It doesn’t matter if I am making a significant purchase in life or constructing my fantasy team, I like to compare all the options and typically end up buying the option that provides the most value for my money. In 2019 we have a surplus of elite options at the hot corner. Whether you are playing in a 10 team redraft, 12 team keeper or 15 team dynasty leagues, you should have a solid option lined up for 3rd base. If you don’t have one, you’ll want to start formulating a plan to acquire one through your draft or via trade. And if the position wasn’t already deep enough, leagues that only require 10 starts to qualify for eligibility, the position becomes even deeper with the addition of players such as Manny Machado, Jed Lowrie, and Carlos Santana.
If you are unfamiliar with ratios like HR/FB, BABIP, and other batted ball metrics, you are really doing your team a disservice as these ratios drive the bottom line in categories like batting average, home runs, and extra base hits. If you hit the ball on the ground, you can’t hit a home run. If your BABIP is abnormally high, you can expect some regression coming in the batting average. If you start making more hard contact and carrying a low BABIP, one would think that the hits will start to fall and you’ll reap the rewards regardless of the league format. There are certainly other metrics that you will need to consider, and by no means am I suggesting these metrics are better than others. Let these be additional tools to help guide you through your analysis of a player.
My exercise is to identify the players that could materialize into fantasy relevant players at low-cost to you. Just for instance, let’s walk through these 4 metrics and see how it all relates together for Jose Ramirez, who had a monster 2018 season. From 2017 to 2018, Jose Ramirez saw an increase of around 6% in his Fly ball rate from 39.7 to 45.9%. This led to an increase around 3% in his HR/FB ratio and a decrease in his BABIP from .319 to .252. Also, his hard hit percentage increased from 34% to 36.1% in 2018. I cannot begin to imagine what Jose’s 2018 campaign would have been with a BABIP around the .290 or .300 mark. So, now you can start to see what happens when a player hits more fly balls and makes harder contact. With that said, let’s try to identify someone who has intriguing skills and ratios that will carry over to fantasy and potentially help you this season.
This player saw his Fly ball percentage increase from 5.7% from 22.8% to 28.5%, and his hard hit percentage from 8.4% to 29.8% to 38.2% from 2017 to 2018. In his first 181 games he accumulated a slash line of .272/.357/.400 with 41 doubles, 5 3 triples, and 11 homers. If you guessed Brian Anderson from MIA, you would be correct (I guess the title did ruin the surprise a little).
Currently, Steamer has him projected with a slash line of .260/.335/.407 with, 24 2 doubles, 3 triples and 13 HR in 520 plate appearances over 120 games. To me this feels a little light for 2019, considering, there really isn’t a reason to believe he should miss time. While you can’t expect him to get 700+ plate appearances, the Marlins should give him plenty of leash to be the everyday 3B of the future. What I would not count on is Anderson scoring 87 runs next season, Miami just doesn’t have the offense to rely on great counting stats from Anderson, and he won’t swipe you any bases either.
Let’s dig a little bit into Mr. Anderson’s minor league HR/FB and FB% metrics. In his 33 games at AAA during his 2017 season, he had a HR/FB ratio of 29.6% to go along with a FB % of 30.7%. During his 87 games at AA the same year, he had 15.2% HR/FB ratio along with a 39.5% FB ratio. Those may suggest you might see more positive regression in his FB ratio that may turn more of his doubles into home runs. It’s not so crazy to suggest that as a player ages he begins to hit more fly balls and develops power. Just ask Christian Yelich or Jose Ramirez. You’ll want to closely monitor him this season and watch to see if his ratios are in line with his previous history.
|Total||– – –||1.85||20.60||51.50||27.90||6.90||7.60||38.10||36.30||25.60||16.30||46.30||37.30|
Now, I’m not suggesting you should be building your team around Brian Anderson or compare him to Jose Ramirez, but just looking around, he’s carrying an ADP outside the top 250 and is outside the Top 20-25 third baseman. He finished 4th last year in NL Rookie of the Year voting that featured Ronald Acuna Juan Soto, and Walker Buehler.
If you play in a league with a corner infield spot, multiple utility spots, or have an early injury, Anderson is someone who carries 3B/OF position eligibility that can be used all over your lineup. I could possibly see him finishing as a Top-15 third baseman by the end of the year.