FACTS/FLUKES: Correa, Clevinger, Givens, Gregorius, and K. Herrera

Correa continues ascent... After he crushed 17 home runs and drove in 55 runs in the first half of 2017, a torn ligament in his left thumb caused Carlos Correa (SS, HOU) to miss some time. Even when he returned from the injury, the shortstop posted a career-high home run total, and his .315 batting average was an asset to many a fantasy team. Is this just the beginning of his ascent to stardom? 

Year   AB   BA/  xBA HR/SB  bb%  ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX   PX/xPX  hr/f  Spd/SBO
====  ===  ========= =====  ===  ===  ========  ==  ====  =======  ====  =======
2015  387  .279/.300 22/14    9   80  49/22/29  30   115  143/103   24%   82/17%
2016  577  .274/.275 20/13   11   76  50/22/27  33   115  113/100   17%  109/ 9%
2017  422  .315/.288 24/ 2   11   78  48/20/32  36   125  130/108   23%   94/ 2%

It sure appears so. Most of Correa's skills are in growth mode: 

  • Correa's gains in HctX and FB% pair with the second-highest exit velocity among 2017 SS (99.3 MPH on FB/LD) to support his power push, even though xPX and GB% don't quite believe. 
  • Even if h%, BA slip (xBA) a few points, his ability to draw walks and make contact with an above-average Eye (0.58) back an above-average BA. 
  • Matching up well vL (.875 OPS) and vR (.860 OPS) contributes to his steady production. 
  • Hitting in the middle of the order resulted in a red light (SBO) on the basepaths in 2017. 

With a full year of at-bats, Correa's presence in the middle of the Houston order can return $30 in Rotisserie value. Even with the wave of young shortstops in MLB, Correa's elite skills (63 BPV) are worth a pretty penny. When his name is called, go the extra dollar, as he has the skills and lineup to surpass his 2017 home run and RBI totals. 

 

Clevinger misses more bats... With a risking SwK/Dom combination, Michael Clevinger (RHP, CLE) can offer strikeouts for fantasy rosters. Missing bats consistently with three pitches contributed to 137 K in 122 IP and a 4.05 xERA. Is he worth at spot at the back of fantasy rotations?  

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

Yes, Clevinger can contribute to strikeout totals, as he goes to work on his control:

  • Missing more bats with his slider (23% SwK) and change-up (19% SwK) ramped up his SwK/Dom. Hitters chased (45.8% O-Swing) his change-up out of the zone and had a difficult time connecting (61.9% Z-Contact%) with his slider in the zone. 
  • While throwing more FpK could help, his below-average Ctl illustrates that he still has some work to do. 
  • Allowing harder contact (36% hard) and more FB% (43% FB%) vL resulted in an .819 oOPS vL. 

Using three pitches that create swings and misses will boost his strikeout totals while he works on a fastball that hitters can square up (.820 OPS). Although his improving FpK sends rays of hope for better days ahead, his below-average control may lead to some ERA and WHIP damage. Even with some risks, his strikeouts can provide value at the back of a rotation.  

 

Givens vultures wins again... With three-consecutive triple-digit BPV seasons, Mychal Givens (RHP, BAL) has provided value in fantasy bullpens. In 2017, he struck out 88 batters in 79 innings while lowering ratios with a 2.75 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. For the second year in a row, he earned eight wins in the bullpen. Do his underlying skills provide confidence? 

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  Ctl   Dom  Cmd  FpK  SwK    G/L/F   H%  S%  hr/f  BPV   LI
====  ===  ====  ====  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ========  ==  ==  ====  ===  ====
2015   30  1.80  2.61  1.8  11.4  6.3  63%  13%  39/30/31  29  80    5%  174  0.79
2016   75  3.13  3.64  4.3  11.6  2.7  59%  15%  35/25/39  32  78    9%  104  1.10
2017   79  2.75  3.61  2.9  10.1  3.5  57%  13%  43/17/40  26  81   13%  125  1.13

His skills share some optimism and pessimism: 

  • Increasing velocity (95.6 MPH) and elite SwK back above-average Dom. 
  • Healthy LI reveals his manager's trust in Givens to escape tough situations. 
  • Givens didn't support Ctl drop with FpK rise, and his descending FpK signals more walks in the future. 
  • While it appeared that he improved (.619 oOPS vL) against southpaws, some of his success was aided by a 21% H% vL.    

Even with LI support and triple-digit skills backing him, earning eight wins in back-to-back seasons has boosted his value. While it's ill-advised to expect another eight wins, the right-hander can provide strikeouts and ratio support, even if his H% moves closer to his 29% career-H%. As long as we don't rely on the above-average control to continue, he's a decent end-game LIMA stash. 

 

Gregorius posts a $20 season... The last time we visited Didi Gregorius (SS, NYY), we noted that his "expected power and hard contact index" were lagging. In the second half of 2017, the shortstop hit 15 home runs, drove in 51 runs, and posted a 71 BPV. Can he hold his second-half gains in 2018? 

Year   AB   BA/  xBA HR/SB  bb%  ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX   PX/xPX  hr/f  Spd/SBO
====  ===  ========= =====  ===  ===  ========  ==  ====  =======  ====  ======= 
2013  357  .252/.241  7/ 0    9   82  37/21/42  29    79   81/ 87    6%  141/ 2%
2014  270  .226/.238  6/ 3    7   81  37/20/43  26    98   88/106    6%  140/ 5%
2015  525  .265/.252  9/ 5    6   84  45/21/34  30    82   68/ 64    6%  104/ 6%
2016  562  .276/.271 20/ 7    3   85  40/20/40  29    85   96/ 78   10%  103/ 7%
2017  534  .287/.274 25/ 3    4   87  36/20/44  29    81   96/ 67   12%   97/ 3%

As noted before, a few indicators don't buy the power bump: 

  • His below-average expected power index, flat-lining HctX, below-average exit velocity on FB/LD (88.8 MPH-456th in MLB), and average fly ball distance from 2016-2017 (303 feet) don't support more home runs and increasing hr/f. 
  • Doesn't hit vL as well, as he owns a career .646 OPS and 53 PX vL. 
  • Gregorius' Spd skills are dwindling, and he doesn't see many SB chances in the middle of the order. 
  • Pairing an above-average contact rate with steady line drives provides BA floor, even with his FB% surge. 

Gregorius' increased home run totals may not last in 2018. With several underlying indicators failing to support his 2017 power, don't pay for more than his xBA and 20-22 home runs. While he may hit fewer home runs, hitting in the third-best offense (.785 OPS) from 2017 could continue to help his counting stats. During the middle of drafts, he can offer some value in the middle infield. 

 

Herrera struggles in second half... Kelvin Herrera (RHP, KC) secured 18 saves during the first half of 2017, and his skills (133 BPV) were intact. During the second half, he closed out eight games. He experienced lower forearm tightness in late August, and his 4.78 xERA, and falling skills (54 BPV) added more cause for concern. With health, can Herrera return to his 2016 skills?

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  Ctl   Dom  Cmd  FpK  SwK    G/L/F   H%  S%  hr/f  BPV   LI
====  ===  ====  ====  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ========  ==  ==  ====  ===  ====
2014   70  1.41  3.42  3.3   7.6  2.3  55%  13%  49/27/24  28  86    0%   73  1.14
2015   70  2.71  3.79  3.4   8.3  2.5  61%  14%  45/23/33  26  78    8%   81  1.17
2016   72  2.75  2.86  1.5  10.8  7.2  65%  16%  44/23/33  30  75   10%  175  1.22
2017   59  4.25  4.30  3.0   8.5  2.8  60%  12%  48/18/34  31  73   15%   97  1.09
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
17-2H  27  3.62  4.78  4.6   8.2  1.8  57%  11%  52/13/34  31  76    7%   54  1.08

The outlook of matching 2016's skills is not promising: 

  • Herrera missed fewer bats with his change-up (12% SwK in 2017; 22% SwK in 2016), and SwK decline may keep Dom below elite 2016 level, as his 9.0 career Dom sets the standard. 
  • Ctl started waning in July (50% FpK and 5.7 Ctl) and his career 59% FpK and 2.7 Ctl make his 2016 Ctl look like an anomaly. He also reverted to issuing more walks (5.4 Ctl in 2017 and 4.3 Ctl in 2015) against LHB. 
  • Keeping the ball on the ground (career 48% GB%) and a 10% career-hr/f provide a solid floor for his 3.51 career-xERA. 

While Herrera will have a difficult time duplicating his efforts from 2016, he has maintained above-average skills (115 BPV) throughout this career. His slightly better than league-average control and above-average SwK provide a decent foundation, even with some Ctl struggles versus LHB. Monitor his health this spring, as more forearm issues would cut into his saves potential. 


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