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Hunter Renfroe to the Angels - Fantasy Baseball Impact

Hunter Renfroe - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Injury News

Following a subpar season from the Los Angeles Angels, it was time that the front office addressed the organization's flaws. Although the Angels tenant two of the biggest studs in the game, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, the longing for a winning environment didn't seem to permeate throughout the roster.

Just two weeks ago, in an effort to solidify the Trout/Taylor Ward outfield dynamic, the Angels acquired Hunter Renfroe from the Milwaukee Brewers. Parting from his age-30 season, Renfroe will roam the right field vicinity in Angel Stadium of Anaheim for one year before navigating the market. This upcoming season will be Renfroe's eighth MLB season between five different organizations.

This haul was a no-brainer for the Angels, despite just one year of service remaining before testing free agency. Here's what to expect from Renfroe in 2023.

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Hunter Renfroe - An Offensive Powerhouse

Over the past two seasons or so, Renfroe has honed in on his offensive prowess. He is lauded as a power-over-contact bat, granted his average hasn't stooped under .250 since the shortened Covid year, which only hampered his ceiling. The 30-year-old has made quite a name for himself, considering the stature that the Padres expected when drafting him in the first round.

One of the many attributes attached to Renfroe is the elevated Barrel% that has somewhat settled at a steady pace. League-wise, he is in the 76th percentile for Barrel%, which is largely attributed to his performance against fastballs. As inferred from the chart, since 2019, his Barrel% against fastball has regressed below 12.5%. Therefore, when Renfroe encounters a fastball, there is a fair chance that he will barrel the ball. In simpler terms, for those who love counting stats, Renfroe has a .563 SLG against fastballs as opposed to the breaking and offspeed pitches, which is quite disproportionate compared to his production against fastballs.

His Barrel% against breaking balls endured a significant regression since 2021. Although he did manage to generate eight home runs off breaking pitches. Obviously, if you align his 2021 and 2022 Barrel%, it's incomparable, yet a 9.8 Barrel%  is quite an admirable stat from a breaking ball standpoint.

 

Hunter Renfroe Fantasy Baseball Outlook for 2023

SPLIT STATS
2022
Split AB H 2B 3B HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO wOBA
vL 120 31 4 - 8 - 16 - .258 .350 .492 .842 .234 .361
vR 354 90 19 1 21 - 56 - .254 .303 .492 .795 .238 .341
HOME 237 66 14 - 11 31 33 - .278 .342 .477 .819 .199 .354
AWAY 237 55 9 1 18 31 39 1 .232 .288 .506 .794 .274 .339

Renfroe has genuinely evolved into the highly touted prospect he was just years ago. While he may be a late bloomer at the prime age of 30, the Mississippi native has at least three-to-four years before his intangibles and bat speed begins to deteriorate. Although, for the time being, Renfroe is locked in for the Halos in 2023 and brings a ton to the table.

The lefty/righty split doesn't display any conceivable difference; that should be concerning. It's expected that the righty/righty matchup would be an advantage for Renfroe. Ironically, Renfroe fares slightly better when he encounters a southpaw by a difference of four points. In 2021, the left/righty split shook out to a 16-point margin, despite the home run count tilting towards the righty/righty matchup (Righties-20/Lefties-11).

Setting aside his lefty/righty splits, there is one unsung category that Renfroe doesn't get as much credit for. That would be his inhuman ability to hit the ball hard consistently. We've discussed his elevated barrel%, but there's more to it.

Right off the bat, the disparity between 2016 and 2017 when he faced offspeed pitches takes quite the jump (faced 13 offspeed pitches in 2021). On a more recent note, Renfroe ranks in the 78th percentile for average exit velocity. Beginning with the fastball, the aforementioned stat line against fastballs clearly manifests in the chart as his hardest-hit pitch (.302 BA). His wOBA against the four-seam ballooned to .410, which is 100 points more than the league average wOBA of .310.

The breaking ball and offspeed pitches endured tremendous fluctuation on a yearly basis, but evidently, his average velocity has been on an upward trend.

We've touched on the more sophisticated plug-ins, but one, in particular, requires some speculation. The chart shows that Renfroe isn't a conventional pull hitter like Daulton Varsho (54.5 Pull%). Firstly, his home run variation portrays the vast majority of balls in left field with a bunch towards the right-center mark. In regards to the variation of singles, it's largely contingent on Renfroe's launch angle and timing.

Here's some background. Renfroe pulled the ball 44.1% of the time, as opposed to straight away center, which was 32.4%. This past 2022 season was his lowest Pull% since commencing just 36 plate appearances in 2016 (40% Pull). His ball placement has clearly been an investment, and it will only enhance his prowess as a hitter. Therefore, in 2023, there is a fair chance that his Pull% will descend even more while other parts of the field get some more attention.

 

Fantasy Baseball Conclusion

Aside from reinvigorating their outfield, the Angels seek to revamp their organization. Acquiring Hunter Renfroe is certainly a step in the right direction. As per Steamer Projections, Renfroe's projected 2023 trajectory is a fun one: 30 home runs, with a slash line of .238/.303/.465. For the OPS nerds, a .767 OPS. Although his average isn't expected to contribute as much, we've seen this story before. This past season, Renfroe finished with a .255 average.

To close things with a bang, Renfroe is lauded for having one of the biggest cannons in baseball. Watch out, fellas, and keep a keen eye out for some Renfroe in your upcoming fantasy drafts!



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