Champ or Chump: Mark Reynolds & Logan Morrison

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

It's All-Star season, and the entire baseball community is debating who should have been left off of the roster for their favorite "snubbed" player. There are plenty of quality options, from the superstar allure of Kris Bryant to  underappreciated gem Justin Turner. Fans can vote for one more player to join each league's roster from a list of five, so hope may not yet be lost for your favorite.

Two of the names in the last chance vote may surprise you: Mark Reynolds of the Colorado Rockies and Logan Morrison of the Tampa Bay Rays. Both players have season totals that warrant serious consideration, but fantasy owners are likely more interested in whether their strong play will continue going forward. Let's find out!

Ownership rates provided are from Yahoo leagues.

Editor's note: Get MLB Premium for free through October when you buy an NFL Premium Pass (including Draft Kit + DFS). Whoa. Check out our MLB and NFL Premium tools, and crush your leagues. Sign Up Now!

 

The Fantasy Jury is Out

Mark Reynolds (1B, COL) 88% Owned

Many fantasy owners were excited by the prospect of power-hitting Reynolds at Coors Field last season, but he fell short of expectations with only 14 homers despite a solid .282/.356/.450 line. It turns out they were just a year early, as Reynolds is currently sporting a similar line (.285/.370/.519) with more homers (19). Is Reynolds a viable first base option in all formats now?

Spoiler alert: no. Reynolds has always struggled to make contact with a career K% of 30.9%, and while his current K% (27.7%) is slightly better it is still too high to expect the strong batting average to continue. The underlying 14.4% SwStr% is a little better than his career 15.6% mark, but does not suggest much in the way of positive regression.

An insane BABIP would be required for Reynolds to hit .280+, and his currently stands at .354. There are a number of reasons why it is so high. His LD% (22%) is significantly higher than his career rate of 18.2%, a discrepancy that is probably unsustainable. His fly balls are dramatically overperforming their career production (.217 BABIP this year against .137 career). This is the work of Denver's thin air and expansive outfield, where he is slashing .333/.423/.667 with 13 homers versus .247/.328/.401 on the road. His FB% is also a lot lower than his career rate (32.5% vs. 43.8% career), and his 9.2% IFFB% would be a career best.

The loss of FB% may be sustainable, but fewer flies translates to fewer homers. For reference, last year's 14 homers were fueled by the same FB% (32.5%) his current production is. The effect is currently muted by a 29.2% HR/FB, but Reynolds can't sustain it. His career rate is 19.2%, and his current average airborne exit velocity (93 mph) is more good than great. He's actually below average when launch angle is factored into the equation (8.5% Brls/BBE). He's pulling a few more of his fly balls (27.7%) than he did last year (22.8%), but the change is not large enough to sustain his HR/FB given his other indicators.

Reynolds is a power hitter trying to adopt a singles swing despite a massive K%, a profile unlikely to work well for fantasy purposes. He walks (11.7% BB%) and usually bats fourth, giving him some fantasy utility. You can stream him at home while he's hot as a result, but there is no long term value here.

Verdict: Chump

 
Logan Morrison (1B, TB) 71% Owned

Morrison has come out of nowhere to hit .256/.366/.579 with 24 dingers in Tampa Bay. His performance is largely the result of embracing the fly ball revolution, as his FB% has skyrocketed from 34.7% last year to 46.6% this. Increasing FB% is the most sustainable way to increase power output, so Morrison's prospects seem brighter than Reynolds's.

His HR/FB (25%) looks unsustainable, but all of his power indicators suggest that it could be real. His Brls/BBE has doubled relative to last year (7.5% to 15%), so he is frequently combining exit velocity and launch angle for good results. His average airborne exit velocity is inside the league's top 50 at 95.1 mph. He's also pulling a lot more of his fly balls (24.3% last year, 38.5% this), making it easier for him to hit one into the cheap seats. If you were going to design a batted ball profile that could sustain an elevated HR/FB, this would be it.

His power may soon be coupled with a stronger batting average, as his .253 BABIP has room to rise. Many players pop up more often as they start putting the ball into the air, but Morrison is not. His IFFB% is actually down relative to last season (10.9% to 6.3%), a change not yet reflected in his BABIP on fly balls (.137 vs. .136 career). His 18.4% LD% could also regress toward his career rate of 19.3%, while his grounders should improve from their current .167 BABIP to their career .189 mark. Morrison is hitting .278 against the shift this season, so it doesn't hurt him as much as other sluggers.

Morrison also brings strong plate discipline to the table. His 21.5% K% is fantastic considering how many homers he hits, while the underlying 9.3% SwStr% suggests that it's real. Morrison also walks 14.5% of the time thanks to a 25.4% chase rate, making him a tremendous asset in OBP formats.

Morrison is a legitimate power hitter with batting average upside. He's also locked in as Tampa's cleanup hitter, so his power and average are accompanied by strong counting stat totals. The resulting package should be rostered in all formats.

Verdict: Champ

 

More Player Outlooks

 

Premium Tools & DFS Research

Get a free trial of our powerful MLB Premium Tools. Our famous DFS Optimizer & Lineup Generator, daily Matchup Ratings, expert DFS Lineups/Cheat Sheets, and more.

Sign Up Now!