FACTS/FLUKES: Márquez, C. Taylor, S. Castro, T. Williams, Nimmo

Márquez can help on the road... While fantasy managers may not be able to count on Germán Márquez (RHP, COL) in every start with his home starts at Coors Field, the right-hander finished the 2020 season with a $7 R$. In 82 IP, he struck out 73 hitters and had a 3.75 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. How do his skills shape up for 2021?

Year   IP   ERA/xERA  BB%    K%  K-BB  Ball%   SwK   Vel   G/L/F    H%/S%  HR/F/xHR/F
====  ===  =========  ===  ====  ====  =====  ====  ====  ========  =====  ==========
2017  162  4.39/4.23   7%   21%   14%   34%    9.6  95.0  45/22/33  32/73   15%/ 14%
2018  196  3.77/3.22   7%   28%   21%   34%   13.0  95.2  47/23/30  32/73   16%/ 14%
2019  174  4.76/3.69   5%   24%   19%   33%   13.0  95.5  49/22/29  31/65   20%/ 19%
2020   82  3.75/4.09   7%   21%   14%   34%   12.6  95.7  51/23/26  31/71    9%/ 13%

The skills are there for decent ratios if fantasy managers avoid some Coors Field starts:

  • Even with a drop in K%, his SwK and velocity remained consistent in 2020. With his slider's 21.8% SwK and his curveball's 20.8% SwK, he offers enough whiffs to expect a K% rebound with a 24% career K% and 12.0% career SwK.  
  • His 6% career BB% and 63% career FpK back more WHIP success in 2021. According to Statcast, his Barrel% allowed ranked in the 77th percentile in MLB. 
  • Although his 9% HR/F in 2020 should move closer to his 16% career HR/F, his 48% career GB% can help mitigate some of the ERA inflation. While he has a 5.10 career ERA at Coors Field, he has a 3.51 career away ERA. Even factoring in the Coors Field outings, his ERA result could land near his 4.24 career ERA in 2021. 
  • He has had more success against RHH throughout his career, as he has a 27.8% career K% and 22.2% K-BB% against RHH. 

Depending on the league format, Márquez could be a decent play. Fantasy managers should expect a K% rebound near league average with his stable SwK and two pitches that miss bats. With a strong BB% and a 1.14 career away WHIP, his WHIP benefit could be even more in leagues with daily moves to avoid the Coors Field starts. While his ERA may rise above 4.00 with some HR/F correction, he induces enough ground balls with strong results in road starts to finish with an ERA in the low-4.00's. Even though it may not be wise to start him in every outing, he has the skills to help at the back-end of a rotation. 


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Taylor has a role to play... With a hot September in 2020, Chris Taylor (LF, LA) finished with $19 of R$ after his $10 R$ result in 2019. In 214 PA, he hit .270 with 8 HR, 32 RBI, 30 R, and 3 SB. With multi-eligibility at 2B, SS, and OF in seven-game leagues, how are his power and speed skills looking for 2021? 

Year   PA  HR   SB    BA/xBA   bb%  ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX   PX/xPX   Spd  Brl%
====  ===  ==  ===   ========  ===  ===  ========  ==  ====  =======  ====  ==== 
2017* 614  22   18  .280/.263    9   73  42/23/36  35    96  123/103   142    8%
2018  604  17    9  .254/.238    9   67  34/28/39  35    95  134/117   152    8%
2019  414  12    8  .262/.254    9   69  38/27/35  35    90  126/106   117    6%
2020  214   8    3  .270/.263   12   70  46/27/28  34   104  122/142   134   11%
*Includes MLEs

Taylor has the skills to make a run at a HR/SB tally close to his 2018 results: 

  • Although his 23% HR/F probably won't hold with a 12% career HR/F, his 36% career FB% expects more fly balls. His Barrel% in the 77th percentile in 2020 and his 111 career xPX say there's still some power left in the bat. He has enough power to post a high-teen HR result. 
  • His 145 career Spd and 74% career SB% support chances to steal bases. With a 13% career SBO%, he could swipe 8-10 SB. 
  • Even though his ct% remains below average, improving HctX was a good sign. His Hard Hit% was in the 80th percentile in MLB in 2020, and his high LD% backs a BA result near his .263 career BA. 

With the ability to play many positions on the field, Taylor's power and speed offer value in the middle of drafts. While his HR/F may decrease in 2021, keeping his xPX growth and returning to his career FB% could give him a chance at the UP: 25 HR from the 2021 Baseball Forecaster if he sees more PA. He has some speed in his profile. His above-average speed and career SB% point to a SB result near his 2018 and 2019 SB totals. Even though his contact rate limits his BA ceiling, his line drives and career BA support a BA above league average. If looking for power and speed in the middle rounds, Taylor's utility can play many roles. 

 

Castro is a deep-league play... When we last checked in on Starlin Castro (2B, WAS) a year ago, he was coming off a career-high HR total from a strong second half in 2019. In his attempt to make a diving play in mid-August of 2020, he broke his right wrist. Before the injury, Castro hit .267 with 2 HR, 4 RBI, and 9 R in 63 plate appearances. With health, what skills are there for the 2021 season?

Year   PA  HR  xHR    BA/xBA   bb%  ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX   PX/xPX  QBaB  Brl%
====  ===  ==  ===   ========  ===  ===  ========  ==  ====  =======  ====  ==== 
2016  610  21   20  .270/.267    4   80  49/20/30  31   101   97/ 91   CDb    5%
2017  505  16   12  .300/.265    5   79  52/20/28  35    93   85/ 69   CDc    5%
2018  647  12   19  .278/.253    7   79  51/20/29  33   109   77/ 87   CDc    7%
2019  676  22   22  .270/.265    4   83  48/19/33  30   120   82/ 87   CCc    6%
2020   63   2    2  .267/.248    5   78  36/21/43  31    74   98/ 80   CBd    4%

His contact skills are still present, and he can hit some HR, even with a below-average xPX history: 

  • His 82% career ct% and .268 career xBA say his BA can finish above average again. His 100 career HctX expects a HctX rebound if his wrist is healthy. 
  • While his xPX history remains below average with a 78 career xPX, his 99 xPX and 14% xHR/F since the second half of 2019 points to a HR total in the mid-teens. 
  • Even with a 113 career Spd, his SBO% has been in the single digits since 2015. His 64% career SB% may limit him to a couple of SB in 2021. 
  • With a 5% career BB% and a below-average 0.30 career Eye, his OBP could fall behind league average.  

Continue to check on Castro's health this spring, as his skills are playable at his 337 ADP. His consistent contact skills and average HctX say that a favorable BA is likely in 2021. Although his low BB% may limit his OBP, he can add some HR to a roster. His strong second half of 2019 displayed a stronger xPX and xHR/F. With at-bats, he could finish with a HR total in the mid-teens. While his career speed is playable, his below-average SB% and falling SBO% could limit the SB tally to a couple. Even so, with health he can accumulate enough stats to post a low double-digit R$ in 2021. 

 

Williams lands in Chicago... After five seasons in Pittsburgh, Trevor Williams (RHP, CHC) signed with the Chicago Cubs in late January. A 24% HR/F wasn't kind to the right-hander in 2020, as he won two games and posted 49 strikeouts with a 6.18 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in 55 IP. As he competes for a back-end rotation spot in Chicago, what we can expect?

Year   IP   ERA/xERA  BB%    K%  K-BB  Ball%   SwK   Vel   G/L/F    H%/S%  HR/F/xHR/F
====  ===  =========  ===  ====  ====  =====  ====  ====  ========  =====  ==========
2016* 123  4.10/5.03   7%   13%    6%   36%    9.8  92.8  45/25/30  34/74   31%/ 25%
2017  150  4.07/4.43   8%   18%   10%   36%    8.9  92.1  48/21/31  30/70   10%/ 10%
2018  171  3.11/4.51   8%   18%   10%   36%    8.4  90.5  41/22/37  27/76    8%/ 11%
2019  146  5.38/5.26   7%   18%   11%   35%   10.8  91.3  37/23/40  31/66   15%/ 14%
2020   55  6.18/4.99   8%   19%   11%   38%   10.9  91.3  45/20/35  32/68   24%/ 16%
*Includes MLEs

The strikeouts and ratios will likely lag behind the league:

  • Even though carrying over his velocity and SwK are positive signs, his 18% career K% and 9.5% career SwK fall behind league-average whiffs. While his slider (15.4% SwK) creates swings and misses, his strikeouts should lag behind league-average K%.  
  • With some better HR/F fortune, his 2020 xERA supports some ratio improvement. According to Statcast, his Hard Hit% allowed was near average in the 56th percentile. Even so, his xERA ranked in the 26th percentile in MLB. His 4.79 career xERA, 42% career GB%, and 13% career HR/F point to an ERA near 5.00. 
  • While his 8% career BB% and 61% career FpK can help limit WHIP inflation, his xSLG against ranked in the 30th percentile in 2020. His 71% career S% could help a bit, but his 1.34 career WHIP says that a WHIP near his 1.41 WHIP from 2019 is likely. 

When looking for back-end rotation fliers, fantasy managers may want to look elsewhere. With a below-average K% and SwK, Williams' strikeouts are expected to fall behind the pace. Even with some HR/F regression, his career xERA and Hard Hit% point to an ERA that finishes near 5.00. His WHIP may not help a roster either, as even with a decent BB% and FpK, his career WHIP points to possible WHIP inflation. Entering 2021, his below-average skills are a fact. 

 

Nimmo rebounds in 2020... A stiff neck injury cut into the 2019 season for Brandon Nimmo (OF, NYM). The outfielder rebounded in 2020 with a .280, 8 HR, 18 RBI, 33 R and 1 SB line in 225 plate appearances. Does he have the skills to sustain some of his 2020 success? 

Year   PA  HR  xHR    BA/xBA   bb%  ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX   PX/xPX  QBaB  Brl%
====  ===  ==  ===   ========  ===  ===  ========  ==  ====  =======  ====  ==== 
2017  215   5    6  .260/.237   15   66  43/24/33  37    94  112/106   CCd    7%
2018  535  17   15  .263/.254   15   68  45/22/33  35    93  148/114   BCd    7%
2019  254   8    5  .221/.228   18   64  39/23/38  30    79  119/103   BCc    7% 
2020  225   8    8  .280/.263   15   77  47/20/32  33    67  107/ 70   CDd    8%

While his 2020 skills were a fact, his career skills and lack of consistency (Grade D) temper expectations for 2021: 

  • He supported his BA gains with a ct% jump. While his HctX remained below average, his 92 career HctX could support a small jump in 2021. His 69% career ct% expects some pull back, and a BA near his .258 career BA is likely. 
  • Nimmo's BB% was in the top 10% of MLB in 2020. With a 15% career BB%, 0.59 career Eye, and .390 career OBP, his skills support another above-average OBP. 
  • Although his xPX and FB% declined, his xHR supported his 2020 HR total. His 16% career HR/F, 102 career xPX, and 34% career FB% claim he could match his 2018 HR result. 
  • Even with a 144 career Spd, his 6% career SBO% and 65% career SB% may limit him to single-digit stolen bases. 

Nimmo's 2020 skills were a fact. Heading into 2021, his career ct% and below-average HctX expect a BA closer to his career BA. Luckily, his elite BB% and strong Eye back a strong OBP. Even though he has above-average Spd, his single-digit SBO% could keep his SB total in the single digits. He does have some power, as his league-average xPX and career HR/F say he could hit as many HR as he did in 2018. While his consistency rating and health rating (Grade F) carry risk, the skills are there for a fourth or fifth OF. 


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