BATTERS: Surgers and faders, 2017 to 2018

Let's continue our stretch-run look at players whose production and skills have surged or faded the most from 2017 to 2018.

The following bats have seen a substantial spike or drop in their OPS from last season to this one:

  • OPS, 2018 YTD vs. 2017*
    
    Name                League  Position  OPS 2018  OPS 2017  Diff
    ==================  ======  ========  ========  ========  =====
    Saladino, Tyler         NL  SS/2B/3B    .828      .484    +.344
    Betts, Mookie           AL        CF   1.139      .803    +.336
    Soler, Jorge            AL        RF    .820      .503    +.317
    Maile, Luke             AL         C    .683      .407    +.276
    Romine, Austin          AL         C    .825      .565    +.260
    Profar, Jurickson       AL SS/3B/2B/1B  .756      .501    +.255
    Mondesi, Adalberto      AL        SS    .715      .460    +.255
    Martin, Leonys          AL        CF    .758      .513    +.245
    Diaz, Elias             NL         C    .795      .579    +.216
    Hanson, Alen            NL 2B/3B/SS/LF  .817      .607    +.210
    Holt, Brock             AL  2B/SS/RF    .748      .548    +.200
    Pearce, Steve           NL  1B/LF/DH    .952      .757    +.195
    Arroyo, Christian       AL     2B/3B    .735      .548    +.187
    Jankowski, Travis       NL        RF    .678      .496    +.182
    Machado, Manny          NL     3B/SS    .963      .782    +.181
    Stevenson, Andrew       NL        LF    .613      .443    +.170
    Canha, Mark             AL     CF/1B    .803      .644    +.159
    Aguilar, Jesus          NL     1B/3B    .995      .837    +.158
    Marte, Jefry            AL     1B/3B    .724      .576    +.148
    Suarez, Eugenio         NL        3B    .973      .828    +.145
    Story, Trevor           NL        SS    .910      .765    +.145
    Bogaerts, Xander        AL        SS    .889      .746    +.143
    Robertson, Daniel       AL  2B/3B/SS    .776      .634    +.142
    Markakis, Nick          NL        RF    .877      .738    +.139
    Jones, JaCoby           AL        CF    .642      .510    +.132
    Choo, Shin-Soo          AL     DH/RF    .911      .780    +.131
    Polanco, Gregory        NL        RF    .823      .695    +.128
    Cervelli, Francisco     NL         C    .839      .712    +.127
    Hernandez, Gorkys       NL        CF    .778      .652    +.126
    Refsnyder, Rob          AL  2B/LF/DH    .588      .463    +.125
    Pollock, A.J.           NL        CF    .923      .801    +.122
    Benintendi, Andrew      AL        LF    .897      .776    +.121
    Descalso, Daniel        NL 3B/2B/1B/LF  .847      .727    +.120
    Realmuto, J.T.          NL      C/1B    .902      .783    +.119
    Wade, Tyler             AL        2B    .563      .446    +.117
    Crawford, Brandon       NL        SS    .825      .709    +.116
    Cabrera, Miguel         AL     1B/DH    .843      .728    +.115
    Pederson, Joc           NL        CF    .848      .738    +.110
    Peraza, Jose            NL     SS/2B    .731      .622    +.109
    Bautista, Jose          NL     3B/RF    .781      .674    +.107
    Myers, Wil              NL     1B/LF    .897      .792    +.105
    Lagares, Juan           NL        CF    .765      .661    +.104
    Bregman, Alex           AL     3B/SS    .928      .827    +.101
    Zobrist, Ben            NL     LF/2B    .794      .693    +.101
    Marte, Starling         NL        LF    .813      .712    +.101
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Name                League  Position  OPS 2018  OPS 2017  Diff
    ==================  ======  ========  ========  ========  =====
    Headley, Chase          NL        3B    .368      .817    -.390
    Valaika, Pat            NL  2B/1B/SS    .427      .817    -.390
    Sogard, Eric            NL     2B/SS    .406      .770    -.364
    Buxton, Byron           AL        CF    .383      .728    -.345
    Barnes, Austin          NL      C/2B    .594      .895    -.301
    Mahtook, Mikie          AL        CF    .496      .787    -.291
    Murphy, Daniel          NL     2B/1B    .643      .928    -.285
    Avila, Alex             NL         C    .549      .834    -.285
    Fowler, Dexter          NL        CF    .567      .851    -.284
    Cozart, Zack            AL  SS/3B/2B    .658      .933    -.275
    Jackson, Austin         AL        CF    .604      .869    -.265
    Robinson, Drew          AL  3B/2B/CF    .496      .753    -.257
    Kiermaier, Kevin        AL        CF    .535      .788    -.253
    Altherr, Aaron          NL        LF    .603      .856    -.253
    Arcia, Orlando          NL        SS    .482      .731    -.249
    Gonzalez, Marwin        AL  LF/SS/2B/1B .660      .907    -.247
    Zimmerman, Ryan         NL        1B    .689      .930    -.241
    Walker, Neil            AL  1B/2B/3B    .563      .801    -.238
    Beckham, Tim            AL        SS    .545      .782    -.237
    Souza, Steven           NL        RF    .574      .810    -.236
    Olson, Matt             AL        1B    .769     1.003    -.234
    Ozuna, Marcell          NL        LF    .693      .924    -.231
    Conforto, Michael       NL        LF    .710      .939    -.229
    Davis, Chris            AL        1B    .506      .732    -.226
    Reyes, Jose             NL  SS/3B/2B    .503      .728    -.225
    Castro, Jason           AL         C    .495      .720    -.225
    Delmonico, Nick         AL        LF    .635      .856    -.221
    Marisnick, Jake         AL        CF    .595      .815    -.220
    Bruce, Jay              NL        RF    .613      .832    -.219
    Lopez, Raffy            NL         C    .554      .769    -.215
    Drury, Brandon          AL        3B    .549      .764    -.215
    Morrison, Logan         AL     1B/DH    .654      .868    -.214
    La Stella, Tommy        NL     3B/2B    .647      .861    -.214
    Perez, Roberto          AL         C    .454      .664    -.210
    Cabrera, Melky          AL        RF    .536      .746    -.210
    Pham, Tommy             NL        CF    .722      .931    -.209
    Santana, Domingo        NL        RF    .667      .875    -.208
    *min 50 PA each season

These players have posted a big spike or dive in their batting eye ratios (BB/K) from 2017 to 2018:

  • Eye Ratio (BB/K), 2018 YTD vs. 2017*
    
    Name                League  Position  Eye 2018  Eye 2017  Diff
    ==================  ======  ========  ========  ========  =====
    Simmons, Andrelton      AL        SS     1.75     0.70    +1.05
    Panik, Joe              NL        2B     1.38     0.85    +0.53
    Flores, Wilmer          NL  1B/3B/2B     0.81     0.31    +0.50
    Bregman, Alex           AL     3B/SS     1.06     0.57    +0.49
    Winker, Jesse           NL        RF     1.09     0.63    +0.46
    Murphy, Daniel          NL     2B/1B     1.14     0.68    +0.46
    Machado, Manny          NL     3B/SS     0.88     0.43    +0.45
    Ellis, A.J.             NL         C     0.86     0.41    +0.45
    Ramirez, Jose           AL     3B/2B     1.19     0.75    +0.44
    Camargo, Johan          NL        3B     0.66     0.24    +0.42
    Santana, Carlos         NL        1B     1.32     0.94    +0.38
    Shaw, Travis            NL        3B     0.80     0.43    +0.37
    Davis, J.D.             AL     1B/3B     0.57     0.20    +0.37
    Kepler, Max             AL        LF     0.75     0.41    +0.34
    Sucre, Jesus            AL         C     0.54     0.20    +0.34
    Andrus, Elvis           AL        SS     0.72     0.38    +0.34
    Zobrist, Ben            AL     LF/2B     1.09     0.76    +0.33
    Cano, Robinson          AL        2B     0.91     0.58    +0.33
    Wieters, Matt           NL         C     0.73     0.40    +0.33
    Cabrera, Miguel         AL     1B/DH     0.81     0.49    +0.32
    Gregorius, Didi         AL        SS     0.68     0.36    +0.32
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Sogard, Eric            NL     2B/SS     0.52     1.22    -0.70
    La Stella, Tommy        NL     3B/2B     0.63     1.11    -0.48
    Votto, Joey             NL        1B     1.16     1.61    -0.45
    Lucroy, Jonathan        AL         C     0.45     0.90    -0.45
    Szczur, Matt            NL        LF     0.33     0.77    -0.44
    Rojas, Miguel           NL  SS/3B/1B     0.40     0.84    -0.44
    Barnes, Austin          NL      C/2B     0.49     0.91    -0.42
    Rendon, Anthony         NL        3B     0.62     1.02    -0.40
    Beltre, Adrian          AL        3B     0.38     0.75    -0.37
    Crawford, J.P.          NL     SS/3B     0.36     0.73    -0.37
    Eaton, Adam             NL        CF     0.43     0.78    -0.35
    Cozart, Zack            AL        SS     0.45     0.79    -0.34
    Maxwell, Bruce          AL         C     0.15     0.49    -0.34
    Encarnacion, Edwin      AL     DH/1B     0.45     0.78    -0.33
    Adrianza, Ehire         AL        SS     0.31     0.64    -0.33
    Grossman, Robbie        AL     DH/RF     0.52     0.85    -0.33
    Blanco, Gregor          NL        CF     0.22     0.53    -0.31
    Albies, Ozzie           NL        2B     0.27     0.58    -0.31
    Miller, Brad            NL 1B/2B/SS/DH   0.27     0.57    -0.30
    *min 50 PA each season

Let's take a closer look at a bunch of guys who have shown substantial growth in these areas from 2017 to 2018.
 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Andrew Benintendi (LF, BOS) likely will cut his 2018 ADP (41) at least in half heading into 2019 drafts. He's on pace for a 20-HR, 25-SB mini-breakout, and that surge hasn't been the result of abandoning his plate discipline. Take a look at his batting eye ratio over the last three seasons: 0.40, 0.63, 0.72 Eye.

Alex Bregman (3B/SS, HOU) has cemented himself as an elite bat. He's one of the few high-upside bats that has boosted both his production (.827 to .928 OPS) and batting eye (0.57 to 1.06 Eye) between 2017 and 2018. Finally, check out his BPV over the last three seasons: 60, 72, 106 BPV. He's likely to be a Top 10 pick heading into 2019, and has a great shot to have a huge finish.

Jurickson Profar (SS/3B/2B/1B, TEX) carries more value than just a utility guy, even though his eligibility all over the infield certainly helps his owners. His boost in production from 2017 to 2018 has been his most attractive attribute. He had a rough .501 OPS with TEX in limited duty in 2017. That mark has surged to a .756 OPS so far in 2018. And it has come without a reduction in his batting eye (0.65 Eye in '18, 0.64 Eye in '17).

Jose Ramirez (3B/2B, CLE) has established himself as one of the game's most elite bats this season. His 1.029 OPS is the fourth-highest mark in the majors, and he's the only bat in the game with an .815+ OPS and 20+ SB. He stands a great shot at finishing the season strong too, as his batting eye has surged from 0.75 (2017) to 1.19 (2018).

Jorge Soler (RF, KC) was oozing with profit potential after his big spring. He has delivered on it so far in 2018. He has an .820 OPS in 223 AB, and the big holes in his swing (63% ct% in '17) have even closed down some (69% ct% in '18). He'll be out until early August with a broken foot, but at age 26, he's an interesting stash who will again carry good post-hype profit potential heading into next season.
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Jesus Aguilar (1B, MIL) has been one of the most profitable bats in the game so far this season. After going undrafted in many leagues (478 ADP), Aguilar has delivered an elite .987 OPS through late July. He has managed elite power and production against both lefties and righties too. And his plate metrics from 2017 (8% bb%, 66% ct%, 0.27 Eye) all have gotten a little better in 2018 (10% bb%, 69% ct%, 0.40 Eye).

Elias Diaz (C, PIT) has the potential to produce good value in the second half as he gets more consistent playing time. He has put together a .795 OPS and 0.50 Eye in limited work so far in 2018, both of which are much better than he showed in 2017 (.579 OPS, 0.29 Eye). He also makes a ton of contact (86% ct%), and has been a must-start against lefties (1.004 OPS, 135 PX vL).

Wilmer Flores (1B/3B/2B, NYM) still isn't getting the playing time his bat deserves, although it has picked up as of late. While his overall production is pretty stagnant from what we've seen from him in the past (.763 OPS), few hitters have improved their plate discipline more than Flores has. After posting a 5% bb%, 84% ct%, and 0.31 Eye in 2017, all of those marks have soared in 2018: 7% bb%, 90% ct%, 0.82 Eye. And after years of mashing lefties but struggling against same-sided arms, Flores has found his groove against RHers (.835 OPS, 112 PX vR). At age 26, post-hype plays don't get any better than Flores.

Joc Pederson (CF, LA) is another player coming off a disappointing season who has made a big splash again in 2018. Pederson has re-established himself as an everyday guy against RHers, improving his overall production  (.738 OPS in '17, .848 OPS in '18) and batting eye (0.57 Eye in '17, 0.70 Eye in '18).

J.T. Realmuto (C/1B, MIA) has generated a strong .900+ OPS so far in 2018, a mark that is much higher than what we saw from him in 2017 (.783 OPS). His underlying power slowly is starting to reflect the additional pop he has shown this season. Check out his xPX over the last three seasons: 86, 98, 108 xPX.

Jesse Winker (RF, CIN) is shaping up to have a strong finish. The elite plate skills he has shown in 2018 (15% bb%, 84% ct%, 1.07 Eye) have gotten even better over the past month: 17% bb%, 85% ct%, 1.36 Eye. He also owns an elite 153 xPX over that period, as he's hitting more line drives. For the season, he has converted many of the ground balls he hit in 2017 (53/16/31 G/L/F) into more liners and fly balls: 42/25/33 G/L/F. It's an approach that gives Winker some legitimate breakout potential heading into 2019.


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