FACTS/FLUKES: J. Ramirez, M. Boyd, Benintendi, Diaz, and Lindor

Ramirez joins elite... In the 2018 Baseball Forecaster, Ryan Bloomfield said that Jose Ramirez (3B/2B, CLE) had the "support for a five-category redux." Boy, was he ever right. Ramirez has hit .301 with 37 HR, 91 RBI, 87 R, and 27 SB through 442 at-bats in 2018. Does he have skills support behind his MVP-like performance? 

Year   AB  HR/SB    BA   xBA  bb%  ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX   PX/xPX  hr/f  Spd  SBO
====  ===  =====  ====  ====  ===  ===  ========  ==  ====  =======  ====  ===  ===
2014* 482   6/25  .265  .274    6   86  47/24/28  30    85   72/ 71    4%  120  30%
2015  315   6/27  .219  .258    9   88  48/16/36  23    91   72/ 69    6%  137  18%
2016  565  11/22  .312  .290    7   89  41/23/36  34    97   91/ 77    6%  109  18%
2017  585  29/17  .318  .320    8   88  39/21/40  32   121  138/102   14%  117  15%
2018  442  37/27  .301  .322   15   87  33/21/46  28   128  168/139   21%   98  22%
*inc. MLEs

Definitely, his career-high skills (145 BPV) are among the elite:

  • Ramirez's HctX, xPX, and FB% increases support most of the HR bump. He's pulling the ball 53% of the time, which pairs nicely with his 39% hard-contact rate and FB%. His 7.4% barrels per plate appearance (measure of squaring up the ball; Brls/PA) currently ranks 46th in MLB.  
  • His 1.42 Eye has almost doubled in 2018, as his bb% growth and consistent ct% back a .300+ BA and .400+ OBP. 
  • While his Spd has decreased, his 84% SB% should keep the SBO coming. 
  • He is crushing vR with an 1.136 OPS, 32 HR, and 190 PX. 

Ramirez's second-round ADP entering 2018 will only rise in 2019 drafts. With $54 R$ and elite skills, he will be one of the first picks in 2019 drafts. His strong plate discipline backs a .300 BA going forward, and his bb% surge will help in OBP leagues. His xPX and HctX growth supports most of his power going forward, and his Spd is his only declining skill. Ramirez's five-category contributions will play well in any format in 2019. 

 

Boyd offers decent production... With a better showing in 2018, Matt Boyd (LHP, DET) should move above his 466 ADP from March. Although his skills through June were similar to his 2017 skills, he backed a 158 BPV and a 3.50 xERA with a 62% FpK, 11% SwK, and 40% GB% in July. What can we expect going forward for the lefty? 

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  Ctl   Dom  Cmd  FpK  SwK    G/L/F    H%  S% hr/f  BPV 
====  ===  ====  ====  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ========  === === ====  === 
2015   57  7.53  5.13  3.1   6.8  2.2  59%   9%  32/16/52   31  58  18%   47   
2016   97  4.53  4.56  2.7   7.6  2.8  63%  10%  38/17/45   29  71  13%   80
2017  130  5.25  5.17  3.5   7.4  2.1  60%  10%  37/22/41   33  68  11%   53
2018  135  4.27  4.41  2.7   8.1  3.0  57%  10%  31/22/47   26  64   9%   80

Boyd can provide average production for a rotation: 

  • Throwing his slider (16% SwK) more often has supported his slightly below-average SwK, which supports a Dom that is slightly below-average.  
  • While his FB% bump and his hard-contact rate increase to 37% can inflate ERA, his average fly-ball distance is down from 323 feet in 2017 to 300 feet in 2018. 
  • His 62% FpK in July helped his efforts and 3.50 xERA, and the southpaw will need to gain more FpK to sustain his Ctl.  
  • A favorable 6% hr/f has helped the lefty in home starts. 

Boyd's expected ERA correction happened in June with a 15% hr/f, but his strong skills from July offer some hope for 2019. Even though his FB% and hard-contact rate could limit his ERA gains in 2019, he has the skills to be a serviceable rotation piece. Monitor his FpK during the final month to gauge where to jump in on the southpaw after pick 300 in 2019 drafts. 

 

Benintendi closes in on 20/20 season... When we checked in on Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS) in early June, he was coming off of a six HR, 23 RBI and four SB performance in May. The outfielder stayed hot in June with six HR, 15 RBI, and six SB. Through 440 at-bats, he has 15 HR, 70 RBI, and 20 SB. As Benintendi closes in on a 20/20 repeat, how do his skills look? 

Year   AB   BA/  xBA   vL   bb%  ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX   PX/xPX  hr/f  Spd/SB%/SBO
====  ===  =========  ====  ===  ===  ========  ==  ====  =======  ====  ===========
2016* 342  .289/.288  .429    8   84  36/25/39  33   112  117/116    6%  116/47%/19%
2017  573  .271/.256  .622   11   80  40/21/38  31   112   85/100   11%  110/80%/14%
2018  440  .298/.279  .720   12   81  39/23/38  34    90  118/ 89   11%  112/91%/16%

*Includes MLEs

His skills (78 BPV) are optimistic:

  • Carrying over his above-average ct% and bb% have contributed to a 0.72 Eye, and his xBA gains approve. 
  • A poor 69 HctX and 59 xPX from April have kept his HctX and xPX below his 2017 levels. Owners should not worry, as his HctX (92, 104, 113) and xPX (111, 108, 97) have improved since June 1. 
  • Although his OPS and 124 PX vL increased in 2018, his 73% ct% and 8% bb% says that he still has some work to do to improve his 0.31 Eye vL. 
  • Steady Spd and increasing SB% continue to support SBO. 

Benintendi's five-category contributions play well in any format, as his $37 R$ is a career-high. His consistent Spd and improved SB% support 20+ SB in 2019. If he can avoid a slow power start in April, he has enough HctX and xPX the rest of the season to hit 20 HR. Monitor his Eye vL, as it's an area that could use a boost. With a spot in a strong offensive lineup, Benintendi's growing stock could inch toward a top-25 pick in 2019. 

 

Diaz displays elite skills... After giving up more fly balls and walks in 2017, Edwin Diaz (RHP, SEA) had a top-100 ADP entering 2018. To those fantasy owners that invested in the closer, they are enjoying the profit with a $40 R$. The right-hander has 47 saves in 50 save attempts with a 1.95 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, and 103 K in 60 IP. What do his skills suggest about 2019?

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  Ctl   Dom  Cmd  FpK  SwK    G/L/F   H%  S%  hr/f  BPV   LI
====  ===  ====  ====  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ========  ==  ==  ====  ===  ====
2016   52  2.79  2.22  2.6  15.3  5.9  58%  19%  47/23/31  41  80   15%  230  1.34
2017   66  3.27  3.78  4.4  12.1  2.8  56%  17%  39/15/46  26  79   14%  118  1.64
2018   60  1.95  1.88  2.3  15.5  6.9  68%  20%  46/19/35  30  77    8%  241  1.41

His elite skills are worth the investment: 

  • He supports a strong Dom with a slider (28% SwK) and four-seam fastball (14% SwK) that create consistent swings and misses. 
  • A FpK surge backs a better than league-average Ctl, which is an encouraging sign after his Ctl struggles in 2017. 
  • Trading fly balls for ground balls has helped his ERA, and reducing his hard-contact rate from 33% in 2017 to 25% in 2018 backs his efforts. While his hr/f is below his 13% career-hr/f, inducing softer contact and a 299 feet average fly ball distance (319 feet in 2017) say he's made improvements. 

With elite SwK, Diaz's improved FpK and Ctl contribute to the best RP skills (241 BPV) in MLB. Gaining GB% and softer contact further supports his gains going forward. When looking for strikeouts, strong ratios, and saves for 2019 rosters, Diaz should be one of the first RP names off the board. His career-high skills and career-high R$, at only age 24, make him a strong keeper asset. 

 

Lindor on track for first-round status... Francisco Lindor (SS, CLE) is earning his second-round price tag with five-category production in 2018. Through 496 at-bats, his .292, 29 HR, 76 RBI, 102 R, and 19 SB performance has earned $42 worth of R$. Although he may fall shy of 30 HR and 30 SB, how is he supporting his stellar year? 

Year   AB  HR/SB    BA   xBA  bb%  ct%    G/L/F   h%  HctX   PX/xPX  hr/f  Spd  SBO
====  ===  =====  ====  ====  ===  ===  ========  ==  ====  =======  ====  ===  ===
2014^ 507   9/23  .248   N/A    7   79     N/A    30   N/A   67/N/A   N/A  105  29%
2015* 619  14/20  .298  .275    7   82  51/21/29  34    92   92/ 75   13%  136  17%
2016  604  15/19  .301  .282    8   85  49/22/28  33    95   77/ 74   10%  117  13%
2017  651  33/15  .273  .289    8   86  39/18/42  28   122  120/122   14%  100  11%
2018  496  29/19  .292  .305   10   83  38/24/38  30   132  144/137   18%   82  20%
^MLEs
*inc. MLEs

His plate discipline and power are growing, but his Spd has dipped: 

  • He backs 30+ HR power with increasing HctX, xPX, exit velocity (94.3 MPH on FB/LD), and a 43% hard-contact rate. His HctX and xPX gains support his hr/f growth. 
  • The shortstop hasn't sacrificed his 0.69 Eye for power. His LD% increase pairs well with his growing HctX to support a .300+ xBA. His plate skills (11% bb% and 92% ct%) were strong in July. 
  • Even with more SBO, his declining Spd and 73% SB% could keep his stolen base total below 30. 

With growing power and strong plate discipline, Lindor's five-category production and $42 R$ should have him in first-round conversations in 2019. His skills (94 BPV) can boost batting average while adding 100+ runs and plenty of RBI to a roster. While his Spd and SB% decline may cap his SB total, he has the SBO to add double-digit SB. When looking for a five-category contributor early in 2019 drafts, Lindor should be high on the list. 


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