Is George Springer Ready to Bounce Back?

Psst.  Over here.  Just between us, George Springer will turn 30 years old in September.  Shhhhhhh!  I know! Let’s keep this quiet.  Don’t go blabbing it to the rest of the yahoos in your keeper and dynasty leagues.  And I’ll let you in on something else.  If you’re in a redraft league (spoiler alert), he’s not going to bounce back and return value for you this year at his current ADP (52.93 Fantrax).

Let’s start with the positives from 2017 to 2018 that might give us hope that this year he can get back to something close to his 2017 production.  First, Springer is going to bat first or second in an Astros lineup that scored the most runs in the league in 2017 and the sixth most runs last year. Second, hmm…let me see… second, oh yeah! His BB% went up from 10.2% in 2017 to 10.3% in 2018.  And there you have it.  That’s it. Practically every one of Springer’s stats went the wrong way in 2018 compared to both 2016 and 2017.

I have to confess, my oldest and favorite league is a 6×6 keeper that I’ve been in for about 15 years. I also play in several redraft leagues a year, but that one keeper league has ingrained a level of ageism in my draft/auction psyche that, even though I know it’s there, I can’t skirt. That being said, yes he’s going to be 30.  But my issue isn’t with his age.  It’s with his future production relative to his floor and ceiling.  I believe we saw his ceiling in 2017 (140 WRC+) and I think his floor is even lower than what we saw from him last year (119 WRC+).  Due in part to his production drop-off from last year and the higher possibility of nagging little injuries that will cause him to miss at bats and games this year, I believe Springer is going to take another step toward his floor this year.

I told you not to draft him at his current ADP, so now let me tell you who you can wait for and take later.  The table below includes ADP data, ages, and three-year averages (2016-18) of key statistics for Springer and two mystery players.

ADP Age G PA R HR TB RBI SB AVG OBP SLG OPS
Springer 52.93 29 147 664 110 28 272 79 7 .270 .357 .471 .828
Player A 80.32 26 141 596 72 23 273 83 2 .285 .335 .495 .831
Player B 94.3 31 150 625 87 32 271 94 10 .259 .338 .489 .828

The only statistical category in which Springer stands out is runs.  I’ll give you plate appearances too, if you insist, but the only thing those extra PAs prove is that Springer is more of an accumulator than he is special these days.

In case standard statistics don’t help me make my point well enough, I also created a fancy table using Statcast data, Same time frame and same two mystery players.

BRRL BRRL% Exit Velo Launch

Angle

ISO XBA XSLG WOBA XWOBA Hard Hit %
Springer 43 9.7 89.1 9.13 .201 .266 .477 .356 .361 39.2
Player A 49 11.7 89.3 15.4 .211 .289 .545 .351 .368 40.3
Player B 50 13.2 90.2 14.4 .231 .353 .460 .253 .353 44.6

As you can see, Springer doesn’t stand out in any of the above statcast categories when compared to our mystery players.  These are three-year averages that include a 140 WRC+ season for Springer. Given his ADP and those of the mystery players, Springer is a hard pass for me.

You probably figured out the identities of the mystery players by now. Especially if you read my article last week on Nicholas Castellanos and Nomar Mazara.  That’s right folks, our 26-year-old with the 80.32 ADP is Nicholas Castellanos.  And the 31-year-old with the 94.3 ADP is everybody’s favorite aging Angel, Justin Upton.

Now that I’ve ruined your plan to take Springer in the late 4thor mid to late 5thround (12 team draft) and given you some outfield options to wait on, it’s only fair that I give you a few names to consider around pick 53.  I’m high on Eugenio Suarez this year and believe he’s a steal at 58.58 as either your first 3B or your CI.  Same thing with Xander Bogaerts if he gets to you at 51.18.  He’ll go at least 20/10 with almost 200 combined runs and RBI hitting in the heart of that Red Sox lineup. On the mound, Paxton and Clevinger might both be available there.  If you’re into the helium like I sometimes am with starters, reach for Flaherty (62.87) or Taillon (65.64).  Finally, you can take the first closer off the board, if you’re into that sort of thing. Diaz is going 56.77.

It’s your team, and drafts sometimes unfold in surprising ways.  Just remember my warning when you find Springer in your queue in the 4thor 5thround. His production can be had at a discount several rounds later.

 

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Mike Clement

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Longtime fantasy baseball player. Husband and father (3 boys). Detroit Tigers fan. Lions (unfortunately), Red Wings, and Pistons too... @rotoschmo