FACTS/FLUKES: Jimenez, M. Perez, Goodrum, Kikuchi, Urshela

Jimenez's xPX lags behind... After hitting six HR in April and May, Eloy Jimenez (OF, CHW) slugged eight HR with 20 RBI in June. Through 294 at-bats, he has hit .237 with 18 HR, 43 RBI, and 40 R. How do his skills look in his rookie season?

Year   AB  HR    BA   xBA   vL    vR   bb%  ct%    G/L/F   HctX   PX  xPX  hr/f
====  ===  ==  ====  ====  ====  ====  ===  ===  ========  ====  ===  ===  ====
2017^  68   3  .342   N/A   N/A   N/A    7   74     N/A     N/A  130  N/A   N/A
2018* 416  21  .315   N/A   N/A   N/A    7   81     N/A     N/A  128  N/A   N/A 
2019  294  18  .235  .229  .687  .756    7   69  51/15/34    83  114   82   26%
^AA MLEs
*AA/AAA MLEs

He has some work to do, as his ct%, xPX, and HctX are below average:

  • His GB%, below-average xPX, and below-average HctX could cap his power output. However, his 6.3% Brls/PA is above average at 124th in the majors, and his 95.8 mph exit velocity on fly balls with a 342 feet average distance are positive signs. While his xPX and HctX doubt his current hr/f, he could finish with 25+ HR in the current MLB power environment. 
  • After displaying more ct% in the minor leagues in 2018, his ct% has declined in the majors. On the plus side, he posted a 72% ct% in 43 at-bats in July, and he has carried over his bb% from the minors. Although his xBA says his current BA is a fact, returning to his ct% from the minor leagues could push his BA in a positive direction. 
  • A 59% GB% and 67% ct% vL have contributed to a lower OPS vL. When he does hit the ball in the air vL, he owns a 94.8 mph exit velocity on fly balls. 

Jimenez's results may not be what owners desired with a pick just outside of Top 100 in 2019 drafts. While his barrels and fly ball exit velocity point to his power potential, his below-average xPX, HctX, and GB% could leave him with a HR total in the mid-20's for his rookie year. His ct% growth from the minors has disappeared, and his below-average BA has been a fact so far. Although he is drawing walks versus southpaws, his GB% may cut into his power. His prospect pedigree make him a trade target, but his below-average skills (13 BPV) point out that he will need to continue to adjust. 

 

Perez raises velocity... When we checked in on Martin Perez (LHP, MIN) in the spring, his improved velocity was part of the news. He averaged 94.5 mph in five April starts, and 93.9 mph in four July outings. In 122 IP, his eight wins, 106 strikeouts, 4.80 ERA, and 1.43 WHIP have contributed to a $0 R$. Has he improved his skills?

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  Ctl   Dom  Cmd  FpK  SwK    G/L/F   H%/S%  hr/f  BPV 
====  ===  ====  ====  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ========  =====  ====  ===  
2015   79  4.46  4.05  2.7   5.5  2.0  65%   8%  60/18/22  33/67    5%   63
2016  199  4.39  4.84  3.4   4.7  1.4  64%   8%  53/20/26  29/70   10%   22
2017  185  4.82  4.89  3.1   5.6  1.8  59%   7%  47/25/28  33/71   13%   43
2018   85  6.22  5.25  3.8   5.5  1.4  59%   7%  51/20/29  35/68   18%   25
2019  122  4.80  4.58  3.5   7.8  2.2  63%  11%  49/22/29  31/70   17%   72

Even though his skills have improved, he owns a below-average skill set:

  • Throwing a cutter (12% SwK) has boosted his SwK, and his change-up (17% SwK) can still miss bats. His 94.5 mph velocity in April contributed to a 12% SwK in April, but he has lost a tick (93.3 mph) in two August outings with a 9% SwK. Even with a career-high Dom, his strikeouts are still below league average. 
  • His steady GB% can try to limit some of the ERA damage, and his 3.9% Brls/PA allowed is lower than league average. Allowing more hard-hit balls at Target Field has contributed to his hr/f, and his xERA echoes a 4.50+ ERA. 
  • Improving his FpK has helped his Ctl, but a 1.47 career WHIP suggests his WHIP is likely remain high.  

The lefty's increased velocity and a cutter that creates swings and misses have boosted his SwK in 2019, and his career-high Dom is a fact. Even with a career-high BPV, his ratios can inflate a roster's ratios. While his GB% can help ERA, his hr/f and xERA expect an ERA in the mid-4.00's. His FpK gains have provided a better Ctl, but his career WHIP says to temper expectations for a big improvement. Owners should enjoy the increased strikeouts, but Perez's below-average skills put his R$ in jeopardy of a sixth-straight negative R$ season.  

 

Goodrum has wheels... In 2018, Niko Goodrum (SS, DET) added some power and speed to rosters with a .245, 16 HR, 12 SB, 53 RBI, and 55 R performance. In 2019, he has provided double-digit HR and SB, as he has hit .250 with 10 HR, 12 SB, 42 RBI, and 56 R in 388 at-bats. Is his power/speed combo for real?

Year   AB  HR/SB    BA   xBA  bb%  ct%    G/L/F   HctX   PX/xPX  hr/f  Spd  SBO
====  ===  =====  ====  ====  ===  ===  ========  ====  =======  ====  ===  ===
2015^ 209   4/13  .214   N/A    9   74     N/A     N/A   72/N/A   N/A  146  34%
2016^ 182   5/ 7  .248   N/A    9   69     N/A     N/A  104/N/A   N/A  102  19%
2017* 478  12/10  .241  .225    6   71  71/ 0/29   123   92/ 81    0%  127  17%
2018  444  16/12  .245  .252    9   70  44/23/33    95  126/102   16%  114  16%
2019  388  10/12  .250  .245   10   68  39/29/32    92  104/ 83   12%  137  14%
^AA MLEs
*-Inc. MLEs

The speed is supported by skills more than the power: 

  • His above-average Spd with a steady SBO points to a SB tally in the teens. After posting a 75% SB% in 2018, he owns an 86% SB% (12 SB in 14 attempts) in 2019. His 29.0 feet/second sprint speed is in the 92nd percentile in MLB, which points to continued chances.  
  • While his xPX has dipped in 2019, his FB%, 90.4 mph exit velocity on fly balls, and HctX have held steady. With a 304 feet average fly ball distance and 14% career hr/f, he can come close to matching his 16 HR in 2018.  
  • Increasing his LD% is a good sign, but his below-average HctX and xBA point to some possible BA loss in August and September. He can use his Spd for hits, as he owns an 8.8% infield hit rate. 
  • A 65% ct% vR has contributed to a .680 OPS vR. His 48% h% vL has helped his .971 OPS vL (.843 career OPS vL), and he owns a 292 feet average fly ball distance vL. 

Goodrun has an interesting power-speed profile, but the skill results have been mixed. His above-average Spd, SBO, and SB% say a career-high SB tally would be a fact. Even in a HR-friendly environment, his power is not as supported. A below-average HctX and xPX say that he may fall shy of his 16 HR from 2018. His below-average ct% vR puts pressure on his Spd for infield hits, and his xBA expects some small pullback in the last two months. While his xPX dims his power outlook, he has enough Spd to chase an R$ value in the teens. 

 

Kikuchi has rough transition... There were mid-level SP expectations for Yusei Kikuchi (LHP, SEA) and his MLB transition in 2019. So far, the southpaw has disappointed. Through 123 IP, his four wins, 92 strikeouts, 5.34 ERA, and 1.48 WHIP have contributed to a $-7 R$. Does he deserve the bad results?

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  Ctl   Dom  Cmd  FpK  SwK    G/L/F   H%/S%  hr/f  BPV 
====  ===  ====  ====  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ========  =====  ====  === 
2015+ 133  3.53  3.46  4.6   7.8  1.7  N/A  N/A     N/A    26/76   N/A   64
2016+ 143  3.20  3.86  5.2   7.6  1.4  N/A  N/A     N/A    29/80   N/A   62
2017+ 188  2.44  2.78  2.9   9.9  3.4  N/A  N/A     N/A    24/85   N/A  108
2018+ 164  3.82  3.70  3.1   8.0  2.6  N/A  N/A     N/A    25/73   N/A   69
2019  123  5.34  5.14  3.0   6.7  2.2  58%   9%  45/19/36  31/71   20%   63
+Nippon Professional Baseball League MLEs

His below-average skills (63 BPV) and xERA say he deserves most of the bad results:

  • Although his slider (16% SwK) can create whiffs, his below-average SwK expects a below-average Dom. His Dom could finish close to his three years of an 8.0 Dom or lower from Japan. 
  • With a below-average FpK, his Ctl could be capped. His current Ctl echoes his 2017-18 Ctl. 
  • Keeping the ball on the ground with three pitches can help his efforts, but hitters have had success against his fastball (1.007 OPS) and slider (.994 OPS). His 6.3% Brls/PA allowed is higher than league average (119th in MLB). While his hr/f could dip some, his xERA points out that his 5.00+ ERA is deserved.  
  • His 8.07 ERA (5.46 FIP) when facing an order for the third time has hurt his ratios.  

The lefty's 2017 skills appear to be the anomaly, and his below-average BPV is in line with his other years in Japan. With a below-average SwK, he is projected to fall short of a strikeout an inning. Although his FpK is below average, his Ctl is similar to his 2017-18 Ctl from Japan. His xERA points out that it isn't just bad fortune, but his GB% and a lower hr/f point to a 4.50 projected ERA. So far, his negative R$ and poor results are indicative of his below-average skills. 

 

Urshela flashes some pop... Entering the 2019 season, Giovanny Urshela (3B, NYY) had only hit 8 HR since 2015. He has more than doubled that HR total in 2019. Though 306 at-bats, his .320, 16 HR, 59 RBI, and 55 R have contributed to a career-high $20 R$. Is his newfound power a breakout or a fluke?

Year   AB  HR    BA   xBA   vL    vR   bb%  ct%    G/L/F   HctX   PX  xPX  hr/f
====  ===  ==  ====  ====  ====  ====  ===  ===  ========  ====  ===  ===  ====
2015  267   6  .225  .240  .677  .585    6   78  42/24/34    76   67   74    8%
2017  156   1  .224  .252  .535  .560    5   86  46/23/31    85   41   60    2%
2018   43   1  .233  .184 1.025  .507    4   77  45/ 9/45    60   55   41    7%
2019  306  16  .320  .310  .899  .940    6   83  38/26/35   132  126  134   18%

His skills growth (68 BPV) backs his performance:

  • His xPX and HctX have grown tremendously in 2019, and while his FB% isn't ideal, his power growth has been a fact. His 5.8% Brls/PA is above average (151st in MLB), and his average fly ball exit velocity has jumped from 89 mph in 2018 to 93.8 mph in 2019 with 21 extra feet of average fly ball distance. While his 11% career-hr/f casts some doubt, his power output can reach 20+ HR. 
  • Hello HctX and LD%, which have boosted his BA. His above-average HctX and above-average ct% point to an xBA that can finish near .300. 
  • He's displaying 80%+ ct% vL and vR with power against both sides of the platoon with a 137 PX vL and a 122 PX vR. While current OPS vR could slow down with a 29% career-h% vR and a .715 career-OPS vR, he owns a 48% hard contact rate vR in 2019. 

Those owners that have rostered Urshela have enjoyed the ride up. His HctX and xPX back his power surge in 2019, and his exit velocity growth on fly balls further supports his new 20+ HR power. He hasn't sold out for power either, as his above-average ct%, strong LD%, and above-average HctX say he can continue to chase his first .300 season. Although he has taken fewer walks vL, his consistent ct% and power vL and vR support most of his gains. If he gives any gains back, it may be vR with an inflated h%. His growing skills point out that his career-high R$ is a fact. 


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