2020 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: 48 amazing stats, presented without commentary

Sometimes, the numbers say more than words can.

Well, that’s enough babbling from me. Let’s gooooooooooooooooo!

If you project Ronald Acuna’s numbers as a leadoff hitter last year over a full season, they come out to 44 homers and 45 steals. He’s expected to spend all of his time in the leadoff spot this yearOnly three qualifying batters had a higher walk rate than Cavan Biggio in 2019, and one of them was Mike Trout. Only one qualifying batter had a lower ground-ball rate than Biggio in 2019, and it was, yes, Mike Trout.Hyun-Jin Ryu has a 2.21 ERA over the past two seasons, spanning 44 starts.Yordan Alvarez had 50 home runs and 42 doubles between the majors and minors last year. Only three players in major-league history have reached those thresholds in a single season: Chris Davis in 2013, Albert Belle in 1995 and Babe Ruth in 1921.Shane Bieber had 10 starts of more than seven innings in 2019. Max Scherzer had five. Justin Verlander had four. Gerrit Cole had three. Jacob deGrom had two.White Sox prospect Nick Madrigal struck out 16 times last year. In 163 career minor-league games, he has struck out 21 times.Jose Ramirez had nearly a full calendar year — from mid-August 2018 through early July 2019 — in which he hit .198 with eight home runs in 449 at-bats. It was sandwiched in between MVP-caliber production, including a .326 batting average and 18 homers over his final 178 at-bats.Max Fried had a 3.32 xFIP last year, better than Walker Buehler and Jack Flaherty.Chris Paddack had a 4.05 xFIP last year, worse than Marcus Stroman and Matthew Boyd.Speaking of Boyd, his HR/9 rate over his final 18 starts, when his ERA ballooned from 3.08 to 4.56, was 2.6. No full-time starting pitcher has ever put together a rate that bad over a full season. The closest was Jose Lima’s 2.2 in 2000.Last year, Juan Soto had a .282 batting average, 34 home runs, 110 RBI and a .949 OPS. Over the past six years, Nelson Cruz has averaged a .285 batting average, 41 home runs, 105 RBI and a .916 OPS.On the other hand, Juan Soto has hit 56 home runs prior to his age-21 season, which is coming up in 2020. Only one player in major-league history hit more through age 20: Mel Ott.Paul Goldschmidt entered last year a career .319 hitter against four-seam fastballs, with a single-season mark no lower than .285. He hit .235 against four-seamers last year.Not only did Mitch Garver lead all catchers in slugging percentage, ISO and OPS in 2019 but he averaged 3.61 Head-to-Head points per game. Consensus No. 1 catcher J.T. Realmuto averaged 3.05. That’s as big as the gap between Javier Baez and Niko Goodrum among shortstops.Red Sox closer Brandon Workman‘s .123 batting average against was the second-lowest ever for a pitcher with at least 50 innings, bettered only by Aroldis Chapman‘s .121 in 2014.Of the 22 relievers with at least 20 saves last season, 17 threw at least 60 innings. Aroldis Chapman hasn’t thrown 60 innings in any season since 2015, his last with the Reds.Manny Machado hit .285 with an .860 OPS in his final 3 1/2 seasons with the Orioles, beginning with his breakthrough 2015, but during that same time, he hit only .268 with a .787 OPS away from Camden Yards. In 1 1/2 seasons since leaving the Orioles and Camden Yards, he has hit .261 with an .805 OPS.Rhys Hoskins hit .198 over the final four months of 2019.Zac Gallen had a 1.77 ERA at Triple-A New Orleans of the Pacific Coast League, where he made 14 starts before debuting for the Marlins and being traded to the Diamondbacks. The league’s average ERA was 5.48.Gerrit Cole had a 1.64 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 14.4 K/9 over his final 16 starts last year.Jack Flaherty had a 0.93 ERA, 0.70 WHIP and 11.0 K/9 over his final 16 starts last year.Sonny Gray had a 1.94 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 11.0 K/9 over his final 15 starts last year.Yu Darvish had a 2.95 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 12.6 K/9 over his final 14 starts last year.Over those same 14 starts, Darvish issued just seven walks. He issued 49 walks in his first 17 starts.Though it was a disappointing and injury-plagued season overall, Blake Snell‘s 17.7 percent swinging-strike rate would have led the league if he had the innings to qualify. The top three among qualifiers were, unsurprisingly, Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander at 16.8, 16.4 and 16.1.Josh James‘ swinging-strike rate last year, for what it’s worth, was 16.2 percent. He’s currently in line to claim the Astros’ fifth starter job.New Diamondbacks ace Madison Bumgarner‘s ERA at Oracle Park the past two seasons is 2.48. His ERA everywhere else is 5.16. He will no longer be making his home starts at Oracle Park.Conversely, German Marquez had a 3.67 ERA and 0.94 WHIP on the road last season compared to 6.26 and 1.55 at home in Coors Field.Rockies rookie Sam Hilliard, who’s projected for a platoon role in left field, had 42 homers and 24 steals between the majors and minors last season. The only major-leaguer to reach both thresholds last season was Christian Yelich, and in fact, only 12 major-leaguers in history have (though some did multiple times).Fernando Tatis‘ .317 batting average came with .410 BABIP and an expected batting average of only .259. His 29.6 percent strikeout rate would have ranked 132nd among 135 qualifying hitters, and his 30.9 percent fly-ball rate would have ranked 109th.Marcell Ozuna‘s ,241 batting average came with a .257 BABIP and an expected batting average of .288. No other player had a bigger gap between his xwOBA (.382) and actual wOBA (.336), according to Statcast. His 49.2 percent hard-hit rate was the 11th-highest, ranking between Jorge Soler and Christian Yelich..Jorge Soler’s .299 batting average in the second half (to go along with 25 homers and a 1.076 OPS) was fueled by a modest .316 BABIP. He had a 23.0 percent strikeout rate during that time compared to 28.9 in the first half.Kyle Schwarber‘s .280 batting average in the second half (to go along with 20 homers and a .997 OPS) was fueled by a modest .287 BABIP. He had a 21.8 percent strikeout rate during that time compared to 28.3 in the first half.Andrew Benintendi has hit .270 with 15 homers, 14 steals and a .760 OPS in 871 plate appearances since the 2018 All-Star break. Nick Markakis has .275 with 13 homers, two steals and a .748 OPS in 755 plate appearances during that same time.Kyle Tucker, who’s competing for time in right field with the Astros. had 38 home runs and 35 stolen bases between the major and minor leagues last year. The only full-time major-leaguer to reach those thresholds last year was, of course, Ronald Acuna. (White Sox prospect Luis Robert was the only full-time minor-leaguer who came close, delivering 32 homers and 36 steals.)Josh Hader led all relievers in strikeouts for the second straight year with 138. Second was 31-year-old Liam Hendriks, whose 124 were 46 more than he had previously recorded in a season, and in fact, over the past 10 years, only five relievers have had a single-season strikeout total higher than 124: Hader, Carlos Marmol, Dellin BetancesCraig Kimbrel and Corey Knebel.Nick Anderson had 17.3 K/9 and 0.8 BB/9 in 23 appearances after joining the Rays. If he had maintained those ratios over all 65 of his innings, he would have finished with 125 strikeouts and six walks.Four of Garrett Hampson‘s eight home runs and six of his 15 stolen bases came in the final 10 games of the season.Mark Canha hit .295 with 16 homers, a .412 on-base percentage and a .936 OPS in 77 games after taking over as an everyday player. Only three players had a higher full-season on-base percentage than that: Mike Trout, Christian Yelich and Alex Bregman.Yankees first baseman Mike Ford, who’s expected to be on the outside looking in at the start of 2020, had in limited time last year an average exit velocity of 91.9 mph, which would have ranked between Jose Abreu and Matt Olson, a hard-hit rate of 45.5 percent, which would have ranked between Bryce Harper and Cody Bellinger, and a strikeout rate of 17.2 percent, which would have ranked between Whit Merrifield and Xander Bogaerts.Of Lourdes Gurriel‘s 20 home runs, 14 came during a 32-game span from May 24 through June 28.Of Yuli Gurriel‘s 31 home runs, 20 came during a 40-game span from June 23 through Aug. 14.Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly hit .203 with a .708 OPS against right-handed pitchers during what was otherwise a breakout season. His backup for 2020 is the left handed-hitting Stephen Vogt.Edwin Encarnacion‘s 3.68 Head-to-Head points per game tied him for fourth among first basemen last season, behind only Cody Bellinger, Freddie Freeman and Josh Bell.Omar Narvaez, who hit 22 home runs as a catcher last year, was only in the ninth percentile for hard-hit rate and average exit velocity, according to Statcast, ranking alongside such players as Albert Almora and Yolmer Sanchez.Kolten Wong hit .342 after the All-Star break, and while his BABIP during that time (.395) was on the high side, he did stop giving away so many outs, dropping his fly-ball rate from 41.0 percent to 28.1 percent.Dansby Swanson hit .274 with 17 home runs, seven stolen bases and an .834 OPS through 88 games last year before attempting to play through quadriceps and heel issues. He was averaging 3.29 Head-to-Head points per game at that point. Gleyber Torres averaged 3.28 Head-to-Head points per game for the season.Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, who bats left-handed, hit .329 with a .943 OPS against lefties last year, .300 with a .929 OPS away from Oracle Park, and .287 with a .915 OPS in the second half. He’s in line for more at-bats this season.

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