Deep Dive: Manny Machado’s Disappointing Season And 2020 Outlook
As the 2019 season is coming to a close, I will be transitioning these deep dive articles into a review of the 2019 season as well as provide a 2020 outlook. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the man of the hour! I am going to be looking into none other than Manny Machado.
Manny hasn’t really been Manny this season. In a year with power up across the board, he has only put up 29 home runs. This comes with only 77 runs, 79 RBI and 5 steals. This is accompanied by a triple slash of .259/.332/.464. To say this production is underwhelming may be an understatement.
Let’s be honest, we all expected a little bit of a drop off once he was signed by the San Diego Padres but did any of us really see this? I’d be hard-pressed to believe anyone had him ranked beyond the top 30-35 overall in their ranks entering 2018.
I could spend the whole article discussing how disappointing he has been but instead of just complaining, it’s time to look for a reason behind the drop-off in production. Don’t forget to stick around at the end for a 2020 fantasy baseball outlook. Enough talking. Let’s get this started!
I already discussed the lackluster triple-slash previously, but there are other stats worth noting here.
The most notable of stats is the increase in strikeout rate. Yes, it is still better than league average, but it is a career-high 19.7%. Not exactly the type of career-high production we were hoping for. Not to mention his wRC+ is only 107.
For those who are unaware, 100 is the mark you’re measuring up against and he’s barely above that as you can see. This is the 2nd lowest wRC+ Manny Machado has posted as a full-time pro.
The swinging strike rate (SwStr%) is sitting at 10.7%. That’s not bad and better than league average but it is up from 2018. The first pitch strike percentage (F-Strike%) is one of the bigger changes. Pitchers appear to have attacked the zone early on with a F-strike% of 62%. This is up 5.3 percentage points from just last season. Machado has adapted to that with increasing his F-strike swing% 4 percentage points. It is currently at 36.9%.
Manny Machado is swinging less as a whole across the board. His contact percentages are also down across the board. So although he seems to be more selective, he’s still swinging and missing too much and it’s leading to the increase of strikeout percentage.
Batted Ball Data
Manny Machado’s GB/FB rate moved a tick in the wrong direction this season. His IFFB% (infield fly ball rate) has followed that trend as it is up 2.8 percentage points from last season. These are small changes but definitely have a negative effect on his production without question.
The pull rate is also down to 38.1%. This is the lowest it has been since 2015. A lowering of the pull rate could lend itself to the home run rate not taking the leap most other hitters have taken this season.
What has hindered that leap in power production is the decrease in hard-hit rate as well as a few other factors. We will revisit this in-depth a bit later on.
We all knew moving away from Camden Yards last season was not going to benefit Manny Machado by any means. He was always a different hitter at Camden Yards and part of that was just how hitter-friendly of a park it was to play at.
Well, in 2018 he was traded to the Dodgers mid-season and did just fine so there weren’t many if any concerns of the production completely bottoming out coming into 2019. That was until he signed with the Padres. Petco was one of the worse destinations fantasy owners could’ve asked for.
This year he has hit terrible at home. In 2019, he has a triple slash of .224/.300/.422 with a wRC+ of 89 at his new home park.
Yikes! Not exactly what we were hoping for.
Conversely, he has hit for a triple-slash of .293/.364/.505 with a wRC+ of 124 on the road. Now, this is the Manny Machado we’ve come to expect. These splits are pretty extreme and with another year of getting acclimated to a new team and home field, I expect some correction to the home splits in 2020.
His lefty and righty splits are also worth a mention. He has managed to only hit .242 vs. righties this season. Machado is a career .276 hitter vs. righties so there’s obviously regression to look forward too. He hits solid vs. lefties and this year is no different. He’s hitting a spectacular .322 against lefties this season.
These Are The Breaks
Yes, this is a bad pun and no I will not apologize. This season he has truly struggled with off-speed offerings and breaking balls.
Most notably, Manny Machado is hitting only .154 vs changeups, .217 vs sliders and .182 vs curves.
Although he hasn’t been a great breaking ball hitter throughout his career, Machado has clearly been underachieving across the board when looking at the career numbers. Oh, and these career numbers include this terrible output from this season as well.
As far as statcast data is concerned, Manny Machado has a few glaring issues.
The hard-hit rate is one of the eyeing popping stats. It is down 5.4 percentage points from last season and it currently sits at 42.6%. There is also a slight downward tick in average exit velocity and his barrel rate has also taken a turn for the worse. The barrel rate decreased from 11.3% in 2018 to only 8% in 2019.
The quality of contact and the dip in HH% would explain some of the overall woes in the numbers. I told you’d we’d revisit this topic.
With all that said, the x-stats are basically right in line with actual production this year. The downward trends within the profile this season explain why this has occurred.
What we received as far as production in 2019 was what I feel is the absolute floor for Manny Machado. I would find it difficult to believe that at 27 years old he’s suddenly on a decline and this is now who he is.
There were a number of areas he came up short in production when compared to the career norms. I’d expect some of the corrections to occur next season. This was the first year of that mega-deal with that deal comes added stress and expectations to perform. With a year under his belt, I expect the nerves to calm and for Manny to be closer to the Manny we know him to be next season.
I expect Fernando Tatis Jr. to be back and healthy. I anticipate some offseason additions to help surround him and give him more lineup protection. Good things happen when you get some players on base ahead of Machado.
See, I wasn’t lying. If you give him a chance to hit with runners on, the numbers improve.
All in all, I expect a bounce-back season for the most part but with the emergence of some many players this year and others just solidifying expectations coming into this season, Machado will slide a bit in my ranks.
Even though I expect positive regression, you can’t completely ignore the outcome this year. He will be a top 50 pick for me but I can’t see myself as of now having him inside the top 3 rounds. If someone is willing to reach a little on him, let them. Just take the better values that fall because of that. If you are a Machado believer, now is your chance to strike while the iron is hot to buy low in dynasty leagues. I’d look to take advantage of the discount.
What’s your take on the 2019 version of Manny Machado? Should we expect more in 2020? Let us know in the comments below!
Mike Kurland began with Fantrax in June of 2019. He is also the creator and host of The Bases Loaded Podcast. Mike is new as a fantasy baseball analyst but he has really embraced it with open arms. Feel free to reach out to Mike on Twitter @Mike_Kurland with any of your fantasy baseball questions, he is always happy to answer them.
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