For every up there must be a down. After highlighting several outfielders who raised their stock in 2018, we now take a look at four who took the opposite track this season. Read on for further analysis into what went wrong and how their performances affect your decisions in keeper, dynasty and redraft leagues in 2019.
As always, if you have a player you would like profiled or have a question about, feel free to post in the comment section or reach out to me on Twitter @hedenson18 with that or any other questions. We will be working our way around the diamond so you can submit your player requests in advance – next week is starting pitchers.
- Kyle Schwarber
On the surface, Kyle Schwarber’s 2018 performance (.238/.356/.467, 26 HR, 64 R, 61 RBI’s) was disappointing as he failed to build on his 2017 campaign (.211/.315/.467, 30 HR, 67 R, 59 RBI’s). He struggled in the second half, falling to a .221/.327/.417 line (8 HR, 20.5% HR/FB%) after a fiery start to the year (1st Half: .249/.375/.498, 18 HR, 26.9% HR/FB%) that had many celebrating his coming out party as a fantasy star.
Schwarber’s batted ball production improved in a few ways (+4% LD%, +3.8% Hard%, -6.6% IFFB%) and regressed in a couple as well (+5.4% GB%, -9.4% FB%). His Average Exit Velocity and Barrel% in 2018 closely resembled his 2015 numbers, leading to a strong expected performance based on quality of contact (.244 XBA/.343 WOBA/.471 XSLG).
Strikeouts continued to plague Schwarber, who finished with the 8th highest K% (27.5%) in MLB despite actually improving his strikeout rate by 3.4% in 2018. That kind of rate, while better than before, will cause Schwarber to remain a liability in batting average unless he can further improve in that respect. A top 10 BB% (15.3%) mitigates that damage a bit, and his continued light tower power gives owners solid value as well.
Schwarber’s 2018 improvements should lead to better production moving ahead, especially if he can continue to generate harder contact and more line drives. While his batting average will never be above average, I could see him getting close to the .246 mark he posted in 2015 (and perhaps eclipsing it a bit). If he can do that and stay healthy, his power and ability to take a walk will make him a valuable bat despite his proclivity to whiff.
- Adam Jones
After being one of the more consistent outfielders in the majors for the past several years, Adam Jones dipped considerably in 2018. He posted his lowest marks for HR (15), HR/FB% (8.4%) and ISO (.138) in a decade, and failed to hit more than 25 home runs for the first time since 2011. Despite this dip in power, Jones generated stronger contact than he did last year (+0.5% Hard%; +1.4% MPH Average Exit Velocity), though he did see a dip in his Barrel% (-1.5%).
Most other aspects of Jones’s game remained steady when compared to 2017. His batted ball profile (-0.4% LD%, -1.9% GB%, +2.3% FB%) improved slightly, he posted a similar BABIP (.311) and he continued to eschew walks (3.9% BB%). Based on what I see, Jones could return to previous levels of production should he sign with a club that gives him steady playing time, though with slightly lower power potential (18-20 HR).
Jones could still be a valuable bat next season, though he is a player who piles up numbers only when he plays every day. Watch for who he signs with this offseason before investing, but keep him in mind if you need a veteran bat in your dynasty, keeper or redraft leagues.
- Wil Myers
Myers’s streak of two straight 20/20 seasons ended in 2018, as injuries limited him (83 games) to a .253/.318/.446 line with eleven slams and thirteen stolen bases. A difficult final 50 games (.234/.303/.372; 3HR; .138 ISO) depressed his final numbers, though he did manage to steal nine bases during that time. Check out his batted ball profile compared to 2017:
As you can see, Myers saw some large swings in his batted ball production compared to last season. While those jumps in LD% (+7.9%) and Hard% (+5.2%) were great to see, they came with a decent hike in ground balls (+6.1%) and a huge cut in his fly balls (-14%). Statcast still liked those changes in general, however, expecting better production than Myers ended up generating (.270 XBA/. 328 WOBA/.443 XSLG).
Myers struck out at an elevated level (27.4%) and chased at an even higher rate than usual (+4.8%), though he did generate higher levels of contact outside of the zone (+7%). A healthy Myers should provide solid value moving forward and is someone to target for power and speed in the OF (or 3B/CI).
- Avisail Garcia
Many people were calling for Garcia to regress after his .392 BABIP fueled .330/.380/.506 performance last season, and they were correct. Garcia went the opposite direction in 2018, generating a .271 BABIP to go along with .236/.281/.438 slash line. His strikeouts (+6.7%) returned to their previous levels after a career low in 2017 (19.8%), he walked slightly less (-0.7%) and posted the highest SwStr% (18.9%) of his career as well.
One thing that did not decline was Garcia’s power, as he posted increases in his ISO (+.026) and HR/FB% (+5.2%). Increases to his FB% (+6.9%), Pull% (+5.3%), Hard% (+2.9%) and Barrel% (+2.8%) all contributed to that power bump as well. His .271 BABIP was much lower than his career mark (.330) so I would not be shocked to see Garcia return to something closer to that .330 mark in 2019, which could raise his batting average a bit.
Without improvements to his plate discipline, however, Garcia is a tough play due to his low batting average and OBP. Maintaining his increased power production into 2019 would help, but even with that, he is a much riskier bet than several other outfield bats you could take instead.