Before this preseason, I delved into Statcast’s new Outs Above Average (OAA) ranking, which identifies the league’s best defensive defenders. I used the 2019 OAA to see how a pitcher’s new defense will affect its value in the 2020 season.
The first article evaluated the pitchers drafted within the top 300 choices, so this article will examine the players who will be picked up later. Hopefully this will help identify some end-of-round goals in very deep leagues or some values for AL or NL leagues only.
Let’s take a look at some end-of-round pitchers who might see value increase thanks to better defense behind them!
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(From Cincinnati Reds to Los Angeles Dodgers)
LD% / GB% / FB%: 28.2 / 38.2 / 33.6
Alex Wood is currently engaged in the rotation of the Dodgers and will get the benefit of defending last year’s 15th place. Corey Seager finished in 28th place, Justin Turner in 36th place and Max Muncy in 78th place. However, unlike David Price, Wood sees a downgrade in defending the team as the Reds finished ninth last year at 14 Outs above average. He barely launched for Cincinnati last year, but to the extent that the defense has been taking its value into account this year, the change is not positive. However, the main positive aspect is that it will see a big boost in the park as Great American Ballpark is great for the batter’s power and Wood will be much more likely to rack up victories, provided he can keep spinning.
Take away: Wood only threw 35.1 innings last year, so defense was certainly not a factor; however, he finished with an ERA 3.68 and 1.21 WHIP on a very similar Dodgers team in 2018, so he’s not a bad flyer late in drafts. However, the main concern for Wood will always be how Dodgers manipulate their rotation. If I had a chance on him in Los Angeles, their slightly worse defense than his previous team shouldn’t stop you.
(From Kansas City Royals to the Minnesota Twins)
LD% / GB% / FB%: 21.7 / 44.3 / 34
Homer Bailey is in a difficult situation. The twins finished 26th as a team in the OAA last year. Newly signed Josh Donaldson is strong in 3B, finishing 18th in OAA, but the rest of inflation is worrying. Miguel Sano, his new first baseman, finished in 118th, Luis Arraez in 128th and Jorge Polanco in 138th. It is not a good thing for Bailey, who depends heavily on his defense. He has a career of K% below 20% and a GB% just below 45%. He relies on his defense far more than his new teammate Kenta Maeda and seems to only become a useful fantasy appetizer in the second half of last year as he has increased his use of splitfinger. Well, fast splitfinger balls lead to more bottom balls, which may not be a great idea with this defense behind him.
Take away: I wasn’t really involved in Bailey’s rebound before diving into the OAA, so that doesn’t encourage me to jump on board.
(From Houston Astros to Cincinnati Reds)
LD% / GB% / FB%: 20.5 / 49.7 / 29.8
It wasn’t a big move for Miley, speaking defensively. We have already discussed the cyber talent behind him in Houston, which was instrumental in the success of a pitcher with almost 50% GB%. Now he is moving to a battering baseball field and will launch in front of a defense which, although in its own right, was 13 worst than last season’s Astros. Indeed, Miley benefited from the fourth best OAA of all baseball pitchers while she was on the mound in 2019, an impressive seven outs above average. He will likely see a boost with the Reds signing Freddy Galvis to play shorttop since Galvis was the 10th best infielder based on OAA and Mike Moustakas last year, who finished 79th last year as third base but were four times. best in a limited time at second base, where he will play in Cincinnati. If he can show the same growth there for an entire season, the Reds will field a fairly solid defense, but it’s hard to believe he would benefit from the same level of defense he had last year.
Take away: I had seen Miley as a popular end-of-round sleeper from some start to year-end when he was reportedly reversing the launch at the end of last year’s torpedoed what would otherwise have been a phenomenal season with a new cutter. Seeing the elite defensive support he had last year makes me a little suspicious that his pre-flip numbers are repeatable, but although he regresses slightly from his peak performance last year, the strong defense of Cincinnati makes him a safe plan launcher late in drafts, especially to his ADP. Just don’t count on a repeat of early 2019.
(From the Minnesota Twins to the Texas Rangers)
LD% / GB% / FB%: 24.8 / 51.4 / 23.8
We talked about Minnesota’s potential for a mediocre defense above, but the 28th ranking was particularly detrimental to Gibson last year when Minnesota started Sano at 3B and CJ Cron (ranked 74th) at 1B, which probably contributed. to launch Gibson at a career level. 330 BABIP and ranks as the 192nd pitcher in terms of OAA while on the mound. While a pass in Texas seems to be an improvement, given that they ended up much better as an infield defense, finishing in 13th place overall for OAA, it is important to remember that they played more than half of the season with Asdrubal Cabrera giving them a strong defense at 3B. Last year Cabrera was the 20th overall baseball player by OAA, while his likely substitutes, Todd Frazier (90th) or Danny Santana (117th), are likely to be a significant downgrade. To accumulate, it is assumed that first starting base Ronald Guzman only played in 81 games last year, but also ranked as an under-average defender by the OAA, so an entire season of him in first base won’t even benefit Gibson. .
Take away: Gibson is a groundball pitcher, with GB% roughly 50% in each of the past three seasons, so casting with a wobbly defense behind him won’t be helpful. However, he had a bad defense behind him even in past years and managed to recover some fantasy value. I would not like to count on the return to BABIP .285 and to ERA 3.62 of 2018, but an ERA of around 4.50 with a K% of 20% is possible, which will keep it on the radar in streaming.
(From Milwaukee Brewers to Texas Rangers)
LD% / GB% / FB%: 18.5 / 40.3 / 41.3
Jordan Lyles is a more interesting case than the new Rangers pitchers. The first half of his season last year in Pittsburgh was not a good one. He had a 5.36 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 82.1 innings. His xFIP was significantly better at 4.39 and had an almost identical BB% (9.1) and a better K% (24.9) than he would have posted to Milwaukee to finish the season (23.5). Unfortunately, the OAA still cannot be sorted by division, so we can’t find out how much better his OAA was during the launch of Milwaukee than in Pittsburgh, but the Brewers finished as 19th best defense from OAA while Pittsburgh came in at 27. years, so we can assume there has been a slight improvement in the game behind him.
The big difference seems to be an unsustainable .225 BABIP in Milwaukee and launching in Yasmani Grandal, which Lyles said has helped make him a better pitcher. Part of that help was to reduce the use of his fast ball and to launch the curve more. As a result, Lyles increased his FB% and reduced his GB% and LD%, which would mean that he would be less influenced by the mediocre defense of Texas influence and more helped by the transition from Miller Park to the new domed stadium in Texas. . Of course, the key determinant will be that Grandal hasn’t moved with him.
Take away: It is clear that the elite defensive veteran hunter has helped Lyles unlock a new level, so Lyles will have to bring him back into his relationship with Robinson Chirinos, who is a much worse defender. I expect Lyles to have a season halfway between his half of Pittsburgh and his half of Milwaukee, who has a high but solid K% ERA 4s and a good double-digit victory shot.
(From the Minnesota Twins to the Boston Red Sox)
LD% / GB% / FB%: 22.8/48/29.3
Perez is another pitcher moving from Minnesota; however, he was less affected by the low defense as he finished 2019 with the 108th OAA while he was on the mound, good for an out-of-average one. Sometimes last year, Perez looked like he would burst thanks to his new speed, only he couldn’t sustain a success. Some of these may have had to do with the above defense, especially as a pitcher with a GB% close to 50% in each season of the main league, but Perez’s .316 BABIP was practically in line with his numbers career, and we have already covered him received an average defense behind him. Regardless, his move to Boston will no doubt provide him with better internal defense and a place in the rotation thanks to the trade of David Price and Chris Sale fighting an illness.
Take away: Perez’s struggles last year had more to do with his command, as his 1.52 WHIP and 9.2% K-BB% demonstrate. The best defense behind him isn’t a bad thing, but it won’t automatically make him a reliable fantasy starter. He will have to stop giving up so many free passes. However, last year’s FIP 4.66 suggests that Perez could become relevant in leagues from 12 to 15 teams if Boston had unlocked an increase of his K% or the ability to throw to Christian Vazquez, the fifth-ranked framer of the baseball prospectus, leads to an improvement of his general command. If you see growth in one of these areas in the beginning, it would be wise to add Perez and see if he attacks because he has a good chance of winning and innings in his new home.
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