FACTS/FLUKES: Lindor, DeShields, Nova, Britton, Vogelbach

Lindor having another big year... At age 25 Francisco Lindor (SS, CLE) is on track to post his fourth consecutive $25+ 5x5 season. Has he cemented his status as a first-rounder?

Year   AB  HR/SB    BA/xBA   ct%  bb%  OBA  HctX   PX/xPX    G/L/F   hr/f  Spd
====  ===  =====  =========  ===  === ====  ====  =======  ========  ====  ===
2015  390  12/12  .313/.284   82    6  353    92  105/ 75  51/21/29   13%  129
2016  604  15/19  .301/.282   85    8  358    95   77/ 74  49/22/28   10%  117
2017  651  33/15  .273/.290   86    8  337   122  120/122  39/18/42   11%  100
2018  661  38/25  .277/.292   84    9  352   128  131/136  39/22/40   17%   92 
2019  479  25/19  .301/.300   84    7  352   129  116/110  44/21/35   18%  105

​Lindor has skills worthy of a first-round pick, but his value as a true five-category contributor is limited as long as he bats leadoff for an underperforming Cleveland offense:

  • He has strong plate skills demonstrated by an outstanding 84% ct%. These skills have resulted in a career low xBA of .282, a high floor in today's game. His .349 career OBA mark makes him valuable in on-base leagues as well. 
  • His power is validated by well above league average marks in HctX, PX, and xPX. He also ranks in the 87th percentile of the Statcast metric of Exit Velocity.
  • His Spd scores have not been elite (career average Spd of 112), but he has been excellent on the basepaths this season with 19 steals while being caught only three times.
  • Lindor ranks only 45th in runs scored in MLB this year largely because of a mediocre Cleveland offense. He is 96th in RBI primarily because of batting leadoff.
  • He is the only hitter of the top twenty in YTD 5x5 R$ who has a AAA reliability score.

Francisco Lindor has been consistently excellent duing his career thus far. He has a high floor based on his strong skills, and if he moves out of the leadoff slot for Cleveland there would be stronger argument for making him a first round pick in 2020.

 

Deshields can be counted on for 20+ steals... Delino Deshields, Jr. (OF, TEX) has stolen 20 or more based five seasons in a row. Does this consistency come at too high a cost? 

Year   AB   HR/SB    BA/xBA   OBA  ct%  bb%   h%  HctX   PX/xPX    G/L/F    Spd  
====   ===  =====  =========  ===  ===  ===  ===  ====  =======  ========  ====
2015   425   2/25  .261/.237  344   76   11   34    72   79/ 56  47/19/34   171
2016*  389   6/24  .218/.218  295   69   10   30    57   66/ 51  55/17/28   105
2017   376   6/29  .269/.218  347   71   10   36    69   65/ 68  45/20/35   168
2018   334   2/20  .216/.218  310   75   11   28    77   48/ 58  49/19/32   112
2019   278   3/20  .252/.227  338   70   10   35    77   64/ 74  41/27/32   138
*includes MLEs

Yes, the cost for Deshields's 20 steals is too high. Those steals come at significant cost and risk:

  • DeShields has never been a full-time player. He has not even reached 400 AB in any of the last four seasons. This makes it difficult to manage him in fantasy, especially in weekly transaction leagues.
  • Although he has excellent Spd scores and is ranked 26th in MLB by Statcast's Sprint Speed metric, he has never cracked the 30 SB barrier in a season. 
  • He has no power evidenced by his HctX, PX, and xPX scores, and he is a major BA risk, with a .224 career xBA.

​DeShields's one skill is speed. He can steal bases, but doesn't play regularly enough to be a reliable contributor. He will not provide help in any other 5x5 category. DeShields should be left to those hoping for a major SB breakout.

 

Nova on steady decline... Ivan Nova (RHP, CWS) has produced similar surface stats (Wins, ERA, and K's) the past four years. Do his skills suggest this consistency is real? 

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  WHIP  Ctl   Dom  Cmd  FpK  SwK  H%   Vel  hr/f  BPV   
====  ===  ====  ====  ====  ===  ====  ===  ===  ===  ==  ====  ====  ===  
2015   94  5.07  4.50  1.40  3.2   6.0  1.9   55    8  30  93.0   13    50
2016  162  4.17  3.73  1.25  1.6   7.1  4.5   62   10  32  92.6   16   117  
2017  187  4.14  4.29  1.28  1.7   6.3  3.6   64    9  31  92.8   16    91
2018  161  4.19  4.38  1.28  2.0   6.4  3.3   57    9  30  92.9   15    86
2019  159  4.37  4.84  1.37  2.2   5.5  2.6   61    9  31  92.3   16    66

The stability of Nova's surface stats are masking a steady decline in his skills:

  • His xERA has moved steadily up from 3.73 in 2016 to 4.84 this season. 
  • His Ctl is still excellent, but it has been increasing. His Dom has been eroding since 2016 and is the second-lowest in the majors this year for pitchers who have more than 120 IP.
  • His BPV has also declined steadily since 2016.

Nova's declining skills and his current team context suggest there is little reason for a fantasy owner to invest here.

 

Britton leads the majors in holds... Zach Britton (LHP, NYY), who was an elite closer from 2014-2016 until he endured two injury-marred seasons, has re-emerged as a top setup man for the Yankees. Are his skills back to the level he was at when he was closing?

Year   IP  SV/HLD   ERA/xERA  Ctl  Dom  Cmd  FpK  SwK   Vel  H%  GB%  hr/f  BPV
====  ===  ======  =========  ===  ===  ===  ===  ===  ====  ==  ===  ====  ===
2014   76   37/ 7  1.65/2.44  2.7  7.3  2.7   55   13  95.1  22   75   17%  111
2015   66   36/ 0  1.92/1.75  1.9 10.8  5.6   64   17  95.9  31   79   20%  200
2016   67   47/ 0  0.54/1.95  2.4  9.9  4.1   56   18  96.3  24   80    7%  172
2017   37   15/ 0  2.89/3.56  4.3  7.0  1.6   56   12  96.1  33   73   11%   60
2018   41    7/ 9  3.10/3.31  4.6  7.5  1.6   50   13  94.9  24   73   25%   61
2019    54   3/28  2.18/3.52  5.0  7.4  1.5   57   10  94.8  23   78   21%   53 

Not by a long shot. Despite leading the majors in holds and maintaining an ERA close to 2.00, Britton's skills are more closely tracking his profile of the last two years than his elite years:

  • His xERA is more than one run higher than his ERA and is on par with his xERAs of the last two seasons. His BPV at 53 is well short of the 150+ BPV that many elite relievers post.
  • He is walking a career high number of batters, with Ctl of 5.0, and his Dom is well off the double-digit rates he posted during his years as an elite closer.
  • He does have a strong GB tilt. In fact his 78% GB% is tops in the majors. This limits the damage of his 20%+ hr/f.

Aroldis Chapman (LHP, NYY) has had a couple of wobbly stretches this season, but there is no danger of him losing his job to Britton. Based on team context, Britton has value in holds leagues, but it would not be surprising to see his ratios rise based on his current mediocre skills.

 

2nd half collapse for Vogelbach... Dan Vogelbach (1B, SEA) finally secured a full-time job in Seattle with a strong first half. His second half has been a nightmare. What can we expect from him in the future?

Year    AB    BA/xBA  OPSvL OPSvR  ct%  bb%  OBA  HctX   PX/xPX    G/L/F   hr/f   
=====  ===  ========= ===== =====  ===  ===  ===  ====  =======  ========  ====
2016*  471  .246/.255               73   14  353                 67/17/17
2017*  487  .242/.272   500   546   73   12  330   141   81/145  32/37/32        
2018*  384  .229/.246   274   815   74   15  349   143  112/161  44/21/34   19%  
2019   398  .214/.247   605   885   69   16  345    96  139/137  31/22/47   21%  
*includes MLEs

​In his first full season Vogelbach has proven himself as a strong power source with some significant limitations:

  • His PX and xPX have been excellent this season. He's in the top third of MLB in the Statcast metric of Barrels/Plate Appearance, however he's middle of the pack on Average Exit Velocity and Hard Hit %.
  • His 2nd half .160/.280/.361 contrasts sharply with the .244/.379/.519 he posted through June. His 2nd half line is not as bad as it looks because his xBA during that time is more than 50 points higher than his BA.
  • He is contact challenged (69% ct%), but he does have elite plate discipline putting up a 16% bb%. This makes him more valuable in OBA leagues.
  • The other hole in his skill set is his struggle with hitting lefthanders. His OPSvL is almost .300 lower than OPSvR.

Vogelbach is a work in progress. At age 26, he may be able to build on his outstanding plate discipline in the future. For now he's best used against righthanded pitchers.


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