FACTS/FLUKES: Berrios, K. Davis, Clevinger, Pinder, Hand

Berrios remains fortunate... Entering the 2019 season, Jose Berrios (RHP, MIN) moved up draft boards after his 12 wins, 202 strikeouts, 3.84 ERA, and 1.14 WHIP in 192 IP in 2018. His has provided plenty of value in 2019, as his ten wins, 133 strikeouts, 2.80 ERA, and 1.10 WHIP in 142 IP has led to $23 R$. How do his skills look below the surface?

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  Ctl   Dom  Cmd  FpK  SwK    G/L/F   H%/S%  hr/f  BPV 
====  ===  ====  ====  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ========  =====  ====  ===  
2016   58  8.02  5.70  5.4   7.6  1.4  55%   9%  38/22/40  35/59   16%    6  
2017  146  3.89  4.32  3.0   8.6  2.9  59%  10%  39/21/40  30/71    9%   92 
2018  192  3.84  3.79  2.9   9.5  3.3  64%  12%  42/20/38  28/71   13%  113
2019  142  2.80  4.10  1.9   8.4  4.4  66%  11%  42/20/38  29/80   10%  121

His skills are still strong, but some good fortune has helped his ERA:

  • The right-hander's fastball velocity is 92.7 mph, and he creates swings and misses with his change-up (13% SwK), four-seam fastball (11% SwK), and curveball (11% SwK). His SwK has an 8.2 xDOM in the 50th percentile, which is a reasonable expectation going forward. 
  • Throwing three pitches that all have at least a 44% GB% helps offset his 47% FB% on his four-seam fastball. The good fortune may not last for his current ERA, as a 71% career S% and his xERA point to possible added runs. 
  • His strong FpK supports his Ctl improvement, and his Ctl supports a better than league average WHIP. 
  • He has improved his command vs. LHH, as he owns a 4.9 Cmd vs. LHH in 2019. 

Berrios's skills are in line with his BPV from 2018. Throwing a number of first-pitch strikes supports his Ctl gains, and his Ctl points to a WHIP that should continue to help rosters. He also misses bats with three pitches, and his SwK says that his current Dom should continue. On the down side, his current ERA may not continue. With a favorable S% and higher xERA, he could see his ERA increase over the final two months. With his improvements vs. LHH and solid skills, his above-average skills and career-high R$ are mostly fact. 

 

Khristopher Davis loses some xPX... After three-straight seasons of 40+ HR and a .247 batting average, Khristopher Davis (DH, OAK) was thought to be a reliable asset coming into 2019. Though 343 at-bats, his .230, 17 HR, 53 RBI, and 45 R have contributed to a six-year low $7 R$. Is the downturn more fact than fluke?

Year   AB  HR    BA   xBA   vL    vR   bb%  ct%    G/L/F   HctX   PX  xPX  hr/f
====  ===  ==  ====  ====  ====  ====  ===  ===  ========  ====  ===  ===  ====
2015  392  27  .247  .260  .729  .864   10   69  42/17/40   105  174  169   25%
2016  555  42  .247  .266  .881  .815    7   70  43/17/40   111  171  145   27%
2017  566  43  .247  .257  .786  .886   11   66  38/19/42   112  177  174   27%
2018  576  48  .247  .261  .811  .897    9   70  35/16/49   116  185  171   24%
2019  343  17  .230  .236  .794  .667    8   71  42/22/36   116   91  127   19%

Yes, some skills loss (1 BPV) seem to indicate that his performance is mostly fact:

  • Although his HctX is consistent, hitting fewer FB% with an xPX decline does not bode well for power. Even with an above-average xPX, he is barreling up fewer balls, 7.3% Brls/PA (86th in MLB), in 2019. His exit velocity on fly balls has decreased from 96.8 mph in 2018 to 92.9 mph in 2019. An oblique injury may have played a role in the lost power, but his 81 xPX and 48% GB% in July won't help a power rebound. 
  • His .247 BA streak may end in 2019, as his below-average ct% and xBA point to a batting average in the .230s.  
  • The power output has decreased vL (108 PX) and vR (85 PX). Hitting more ground balls vR hasn't helped his current OPS, though he does own an .828 career OPS vR. 

What looked like a safe investment entering 2019 may end up being a loss. His loss of power is mostly fact, as his xPX and exit velocity have declined from their 2018 levels. While injuries may have played a role in sapping some power, finishing closer to 30 HR will cut into his R$. The power loss has come against both sides of the platoon. His metronome-like .247 BA appears to be ending in 2019. With below-average ct%, a higher GB%, and above-average HctX, his xBA says his current BA may increase a few points. His career-high R$ from 2018 appears to be in the past, and his loss of power and skills loss have been mostly fact. 

 

Clevinger displays strong skills... Drafted as a #2 or #3 for fantasy staffs, Michael Clevinger (RHP, CLE) has missed time in 2019 with back and ankle injuries. The right-hander displayed skills growth in 2018, and he has posted strong results when he is on the mound. Through 56 IP, he has six wins, 72 strikeouts, a 3.07 ERA, and a 1.06 WHIP. With health, can he sustain his skills growth?

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  Ctl   Dom  Cmd  FpK  SwK    G/L/F   H%/S%  hr/f  BPV 
====  ===  ====  ====  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ========  =====  ====  === 
2016   53  5.26  4.94  4.9   8.5  1.7  61%  10%  38/22/40  30/68   13%   36
2017  122  3.11  4.05  4.4  10.1  2.3  63%  13%  39/24/36  28/79   12%   80
2018  200  3.02  3.85  3.0   9.3  3.1  64%  12%  40/20/39  29/78   10%  104
2019   56  3.07  2.74  3.1  12.9  4.2  65%  16%  44/27/29  31/75   18%  172

Yes, as Clevinger has built on his success:

  • The right-hander backs a career-high SwK with his slider (23% SwK), curveball (16% SwK), change-up (14% SwK), four-seam fastball (13% SwK), and 96.0 mph velocity. While his 13% career-SwK and 9.6 xDom in the 50th percentile expect some pullback, the strikeouts should still come in bunches. 
  • Sustaining his above-average FpK and helpful Ctl bode well for success. Although a 39% hard contact rate allowed and a 3.6 career Ctl may bump up his WHIP a tad, his consistent FpK can provide a WHIP that helps rosters. 
  • Throwing three pitches that have at least a 52% GB% has boosted his GB%. Inducing more ground balls, his 29% career H%, 77% career S%, and 12% career hr/f point to an xERA that illustrates that his ERA could even improve in August and September.  
  • Even though left-handed hitters own a 42% hard contact rate against him, his 49% GB% vL and 3.5 Cmd vL have contributed to his .696 oOPS vL. 

Aside from the injuries, Clevinger's career-high skills (172 BPV) are a fact. His increasing SwK is built upon four pitches that miss bats, and even if his xDom points to a lower Dom, he should provide plenty of strikeouts. He is displaying a strong command of the zone with above-average FpK. While his career Ctl raises doubts about sustaining his current WHIP, inducing more ground balls and his career H%, S%, and hr/f say he may even find better fortune ahead for a lower ERA. With elite skills, Clevinger is a foundational piece for fantasy rotations.  

 

Pinder loses some barrels... With an UP: 20 HR, 10 SB from the 2019 Baseball ForecasterChad Pinder (2B/OF, OAK) was a late-round target after hitting .258 with 13 HR, 27 RBI, and 0 SB in 2018. He may fall short of his UP: in 2019, as he is hitting .242 with 9 HR, 33 RBI, and 0 SB in 231 at-bats. What does his profile suggest about his power and speed?

Year   AB  HR/SB    BA   xBA  bb%  ct%    G/L/F   HctX   PX/xPX  hr/f  Spd  SBO
====  ===  =====  ====  ====  ===  ===  ========  ====  =======  ====  ===  ===
2015^ 477  10/ 5  .272   N/A    4   76     N/A     N/A   96/N/A   N/A  N/A  N/A
2016* 477  11/ 4  .226  .224    5   72  50/13/37   132   91/173    7%  114   6%
2017* 346  16/ 4  .235  .231    6   66  41/19/40    88  128/119   19%  112   8%
2018  298  13/ 0  .258  .233    8   70  44/19/37   120  112/136   17%  122   3%
2019  231   9/ 0  .242  .271    4   77  52/22/26   102  100/ 76   19%   83   2%
*-Inc. MLEs
^AA MLEs

Losing xPX, HctX, and Spd show that his slower pace is deserved: 

  • He has not maintained his xPX and HctX gains from 2018. With a below-average xPX, a higher GB%, a below-average 4.0% Brls/PA, and a falling exit velocity on fly balls (95.6 mph in 2018; 92.6 mph in 2019), his power outlook is diminished. While a 110 career xPX claims he may improve, his HR total may finish near his 2018 tally. 
  • Gaining ct% is a positive sign, and even with a Spd and HctX decline, his xBA says he can improve. 
  • With a mostly red light (0 SB in 1 attempt), a lower bb%, and a declining Spd, he may be hard-pressed to steal many bases. 

Some skills sliding illustrate that Pinder's results are mostly deserved. With more ground balls, a below-average xPX, and fewer barrels in 2019, he may only finish with a HR total in the low double digits. Even with some Spd and HctX loss, his ct% gains point to an above-average xBA. Hoping for SB may be wishful thinking, as his lower bb%, paltry SBO, and declining Spd say he won't steal many bases. For now, his single-digit R$ for the third consecutive season is merited. 

 

Hand is on the verge of elite... Once the top-tier closers were selected in 2019 drafts, Brad Hand (LHP, CLE) became a popular selection in the next tier after saving 32 games with 106 strikeouts, a 2.75 ERA, and a 1.11 WHIP in 2018. Those owners that selected Hand have been rewarded, as his four wins, 27 saves, 68 strikeouts, 2.45 ERA, and 1.00 WHIP have provided 32$ R$ for rosters. Do his skills match the results?

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  Ctl   Dom  Cmd  FpK  SwK    G/L/F   H%/S%  hr/f  BPV   LI
====  ===  ====  ====  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ========  =====  ====  ===  ====
2015   93  5.30  4.39  3.1   6.5  2.1  52%   9%  46/23/30  33/65   10%   57  0.60
2016   89  2.92  3.34  3.6  11.2  3.1  59%  13%  47/17/36  28/77   10%  128  1.30
2017   79  2.16  2.79  2.3  11.8  5.2  58%  14%  46/20/34  27/85   15%  175  1.35
2018   72  2.75  2.83  3.5  13.3  3.8  59%  14%  45/21/34  31/81   15%  167  1.36
2019   44  2.45  3.00  2.3  13.9  6.2  67%  15%  23/33/44  34/82   12%  192  1.35

You bet, as his elite skills back the results: 

  • With a slider-first approach, the lefty misses bats (18% SwK) that has hitters chasing the pitch (40% O-Swing%) out of the zone. While his four-seam SwK has dipped to a 10% SwK with a 92.7 mph velocity, his SwK points to a steady double-digit Dom. 
  • Hello FpK increase, and his FpK gains say he can finish with a stronger Ctl than his 3.4 career Ctl. Even if his Ctl regresses slightly, his 8.8 Cmd vR can contribute to a helpful WHIP. 
  • While a higher FB% does not bode well for ERA, his exit velocity allowed on fly balls has decreased from 90.3 mph in 2018 to 88.3 mph in 2019. Even if his ERA moves closer to his xERA, his projected 2.63 ERA can lower ratios. 
  • His consistent LI shows that he has gained the manager's trust in high-leverage situations, and he has saved 27 games in 29 chances. 

The southpaw has built on his 2017 and 2018 seasons in 2019. His slider-first approach creates plenty of swings and misses, and he has the SwK to maintain a double-digit Dom. Adding FpK was the missing piece, which has strengthened his Ctl. Even with a higher FB%, decreasing the exit velocity on fly balls could limit some ERA regression. His strong LI and ability to close out games say he is a closer than could move up tiers in the closer rankings, and his career-high skills firmly support his career-high R$. 


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