FACTS/FLUKES: J.D. Martinez, Mancini, Hand, Price, Reddick

J.D. Martinez not hitting HRs... In most leagues, J.D. Martinez (OF, BOS) was drafted among the top ten picks. In a year where home runs are being hit at an unprecedented rate, Martinez has only five HR as the middle of May approaches. Are there reasons to be concerned that he may not deliver first-round value? 

Year  AB   HR   BA/xBA    ct%  bb%   h%   OBA  HctX   PX/xPX    G/L/F   hr/f  
====  ===  ==  =========  ===  ===  ===  ====  ====  =======  ========  ====  
2014  442  23  .315/.280   71    6   34  .358   134  183/159  40/23/37   19% 
2015  596  38  .282/.265   70    8   40  .344   131  175/182  34/22/43   21%
2016  460  22  .307/.271   72    9   38  .373   120  152/144  42/21/36   18%  
2017  428  45  .306/.306   70   11   34  .379   140  226/192  38/19/43   34%
2018  569  43  .330/.298   74   11   38  .402   123  178/148  43/23/34   29%
2019  143   5  .308/.256   83   10   34  .380   131   87/138  40/10/41   10%  

Martinez's power skills are intact. He will continue to provide first round value in 2019:

  • His HctX of 131 is higher than his HctX career mark. His xPX of 138 is consistent with his career 136 xPX.
  • His hr/f of 10% is well below his recent seasons, and is more in line with his hr/f before he famously retooled his swing in 2014.
  • His plate skills are also healthy. He is sporting a career best 83% ct% and a 10% bb%, contributing to his excellent OBA.
  • Martinez's xBA is only .256, but he has consistently posted BAs around 20 points higher than his xBA.

Despite Martinez's slow start in HR totals, he is still an elite hitter. His hr/f will likely normalize to the level he's posted in recent seasons and his PX will align closer with his xPX as he accumulates more AB. If he continues to set a new benchmark for ct%, his foundation for a .300+ BA will be even stronger. Martinez owners should not panic at this point in the season. The best is yet to come.

 

Mancini on a hot start... Trey Mancini (OF, BAL) has been a solid performer during the first two years of his career, but his start this season has hinted at a new higher level of performance. Is this start supported by the metrics, or should we expect him to return to the useful but unspectacular hitter of 2017-2018?

Year   AB   HR   BA/xBA    ct%  bb%   OBA  HctX  PX/xPX    G/L/F   hr/f   
====   ===  ==  =========  ===  ===  ====  ===  =======  ========  ==== 
2016*  560  20  .243/.220   70    9  .309  169   94/250  40/20/40   75% 
2017   543  24  .293/.263   74    6  .338  103  112/113  51/19/30   20%
2018   582  24  .299/.249   74    7  .299   91  104/ 95  55/19/26   21%
2019   138   7  .326/.297   77    8  .377  102  147/141  38/26/36   18%
*includes MLEs

​Mancini's start is supported by improvements in his underlying skills:

  • His plate skills (ct% and bb%) have not dramatically improved, but they do show progress over the past three seasons. 
  • His power, measured by PX and xPX, are up significantly from his first two seasons.
  • His batted-ball profile has shifted dramatically from a ground-ball-heavy tilt (51% and 55% in 2017 and 2018, respectively) to a much more line-drive/fly-ball-oriented split. 
  • The 2019 Baseball Forecaster suggested a downside of 15 HR if his hr/f dropped, but he seems to have established an hr/f of around 20%.

​Mancini may be in the midst of taking a significant step forward during his age 27 season. As we approach the one-quarter mark of the season, the sample sizes underlying the metrics are beginning to have more substance, and Mancini is showing improvements as a hitter using several different metrics. He could hit 30+ HR with a very useful BA this season.

 

Hand solidifying position as a top closer... Brad Hand's (LHP, CLE) first full season in Cleveland has begun well. Do his skills validate his elite reliever status?

Year   IP  SV/Hld  ERA/xERA   Ctl   Dom  Cmd  FpK  SwK  Vel   H%  S%  hr/f  BPV
====  ===  ======  =========  ===  ====  ===  ===  ==== ====  ==  ==  ====  ===
2015   93    0/ 2  5.30/4.39  3.1   6.5  2.1   52    9  92.1  33  65   10%   57
2016   89    1/21  2.92/3.36  3.6  11.2  3.1   59   13  92.8  28  77   10%  128
2017   79   21/16  2.16/2.81  2.3  11.8  5.2   58   14  93.5  27  85   15%  175
2018   72   32/10  2.75/2.83  3.5  13.3  3.8   59   14  93.6  31  81   15%  167                                               
2019   17   10/ 0  1.62/3.17  2.7  13.0  4.8   65   13  92.2  28  86    6%  147 

Hand hasn't missed a beat in taking over the Indians closer role:

  • His 13.0 Dom is only a tick off last year's 13.3. He is well on his way to his fourth consecutive season of 100+ Ks.
  • His below-league-average FpK in previous seasons limited his upside, but this year he has improved his FpK to an outstanding 65%. The sample size is still small (17 IP), but if he can maintain an improved FpK, it could help propel him into the ranks of the elite closers.
  • His 6% hr/f will likely increase to closer to his career norms, but perhaps his improvement is related to getting ahead of hitters at a higher rate than in the past.

Hand has been solid for the Indians so far, and with A grades in Health and Consistency, his owners can look forward to an excellent season from this near-elite closer.

 

Price has landed on the IL... David Price (LHP, BOS) is on the IL, but how has his season gone so far?

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  WHIP  Ctl   Dom  Cmd  FpK  SwK  H%   Vel  hr/f  BPV   
====  ===  ====  ====  ====  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ==  ====  ====  ===  
2012  211  2.56  3.10  1.10  2.5   8.7  3.5   63    9  29  95.5   11   120  
2013  187  3.33  3.34  1.10  1.3   7.3  5.6   68    8  30  93.5    9   119  
2014  248  3.26  3.00  1.08  1.4   9.8  7.1   70   11  32  93.2   10   159 
2015  220  2.45  3.36  1.08  1.9   9.2  4.8   67   12  30  94.2    8   132  
2016  230  3.99  3.63  1.20  2.0   8.9  4.6   65   12  32  92.9   14   130  
2017   75  3.38  4.17  1.19  2.9   9.1  3.2   67   13  30  94.3   10   105
2018  176  3.58  3.86  1.14  2.6   9.1  3.5   62   10  28  92.7   13   112
2019   36  3.75  3.40  1.14  2.5  10.5  4.2   68   14  30  92.3   14   140

​With his start to the season, Price has been proving the naysayers wrong:

  • Price has been putting up a career-high Dom, and assuming his IL stint is a short one, could be back in the 200+ K club. 
  • He has always been an ace in WHIP and with his 1.14 so far, this year is no exception.
  • His FpK is his best since 2014 and his SwK is at a career high, contributing to his SP-elite BPV of 140.

Assuming the initial reports of his injury are true, Price should be back shortly and will continue to be a #1 or #2 fantasy starter.

 

Reddick's value limited in Houston... Josh Reddick (OF, HOU) has solid skills, but has plenty of competition for AB in Houston.

Year  AB   HR/SB    BA/xBA    OBA  ct%  bb%   h%  HctX   PX/xPX    G/L/F   hr/f  
====  ===  =====  =========  ====  ===  ===  ===  ====  =======  ========  ====
2014  363  12/ 1  .264/.250  .316   83    7   29   103  133/135  45/15/40   14%
2015  526  20/10  .272/.276  .333   88    8   28    99  100/ 93  38/21/41   11%
2016  398  10/ 8  .281/.261  .345   86    9   31   106   69/ 90  41/22/37    8%
2017  477  13/ 7  .314/.275  .363   85    8   35   107   95/ 97  34/24/42    7%
2018  433  17/ 7  .242/.241  .318   82   10   26    91   83/ 91  37/19/44    7%
2019  118   3/ 1  .331/.274  .383   87    8   36   102   55/ 62  37/27/35    8%

Because of injuries and playing time competition, despite good plate skills, Reddick has not reached the 500 AB plateau since 2015. He's unlikely to do so again this year, limiting his value:

  • Throughout his career, he has maintained an excellent ct%. He's continued this trend in 2019 with an 87% ct%.
  • His .331 BA is a bit of a mirage because of a 36% h%. His xBA is .274.
  • His PX and xPX have both been below league average since 2015. Underwhelming power metrics and a low hr/f make another 20 HR season highly unlikely.
  • The biggest risk to Reddick's fantasy production are Houston's other options in the outfield. Jake Marisnick (OF, HOU), Tony Kemp (OF, HOU), and Yordan Alvarez (OF, HOU)—who is destroying AAA pitching—are options the Astros can easily go to if he has any kind of a slump or experiences another injury. Another top prospect, Kyle Tucker (OF, HOU) is waiting at Round Rock for another chance as well.

​At age 32, Reddick does not have the upside of other options in the Astros outfield. He will have to perform consistently to get even 400 AB this season. Reddick owners should have a back-up plan in mind.


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