For this week’s Flash Forward, we take a look at San Diego Padres outfielder, Manuel Margot. The 23-year-old has plenty of value in dynasty leagues due to his impressive, projectable tools that he showed off in the minors and his rookie season. He’s already established that he can be valuable at the Major League level, and I think there’s still plenty more to come.
According to Fantrax ADP, Margot is being drafted around the 146th pick, on average. That’s in large part due to his appeal in keeper and dynasty leagues and the hope that, five years down the road, he’ll be one of the top outfielders in the game.
The Padres wasted no time testing their top prospect last season. In his rookie season, Margot was already batting leadoff and playing center field for the Friars. At 23 years old, Margot was one of the game’s youngest leadoff hitters, but he didn’t let that affect his performance. In 126 games, he slashed .263/.313/.409 with 13 homers, 39 RBI, and 17 stolen bases.
Margot’s OBP of .313 was rather low, but it was driven by his ability to make contact. When on base, Margot gave us just a taste of what he’s capable of. Known in the minors for his speed, he was 17-for-24 in stolen base attempts. He started off 10-for-16 in stolen base attempts but finished strong with seven steals in his last eight attempts. Experience on the basepaths goes a long way, and Margot will get plenty of it out of the leadoff spot.
The most surprising piece of Margot’s rookie season was his power. He tallied just 29 homers in his seven minor league seasons, yet debuted with a solid 13 homers in his rookie season. Had he not missed time to a calf-injury earlier in the season, Margot could have had a chance at joining the 20/20 club. In 126 games, he came close. Just nine players in Padres history have put together 20/20 seasons, and it’s not out of the question to think Margot will join them within the next few years.
Margot’s launch angle played a big role in his second-half power surge. Eight of his 13 homers came after the All-Star break. According to Fangraphs, Margot posted a league-high difference of 9.8 degrees in his launch angle from the first half of the season to the second. It helped him get the ball over the fence, as well as split the gaps more.
While he likely won’t maintain that second-half mark of 14.3 degrees, he’ll no doubt improve over his 4.5 degree mark in the first half. With that improvement, he should have no problem posting at least 20 homers and joining the 20/20 club in 2018.
Players with a solid combination of speed and power are a hot commodity in fantasy leagues. Margot showed in his rookie season that he’s capable of being one of those players. If he can stay healthy throughout an entire season, maintain his power, and let his legs do what they do best, Margot should have a great sophomore season in San Diego. At just 23 years old, it’s not out of the question that he could push those numbers even higher as he enters his prime.