Velocity, Hard Hit % and Barrels/Plate Appearance).
  • On the other hand, his ct% has slipped significantly from his career norms and his 68% ct is well below league average limiting his BA and OBA potential. His bb% has also declined from 13% in 2017 to 11% last year and to 10% this season.
  • Suarez has hit third or fourth for Cincinnati all season and will continue to provide usable counting stats as long as he doesn't slip to the latter half of the order.

Eugenio Suarez is a significant source of power and counting stats for fantasy teams as long as he maintains a middle of the lineup batting position. His value is limited to HRs and counting stats because of his marginal and declining plate skills.

 

Smith leading the majors in steals...Mallex Smith (OF, SEA) has shown that he can accumulate league-leading steal totals, but is he really an elite-level base stealer? And can he provide more than one-dimensional value to a fantasy team? 

Year   AB   HR/SB    BA/xBA   OBA  ct%  bb%   h%  HctX   PX/xPX    G/L/F    Spd  
====   ===  =====  =========  ===  ===  ===  ===  ====  =======  ========  ====
2016*  220   3/20  .258/.253  331   74   10   34    58   79/ 59  61/16/23   137
2017*  442   5/35  .256/.238  315   74    8   34    64   57/ 29  50/22/28   175
2018   480   2/40  .296/.265  367   80    9   37    79   70/ 57  50/25/25   157
2019   422   5/34  .235/.235  300   72    7   32    72   69/ 59  49/21/30   171
*includes MLEs

Smith has provided league leading steal totals, but they come at significant cost and risk:

  • He does have elite speed as measured by Spd, and he ranks 17th in MLB measured by Statcast's Sprint Speed.
  • He has been among the SB leaders since he appeared in the majors, but he has also been among the leaders in CS. His career SB success rate of 76% is below the 80% benchmark for top basestealers. Unless he improves his success rate, his current high SBO (42% in 2019) may decline. 
  • His leadoff spot could also be at risk, because of mediocre plate skills. Last year's 80% ct% and .367 OBA look like outliers at this point.

​Smith has elite speed and is an excellent source of steals, but it is doubtful that he will contribute in any other categories. But even those steals are at risk if he doesn't improve his success rate and doesn't get on base. Smith's fantasy potential could be limited like that of Billy Hamilton (OF, ATL).

 

Maeda continues to produce...Kenta Maeda (RHP, LAD) has produced league-average ERAs for the Dodgers the past four years. Do his skills suggest that he is more than a league-average pitcher? 

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  WHIP  Ctl   Dom  Cmd  FpK  SwK  H%   Vel  hr/f  BPV   
====  ===  ====  ====  ====  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ==  ====  ====  ===  
2016  176  3.48  3.65  1.14  2.6   9.2  3.6   61   12  29  90.0   12   118  
2017  134  4.22  3.94  1.15  2.3   9.4  4.1   64   13  29  91.5   15   123
2018  125  3.81  3.52  1.26  3.1  11.0  3.6   63   15  34  91.9   11   132
2019  133  4.13  4.00  1.11  3.0   9.9  3.3   65   15  27  92.1   15   116

Maeda doesn't dazzle with velocity, but he has been very consistent throughout his four years in the majors. His profile suggests continued upside as a starting pitcher:

  • He has posted four straight campaigns of 100+ BPVs. 
  • His WHIP has consistently been better than league average.
  • His Dom, Cmd, FpK and SwK have also placed him consistently in the top half of MLB starters.

Maeda is overshadowed by the marquee names in the Dodgers rotation, but he can provide real value as a No. 3 or 4 starter on a fantasy team and can probably be acquired at a reasonable cost.

 

Elias has transitioned to bullpen...Roenis Elias (LHP, WAS) began his career as a starter but has been a reliever the past two years. He was used as Seattle's closer earlier this season. Now that he's with Washington what is his value to fantasy teams?

Year     IP  SV/HLD   ERA/xERA  Ctl  Dom  Cmd  FpK  SwK   Vel   H%  S%  hr/f  BPV
====    ===  ======  =========  ===  ===  ===  ===  ===  ====   ==  ==  ====  ===
2014    164    0/ 0  3.85/3.81  3.5  7.9  2.2   60   10  92.0   30  73   10%   70
2015    115    0/ 1  4.14/4.18  3.4  7.6  2.2   60   10  91.7   29  72   12%   66
2016aaa 125    0/ 0  3.60/      4.1  8.1  2.0                      
2017-inj  
2018     51    0/ 0  2.65/4.94  2.8  6.0  2.1   51   10  94.2   29  77    2%   44                                               
2019     48   14/ 2  3.59/4.75  3.2  8.7  2.7   60   12  94.0   27  78   15%   82 

Elias does not have closer-worthy skills. His stint as Seattle's closer was due to their limited options, not his potential:

  • His xERA the past two seasons has been more than one run higher than his ERA (two runs higher in 2018) suggesting the strong possibility of an increasing ERA.
  • His Dom (8.7) is at a career high, but is lower than is expected of top relievers in 2019. His average FpK and SwK do not signal Dom upside.
  • His career high BPV of 82 this season does not reflect the skill set of a top-notch reliever.

Elias's stint as a closer this year was due to circumstance, not talent. He is unlikely to find his way to more saves this year with the Nats and his ratios and Dom as a middle reliever will not help a fantasy team at this point.

 

Meadows settling in at Tampa...Austin Meadows (OF, TAM) has been considered a top prospect for several years. Now that he's secured a full-time role, what can we expect from him?

Year      AB  HR/SB   BA/xBA    ct%  bb%  OBA  HctX   PX/xPX   G/L/F    hr/f  Spd 
=======  ===  =====  =========  ===  ===  ===  ====  =======  ========  ====  ===
2017aaa  284   3/10  .236/       82    7  290           /       /  /        
2018*    439  16/15  .275/.272   81    5  314   111  111/139  41/21/37   12%  140
2019     406  22/ 9  .278/.261   73    9  349   114  131/139  34/23/43   17%  121
*includes MLEs

​In his first full season Meadows is on track for a $20+ 5x5 year with more to come in the future:

  • He's putting up excellent power metrics as measured by PX and xPX. He's in the top 25% of all MLB hitters in the Statcast metrics of Average Exit Velocity, Hard Hit % and Barrels/Plate Appearance.
  • He is developing into a real power/speed threat. His excellent Spd scores suggest upside in SBs, but he will have to improve on his success rate. He's been caught five times this year on his way to nine SBs.
  • At age 24 we can expect to see growth in his already decent plate skills. His bb% is league average and he has posted better ct% in the minors (80%+)

Meadows is having an excellent first full season for Tampa Bay. His skills suggest he can develop into a strong power/speed contributor with a solid batting average.


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