CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Vote in the Internet Baseball Awards for a chance at a free copy of Dollar Sign on the Muscle
Voting ends in 17 days and 5 hours

<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Mock Auction Analysis (02/20)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: Evan... (02/13)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: Matt... (02/27)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Dynasty League Positio... (02/20)

February 20, 2014

Tale of the Tape

Yoenis Cespedes vs. Wil Myers

by Wilson Karaman


In today’s “Tale of the Tape,” we’ll take a gander at a couple of American League sluggers and see if we can shed some light on what looks to be a very tough decision for fantasy owners. Should you be more willing to invest in a bounce-back season by 2012’s would-be AL Rookie of the Year (non-Mike Trout division), Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes? Or is it a better bet to bank on a breakout first full season from the current reigning AL Rookie of the Year, Tampa Bay’s Wil Myers?

Cespedes burst onto the scene in his stateside debut two years ago with a scorching .311 TAv as an already-in-his-prime rookie, flashing 30/20 potential and solid on-base skills despite some issues with nagging injuries. Last season was a different story, though, as nearly everything in his offensive profile took several steps in the wrong direction and he again battled the injury bug, declining to a .275 TAv that returned just the 43rd-highest value among outfielders. Meanwhile, Tampa was quick to enjoy the spoils of last off-season’s infamous trade of James Shields that netted them the BP 101’s no. 7 prospect in all of baseball from Kansas City. Following a mid-June promotion Myers raked to the tune of a .296 TAv, and he looks poised to anchor the middle of the Rays lineup alongside Evan Longoria for a very, very long time. Both rate as three star options for 2014 according to Mike Gianella’s impressively exhaustive look at the outfield position, with Myers holding a nominal seven-spot advantage on the list. The two are currently going back-to-back in the middle of the fifth round of standard NFBC drafts (67th and 68th overall), and PECOTA projects nearly identical lines for the two (.260/.326/.454 for Myers vs. .261/.322/.457 for Cespedes). So let’s check these guys out and see if there might be a lil’ bit more upside with one of them for fantasy owners to gamble on.

Batting Average
A recurring theme of this exercise will be the tale of two seasons Cespedes has logged to date, and batting average is a fitting starting point. In his rookie season he hit .292 on the back of a not-outrageous .326 BABIP, manageable 18.9 percent strikeout rate, and underwhelming 19.6 percent line drive rate. Last year lady luck conspired against him to the tune of a .274 BABIP, driven in no small part by a collapse of his line drive rate all the way down to 16.7 percent. Toss in a substantial five percent rise in his whiff rate, and his sophomore campaign saw his batting average tumble all the way down to a .240 mark. Meanwhile, after hitting an even .300 over 1,933 minor-league plate appearances Myers picked up right where he left off after his promotion to the Show, logging a .293 mark over his first 373 plate appearances. That number comes with an arms-a-flailin’ robot in tow, however, as he made it happen despite a whiff rate north of 24 percent in large part thanks to a generous .362 BABIP.

So basically we’re looking at one player whose contact and batted ball profiles regressed pretty significantly in his second season versus another who seems pretty likely to take a similar step back if his approach doesn’t progress and his luck normalizes. In the case of Myers, the strikeouts have been a part of his game since he began tapping into his power at AA, and it’s the price owners will pay for his 25-plus-homer upside. But the good news is, we’re not talking about an Adam Dunn rate here. He’s unlikely to get as lucky on balls in play going forward, but PECOTA’s projection may be slightly conservative and he should be capable of putting up batting averages at least moderately on the high side of its .260 estimate on the regular. Cespedes, on the other hand, seems less of a sure bet. The unsightly BABIP of last year is probably unlikely to make another appearance, but the dramatic rise in strikeout rate is legitimately worrisome. Scouts questioned the length and lack of fluidity in Cespedes’ swing when he came into the league, and it appeared last year that Major League pitchers began to make appropriate adjustments to exploit some of his holes. It’s worth noting that his strikeout rate inched higher as the season progressed while his walk rate collapsed by nearly four percent between the first and second halves. I can see a modest bounce-back from last year’s cliff-dive on account of some normalized batted ball rates, but I don’t feel nearly as comfortable assuming PECOTA’s .261 projection as a starting point.

Slight Advantage: Myers

On-Base Percentage
Along with the strikeout rate increase another alarming trend from Cespedes’ follow-up campaign was a drop in his walk rate from eight percent down to 6.6 percent. As noted above that number shrank pretty significantly as the season wore on, as he chased an increasing number of balls out of the zone. That’s not an uncommon fate for a struggling player, so there’s some reason for optimism that his walk rate rebounds a bit this year. Myers showed a patient approach throughout his minor league career, and his 12 percent career rate suggests that the 8.8 percent rate he mustered in his rookie campaign has some significant room for improvement going forward. Add in the potential advantage in batting average and this category has the potential for a fairly significant advantage to Myers.

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Related Content:  Wil Myers,  Yoenis Cespedes,  Fantasy,  Outfielders

5 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Mock Auction Analysis (02/20)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: Evan... (02/13)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: Matt... (02/27)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Dynasty League Positio... (02/20)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
The Week in Quotes: September 22-29
Premium Article Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Eric H...
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: The Wild Card Penalty
Premium Article Raising Aces: Stuffing the Ballot
Daisy Cutter: The Draw of Averages
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The '80' Pitches In This Yea...
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: AL Wild Card Game Previe...

MORE FROM FEBRUARY 20, 2014
Premium Article Top Tools: Best Speed/Makeup
Premium Article Overthinking It: Last Season in Selective Ag...
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Whither Santana?
The BP Wayback Machine: Agents, the Draft, a...
Fantasy Article Dynasty League Positional Rankings: Top 120 ...
Fantasy Article Mock Auction Analysis

MORE BY WILSON KARAMAN
2014-03-17 - Fantasy Article Five to Watch: American League Prospects
2014-03-13 - Fantasy Article Five to Watch: American League Hitters
2014-03-06 - Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: Joe Nathan vs. Sergio Romo
2014-02-20 - Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: Yoenis Cespedes vs. Wil My...
2014-02-06 - Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: J.J. Hardy vs. Xander Boga...
2014-01-23 - Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: Freddie Freeman vs. Eric H...
More...

MORE TALE OF THE TAPE
2014-03-06 - Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: Joe Nathan vs. Sergio Romo
2014-02-27 - Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: Matt Cain vs. Zack Greinke
2014-02-20 - Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: Yoenis Cespedes vs. Wil My...
2014-02-13 - Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: Evan Longoria vs. David Wr...
2014-02-06 - Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: J.J. Hardy vs. Xander Boga...
2014-01-30 - Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: Jurickson Profar vs. Antho...
More...