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Underperforming Hitters – Power Loss For Gleyber Torres & Yoán Moncada

During the offseason, we’ll do some deep dives into players. We’ll discuss some players that broke out and others that underperformed. Two top-100 picks in NFBC ADP ended up as underperforming hitters in 2021. Those two players involve Gleyber Torres and Yoán Moncada. Torres missed time with a thumb injury and also dealt with a hamstring issue. However, the thumb injury led to an injured list stint. Per the Razzball Player Rater, Torres finished as the No. 274 overall player near Luis Robert and Harrison Bader. 

On the flip side, Moncada didn’t hit the injured list in 2021 and logged a healthy chunk of 616 plate appearances. However, the lack of power and stolen bases isn’t what fantasy managers expected. Moncada finished better than Gleyber Torres as the 214th ranked player near Joey Wendle, Tommy Pham, and Wil Myers. We’ll dive into the surface and advanced data to analyze what happened to these two underperforming hitters and what to expect in 2022. As we head into the offseason, check out my in-season buy or sell series with breakdowns of several hitters and pitchers. 

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Underperforming Hitters – Power Loss For Gleyber Torres & Yoán Moncada

Underperforming Hitters – Gleyber Torres

After hitting 24 home runs in 2018 then 38 in 2019, Gleyber Torres sunk to nine home runs in 2021. However, in 2018 and 2019, Torres stole 11 bases in 15 attempts. Then in 2021, Torres finished with a career-best 14 stolen bases in 20 attempts. Outside of stolen bases, Torres hit career-lows across the board when throwing out 2020. 

The 9.7% walk rate and 20.2% strikeout rate for Torres fell in line with the career averages of 9.2% and 21.7%. Meanwhile, the OPS dip at .697 compared to a career .794 OPS aligns with the dip in power. Torres’ batted ball profile looks similar from a line drive rate perspective. However, the flyball and pull rates dropped in 2021.

underperforming hitters
Gleyber Torres Pull% & FB% Rolling Graph

His 36.2% FB% compared to a career 40.1% FB% plus the 37.7% pull rate down from a career 41.3% could explain the dip in power. In the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Torres boasted higher flyball rates at 41-42%, with pull rates of 42-44%. 

When we factor in the plate discipline changes for Gleyber Torres, we notice more patience and passiveness with the 27.5% O-Swing% compared to 34-35% in 2018 and 2019. Although Torres’ contact rates remained the same, the swing rate also dropped to 46.7% compared to 48.4% in 2018 and 51.8% in 2019. Unsurprisingly, that aligns with the drop in chase rate.

Where’s the Power For Torres?

Although it didn’t translate to home runs for Gleyber Torres, he reached a career-high with a 111.6 mph maximum exit velocity. The barrel rate of 7.8% isn’t terrible, but down as expected compared to 9.2% and 10.1% in 2018 and 2019. Torres ranked No. 108 with a 92 mph exit velocity on FB/LD compared to 91.2 mph (No. 164) in 2018 and 92.7 mph (No. 87) in 2019. 

underperforming hitters
Gleyber Torres wOBA By Season

In the past, Torres crushed fastballs with a .603 SLG in 2019 and .549 SLG in 2018. However, that dipped to a measly .352 SLG in 2021. Torres’ wOBA against fastballs also fell to .299 compared to .393 in 2019 and .385 in 2018. 

Late-Season Surge For Torres

When looking at the monthly splits for Gleyber Torres, it’s a small sample, but he hit better in August and September. We have a small 31 plate appearance sample in August due to the thumb injury for Torres. In those two months combined, Torres compiled three home runs, 18 runs, 14 RBI, and four stolen bases in seven chances. Torres also boasted a .316 batting average and .821 OPS.

During that stretch, Torres finished with a 362 BABIP and .349 wOBA with a 26.8% line drive rate and a 7.2% barrel rate. With that data, it looked like a hot stretch for Torres with a season-long .314 BABIP and .307 wOBA, although the barrel rate aligned with the 7.8% barrel rate. 

Early 2022 Outlook for Gleyber Torres

Last week, I tweeted out how folks value Gleyber Torres versus Yoán Moncada, who we’ll break down next. Most people responded with an edge towards Torres, although it depends on ADP. On the surface, it appears that Torres could provide double-digit steals. However, it’s more likely to project 25-30 home runs with a handful of stolen bases, given the two seasons of data in 2018 and 2019.

Gleyber Torres Baseball Savant Data

Since most of the underlying metrics look similar to those two seasons, I expect a bounceback from one of the underperforming hitters in Torres in 2022. There’s a chance that an early finger injury in April 2021, testing positive for COVID-19 in May, and the thumb injury in August could have impacted Torres’ production. Assuming the ADP drops for Torres, look to swoop in on the value in 2022. 

Underperforming Hitters – Yoán Moncada

In the 2021 offseason, I expected Yoán Moncada to bounce back after mentioning how the effects of COVID-19 impacted him in 2020. However, in 2021, Moncada somewhat bounced back with 14 home runs, 74 runs, 61 RBI, and three stolen bases. While Moncada set a career-high with a .375 OBP and 13.6% walk rate, the lack of counting stats hurt fantasy managers. That said, it qualifies Moncada as an underperforming hitter in 2021. In 2018 and 2019, Moncada averaged 21 home runs and 11 stolen bases with a .273 batting average, 8.9% walk rate, 30.7% strikeout rate, and .374 BABIP. 

We note the past seasons in 2018 and 2019 because Moncada typically boasted high BABIPs with a career BABIP of .359. With the highest walk rate of his career, Moncada also lowered the strikeout rate to 25.5%, yet another career-best. From a real-life standpoint and fantasy to some extent, we typically would think that’s a positive trend. However, that’s now what we expect in one of the best offenses in the league, with the Chicago White Sox that finished 5th with a .329 wOBA and 3rd with 109 weighted runs created plus (wRC+). 

Digging Deeper Into Moncada

Unsurprisingly, Yoán Moncada boasted a quality 26.6% line drive rate that likely boosts the higher BABIP. Moncada often hit a bunch of ground balls with a 43.8% ground ball rate in 2021. However, Moncada’s lowered flyball and pull rate stood out. In 2018 and 2019, Moncada’s flyball rate sat at 40.1% and 34.5% compared to 29.6% in 2021. The same trend occurred with the pull rate. Although it’s not as drastic, Moncada’s 41.4% pull rate in 2018 and 39.6% in 2019 finished higher than 38.4% in 2021. There’s a chance the lower fly ball and pull rates contributed to the dip in power for Moncada.

underperforming hitters
Yoán Moncada Batted Ball Data

That said, it led us towards the exit velocity on FB/LD for Yoán Moncada to see how that aligns with the power dip. We see that the EV on FB/LD dropped significantly from 2018 and 2019 compared to 2021. Moncada still hit a healthy amount of doubles with 33 in 2021, similar to the 32 in 2018 and 34 in 2019. Even Moncada’s 113.8 mph maximum exit velocity (91st-percentile) finished higher than the 2018 season yet lower than 2019. That tells us the raw power for Moncada exists, but it didn’t translate into home runs or fantasy production as we hoped. 

Early 2022 Outlook For Moncada

Given the early thoughts on Yoán Moncada, it seems that the fantasy community may prefer Gleyber Torres versus Moncada. However, that’s how it shook out in the 2021 NFBC ADP, so maybe that’s what to expect in 2022. We expect the ADP for Torres and Moncada to drop, but the question remains – how much. With the sour taste for Moncada, it presents a buying opportunity with this underperforming hitter. 

That said, where Moncada’s ADP ends up factors into our evaluation as we inch towards the heart of the 2022 draft season. While I don’t expect Moncada to replicate 2019 with 25 home runs and a 12.2% barrel rate, the similar maximum exit velocity in 2018 and 2021 gives us a more realistic expectation. In 2022, 15-18 home runs with close to double-digit steals appear like a safe projection for Moncada. Assuming a healthy batting average given the higher BABIP profile, some comparable players for counting stats include Andrew Benintendi, Jean Segura, or Alex Verdugo. Let’s see how the 2022 ADP shakes out because we may want to find a cheaper alternative to Moncada next season. 

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