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Dudes & Don’ts Recap: The Hitters, Part One

If you’re reading this, I’m already dead the 2019 season is over. That means it’s time to take a look back at some of the preseason calls I made here at Fantrax HQ. I do this recap series for a couple of reasons. First, I post these in the interest of full transparency. After all, why should you read me if all my calls are garbage? Second, I post these to help better myself as an analyst and as a player. If I got a player right, why was I right? If I whiffed, what went wrong? What can we learn to make ourselves better for next year? Always be sharpening that knife.

This series will be split into three parts. As a reminder, each of these positions had a Dude, a Don’t, and a Deep League Dude. The Dudes are generally cheap, who I expect a strong return on investment from. The Don’ts are overpriced and aren’t worth the hefty price tag, in my estimation. I don’t really sweat the Deep League Dudes as much since they are super late-round potential profit-turners. If they don’t hit, you can typically bail early. If you want to read the full write-ups, you can find them on my author page. Last year, I was able to hit on guys like Blake Snell and Patrick Corbin, while steering you away from the likes of Greg Bird and Miguel Sano. Was this year as successful? Read on to find out!


The Dude: Welington Castillo

Projection: 425 PA, 18 HR, 45 R, 55 RBI, .260 AVG

Final Line: 251 PA, 12 HR, 19 R, 41 RBI, .209 AVG

Analysis: Rough start here. You were drafting Beef at a second-catcher price and I thought he could return first-catcher numbers. I don’t think there’s a ton we can take away here, though. Castillo dealt with multiple injuries throughout the year and was never quite right. Perhaps he’ll be so cheap in 2020 that I’ll be interested, but right now I feel far too snakebitten to look his way.

The Don’t: Willians Astudillo

Projection: 300 PA, 7 HR, 30 R, 35 RBI, .300 AVG

Final Line: 204 PA, 4 HR, 28 R, 21 RBI, .268 AVG

Analysis: This one was too easy. Astudillo had the most ridiculous ADP in the game this spring, going as the 13th catcher off the board. He ran into some injury issues that cost him even more playing time than I predicted. That said, he was the THIRD CATCHER ON THE TWINS behind apparent star Mitch Garver and Jason Castro. Simply because he can hit for average and is catcher-eligible, he is still an interesting player, but his value will depend largely on his playing time in 2020.

The Deep League Dude: Austin Barnes

Projection: 400 PA’s, 10 HR, 40 R, 45 RBI, 6 SB, .260 AVG

Final Line: 242 PA, 5 HR, 28 R, 25 RBI, 3 SB, .203 AVG

Analysis: I was waffling between Barnes and Omar Narvaez in this spot, and boy did I choose poorly. Barnes was so bad that he actually got demoted in late July. He’ll be 30 next year, so, unfortunately, the Barnes ship may have sailed away for good.

First Base

The Dude – Jake Bauers

Projection: 625 PA, 22 HR, 70 R, 80 RBI, 15 SB, .250 AVG

Final Line: 423 PA, 12 HR, 46 R, 43 RBI, 3 SB, .226 AVG

Analysis: Swing and a miss. I thought Bauers would be a nice late-round power/speed source, but he was simply dreadful with the stick. For a prospect who hit consistently, Bauers posted a below-average 31.2 Hard% while striking out 27.2% of the time. He’ll be 24 in 2020 and has a lot of work to do to turn into anything more than a platoon bat. I feel like my process was fairly sound here, but he regressed from 2019 pretty badly rather than taking a step forward. If anything, I’ll be warier of the high K% with players who don’t have plus power potential.

The Don’t – Luke Voit

Projection: 450 PA, 18 HR, 50 R, 60 RBI, .250 AVG

Final Line: 510 PA, 21 HR, 72 R, 62 RBI, .263 AVG

Analysis: In my initial write-up, I predicted the Yankees trading for an upgrade, which would cost Voit a lot of playing time. I was half right. Injuries cost Voit more playing time than the acquisition of Edwin Encarnacion, but the overall production was largely what I expected. Voit was drafted as the 12th first baseman and finished as the 31st most valuable first baseman according to Rotowire’s earned auction values, behind the likes of Mark Canha and CJ Cron. He is a viable mixed league option but has neither the contact skills nor prodigious power to be an impact first baseman.

The Deep League Dude: Ryan O’Hearn

Projection: 550 PA, 25 HR, 65 R, 75 RBI, .245 AVG

Final Line: 370 PA, 14 HR, 32 R, 38 RBI, .195 AVG

Analysis: In the year of the juiced ball, I could have chosen nearly anyone but O’Hearn here and been successful. I could have gone back to the well on Dan Vogelbach and finally been right! There’s no two ways about it – O’Hearn O’Sucked. He was so bad, he got demoted from the Royals. I figured he could be a modern Lucas Duda type, platooning but hitting a ton of homers and drawing plenty of walks on a bad team for a dirt-cheap price point. He still had a 10.5% BB% and under-performed his xwOBA by 0.025, but even a .309 wOBA is not rosterable in this realm of ubiquitous power.

Second Base

The Dude – Jonathan Villar

Projection: 650 PA, 18 HR, 60 R, 40 SB, .255 AVG

Final Line: 714 PA, 24 HR, 111 R, 40 SB, .274 AVG

Analysis: RINGALINGADINGDONG! I love it when I nail an exact number. I was nearly 50% off in my runs prediction, but I won’t lose any sleep since the difference was positive. Even on the horrendous Orioles, Villar scored the 10th most runs in baseball thanks to racking up the fourth-most plate appearances. He was one of only five players to appear in all 162 games. The others (because I know you’re curious) were Marcus Semian, Whit Merrifield, Jorge Soler, and the assumedly miserable Starlin Castro. I would expect regression in a lot of Villar’s numbers in 2020, but anyone who has that 40-steal potential and isn’t a net negative in the other categories is immensely valuable.

The Don’t – Adalberto Mondesi

Projection: 650 PA, 18 HR, 80 R, 65 RBI, 40 SB, .235 AVG

Final Line: 443 PA, 9 HR, 58 R, 62 RBI, 43 SB, .263 AVG

Analysis: My whole preseason shtick was that Villar can give you what Mondesi will give you but at a much lower ADP. That worked out. Mondesi missed serious time with injury though, suppressing his numbers a bit. He still has category-winning speed but doesn’t have the power or contact skills that give me the warm and fuzzies. I’ll still invest in him in the first 3-to-4 rounds in 2020 though simply because of that speed.

The Deep League Dude – Garrett Hampson

Projection: 575 PA, 12 HR, 75 R, 65 RBI, 35 SB, .285 AVG

Final Line: 327 PA, 8 HR, 40 R, 27 RBI, 15 SB, .247 AVG

Analysis: My analysis is to NEVER TRUST THE ROCKIES WITH A YOUNG HITTER EVER AGAIN. This organization blocks young position players like no one else and it is so, so frustrating. To be fair though, Hampson was terrible for a stretch early on. He finally made some adjustments and caught fire in September though, with a .903 OPS, five homers, and nine steals. He’s probably going to suck me in again next year because of that production, but only if he has a clear-cut every-day gig.

Part Two is coming your way soon! Hopefully, it includes more hits than Part One. We will finish up the infield and recap the outfielders in that installment.

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