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Franmil Reyes - 2019 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper

To begin last season, San Diego Padres outfielder Franmil Reyes was coming off of a 2017 season where he had a .258/.322/.464 slash line in Double-A, hitting 25 home runs and knocking in 102 batters. In 2018, now in Triple-A, he bettered those numbers with a .324/.428/.614 slash line, hitting 16 home runs in just 250 plate appearances. When he made the jump to the big leagues, his slash line of .280/.340/.498 was impressive, as were his 16 bombs in 285 plate appearances.

Not known as much of an average hitter in the minors (he had a .255 batting average in 2015 and .258 average in 2017), Reyes hitting for average was a nice complement to his power. He had at least 50 extra-base hits in both 2016 and 2017 in the minors and it appears that he will be bringing that power to San Diego. He also had 66 R+RBI in 87 games with the Padres, a solid total considering San Diego's offensive woes.

With as much power as any young slugger, can Reyes keep his batting average up and be a suitable fantasy option in 2019?

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Can We Bet On Reyes Being A Stable Option?

After sputtering to a .689 OPS in May and .744 OPS in May, Reyes had a .500 OPS in June and was back in the minors. Then he had a 1.052 OPS in August, including seven home runs, and closed the season with an .849 OPS in Sept/Oct. He has solidified a role in the Padres outfield for 2019, even though his .326 batting average in Sept/Oct was lucky considering his .397 BABIP.

With his season looking so much better over the last two months of the season, we need to look at what changed for the young slugger. After posting hard hit ball rates in the 40's in May, June, and July (with a better rate each month), Reyes dropped to 37.5% in August. Reyes hit seven home runs in August, but that came without a boost in fly ball rate and a drop in line drive rate as well; his HR/FB rate was an unsustainable 43.8%. While August did not look great, Reyes was much better in Sept/Oct: he posted a season-best 22.5% line drive rate and 50.7% hard-hit ball rate.


Can a Powerful Reyes Be Useful in San Diego?

When you combine Reyes' minor and major league numbers from last season, he had 32 home runs, 83 RBI, and a .299 batting average. While fantasy owners would like to see a bit more in terms of OBP, there were only four OF with a .300 batting average and 30 home runs last season. It may be a bit unfair to combine his minor league and major league numbers in terms of batting average, but hitting 30 home runs and batting .275 is still in the realm of possibility. If he is able to produce such numbers, he would match only five OF who hit those marks in 2018.

His ADP of 194 shows that many are not buying into Reyes maintaining his strong batting average from 2018, looking at him as more of a power-only option. It is also not great that Petco Park is a pitcher's ballpark, but the young nucleus of the Padres will put Reyes in a spot where he will have runners on base in front of him. Even if he is just a streamer in 2019, it is likely that Reyes is still going to be a useful player.

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