Like Rhys Hoskins, Oakland's Matt Olson has surprised with his huge, huge power.
In both fantasy circles and real-life baseball circles, there is one rookie who is taking the league by storm. He has always been a decently regarded prospect, and the fact that he could hit for power has never really been a secret among those who followed minor-league baseball. On the other hand, he was never quite an elite prospect and absolutely nobody expected him to be a superstar, particularly not from Day 1. That’s what he’s doing, though, and he’s hitting home runs at a startling rate. It deserves your attention. No, I’m not talking about Rhys Hoskins. I’m talking about Matt Olson.
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Sal Perez isn't striking out, but he's swinging more than ever and his batting average would be a career high. Is that why his fantasy value has been higher in 2017?
Coming into 2017, fantasy owners felt like they had a good handle on Salvador Perez. He was a safe bet to make regular starts at the position who would give you something like a .250 batting average, 20 home runs, 50-60 runs, and 60-70 runs batted in. These totals landed him in the “three star” tier of Baseball Prospectus’ preseason catcher rankings. He was a player who was supplying increasing power at a cost to his batting average.
A top prospect, Zimmer has a power-speed combo that has become increasingly rare in fantasy, and because of Cleveland's injury troubles in the outfield, is getting a chance to contribute now. What can we expect?
The Situation: The Indians outfield is in dire need of help due to the injuries to Abraham Almonte, Brandon Guyer and Austin Jackson. Also, while Michael Brantley has hit fairly well so far, his playing time is being managed cautiously given his recent injury history. They have addressed this situation by calling up Zimmer, one of their top prospects (No. 3 in our 2017 Indians organizational ranking).
Background: Cleveland selected Zimmer 21st overall in the 2014 amateur draft, and the start of his first full pro season could not have gone much better. After he slashed .308/.403/.493, hit 10 homers, and stole 32 bases in 335 plate appearances for High-A Lynchburg, he was named to the Carolina League All-Star team and participated in the Futures Game. However, he struggled with Double-A Akron in the second half of the season, in large part because he tried to play with a hairline fracture in his right foot. The 24-year-old’s stock fell in 2016 after striking out 115 times in just 407 plate appearances with Akron, and 56 times in 150 plate appearances for Triple-A Columbus. Zimmer got off to a better start with Columbus before his promotion, as he slashed .294/.371/.532, along with five homers, nine stolen bases, and “only” 43 strikeouts through 144 plate appearances.
Scott Schebler offers power—but is that enough to make him valuable to fantasy owners?
The Buyer’s Guide is a weekly column designed to help fantasy owners assess a player who sees an increased level of interest during a given week. This column will focus on players who generally have lower than 40 percent ownership rates across various leagues.
It’s always fun to get on leaderboards early in a season and see unexpected names at the top of a list. The current MLB home-run leaderboard offers plenty of surprises. Ryan Zimmerman is leading the league in home runs? That’s unexpected. Yonder Alonzo has hit eight homers? That’s already the second-highest total he’s hit in any major-league season.
Bill James popularized sabermetrics. Hell, he coined the term. Several of his measures, like runs created, are still in popular use today, and his work has formed the basis for many sabermetric advances. But James created other measures that combine whimsy with measurement.
One is the power/speed number. It attempts to identify players who excel at both. It’s a simple formula: 2 x (HR x SB) / (SB +HR). That’s not #gorymath; it’s not even #goryalgebra, even if you add that it represents the harmonic mean of home runs and stolen bases.
Today, I want to look at the inverse, and take stock of how hitting is on the decline. While there are myriad ways of attacking this issue, I’m going to focus on hitting for power because in standard leagues, hitting for power carries the most weight, affecting three categories (HR, R, RBI). While this is going to be old hat for some, it’s my hope that looking at the dramatic changes in power production over the course of two seasons will help us properly evaluate those hitters who do provide power.