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

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Javier Baez - Don’t Overpay for Last Season's Stats

A common mistake by fantasy managers on draft day is taking a player based on his previous year's statistics and thinking it will be repeated the following season. A player’s draft day price can become heavily inflated after one breakout year. It's easy to fall victim to the belief that a one-year sample size is now the new standard that we should expect moving forward. You can't win championships in the first few rounds of a draft, but you can lose them by getting a bad return on an early investment.

Javier Baez is a superstar Major League talent. He was a deserving MVP candidate and All-Star last season, and the future is still bright for the 26-year old. He also might have the best glove of his generation, as his defensive metrics look just as sharp as his fielding. After being selected outside the top 100 in fantasy drafts last season, Baez has soared way up to a 12.88 ADP. A massive jump, but is it fully deserved?

Baez finished his breakout year batting .290 with 34 home runs, 101 R, 111 RBI, and 21 stolen bases. All of these numbers were not only career-highs, but they also blew his previous bests out of the water (.273/23/75/75/12). His 2018 numbers are first-round worthy, but the question you need to ask yourself on draft day is whether that's what we’ll see again in 2019. Let's look at some advanced metrics to decide whether he is worth his current draft stock.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!


Plate Discipline

A lot of factors play into what dictates a player's batting average and on-base percentage. Plate discipline is the most important because if you are unable to put the ball in play, you are unable to get on base, it’s that simple. Baez was among the league-worst in doing that. Let’s compare his 2018 numbers to the Major League averages.

O-Swing% O-Contact% Contact% SwStr%
League Average 30.90% 62.80% 76.90% 10.70%
Javier Baez 45.50% 54.90% 68.50% 17.90%

Not only does he chase close to 15% more pitches out of the strike zone, in which he ranks second-worst across baseball, but he also makes contact on those would-be balls well below the average. His SwStr% is also second-worst in baseball, and he’s fourth-worst in Contact%. To put these numbers in a bit more perspective, there have been 57 players since 2009 with a Contact% of 70.0% or below. ZERO of these players hit .290. Baez’ poor plate discipline numbers aren’t a one-season wonder either as all of these metrics are right on par with his career averages.

After being so weak in these categories, it begs the question of how did he hit .290 last season? His BABIP (.347) and Hard% (35.8%) were career-bests. He also had a .358 AVG on fly balls, which is bound to see negative regression as the big league average was .230 and Baez’ career-average is .274. History suggests that Baez won’t duplicate the hitting success he had in 2018 and according to Statcast, his expected AVG last season was .257. Unless he starts taking a different approach at the plate, expect him to hit closer to his career .267 AVG.


Counting Stats

If you selected Baez last year, the 34 HR, 101 R and 111 RBI he provided were drool-worthy. A career-best .260 ISO, 24.3% HR/FB, and .326 OBP attribute to providing him these roto measures. All these metrics have been trending upwards every year, so it’s not much of a surprise that he set a new personal record in these counting stats.

He did, however, set a new low in GB/FB (1.41), a number that has been declining every season. The fact that this digression is inverse to the other power metrics raises a question to if his 2018 HR number is truly repeatable. It seems unlikely, as 32.4% of his big flys last season were rated as Just Enough, compared to his 0.15% mark in his previous seasons. This number is a gigantic leap and quite unexplainable because his average distance on batted balls in 2018 was 174’, right on his career-average 174.75’.

Due to Kris Bryant suffering an injury last season, Baez also spent over 42% of his at-bats batting second or third. This position put him right ahead of Anthony Rizzo, a perennial run producer and a bat who offers the most protection in the lineup. Hitting in this spot of the order is a gold mine for Run and RBI counting stats. Barring another injury to Rizzo or Bryant, Baez will likely bat fourth, limiting his number of ABs, therefore limiting the number of opportunities to hit the long ball and to score or drive in runs.



Baez’s 21 stolen bases in 2018 was an impressive mark, but his track record on the basepaths isn’t as inspiring. He's eclipsed 21 SB just once, back in 2012 when he swiped 24 in a split season between Single-A and High-A. In his only other full years in the bigs, his combined total is 22.

After stealing 18 bags in 20 attempts in the first half of last season, he was disastrous in the second half, getting caught seven times with only three successful attempts. At a gaudy 73.1% career success rate, it will be risky for manager Joe Maddon to give him the green light as often as he did last season.



Despite some inherent flaws, Baez has proven he can be an elite producer over the course of a full MLB season. He undoubtedly carries a lot of value heading into 2019. His multi-position eligibility is a unique asset to find at his market value, but taking him as early as his current ADP dictates is a mistake. To think that everything will come together again for him this year and replicate his 2018 numbers is unsound logic.

It’s a high-risk move, and the reward isn’t any higher than selecting Jose Altuve or Manny Machado, players who come with a much safer floor. Baez is just one example of a player being drafted much higher based on his previous year's stats. The message here, as should always be the case, is to draft based off what is projected to come this year, not what happened the season before.

More Fantasy Baseball Analysis

More Recent Articles


Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

All of a sudden, the Chargers look like one of the worst teams in football and the Jets look like a playoff contender. Maybe things won't shake out that way in the end but it goes to show how quickly things change in the "Not For Long" NFL. For that reason, we advise looking at... Read More

Waiver Wire Express - Week 7 Lightning Round

The Jets are back! OK, maybe not back because they were never here but at least there's some actual hope and fantasy value to be had from a previously winless team. The tight end landscape has changed drastically again, as Hunter Henry returns right at 60% ownership, while breakout second-year Seahawk Will Dissly's season appears... Read More

Week 6 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

It's Sunday Morning Week 6... Do You Know Who to Start? Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football questions, from around 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET. Come join in on the fun, and get your... Read More

Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 6 Amari Cooper (quad) has been ruled out for the game. Will Dissly went down with a non-contact achilles... Read More

Updated Week 6 PPR Rankings (Top 300)

Welcome to Week 6 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 6 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates: Albert Wilson is making his return this week. Tyreek Hill will officially make his return today. Marquise Brown (ankle) will miss this week's game. Kenny Stills is... Read More

Week 6 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

This game is a matchup of the two top teams in the NFC North, by the standings at least. The key to this game will, of course be the offenses. Both the Lions and Packers come into this game boasting offenses which rank in the top half of the NFL and this game should be... Read More

Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 6

Welcome to our Week 6 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More

Week 6 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More

Wide Receiver Matchups To Target in Week 6

In Week 5, Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller was the best wide receiver play of the week. Even if you didn't play Fuller and missed out on his big day, you still had a chance to win your DFS contests if you played other receiver options that were recommended in this column, such as Michael... Read More

The King's Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Week 6

Welcome to Week 6, RotoBallers! Below you will find some of my spotlight plays and tough lineup decisions for the upcoming week of the fantasy football season. These player selections are based off my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a... Read More

Week 6 Busts? Players To Consider Avoiding

Weeks 4 and 5 saw a combined four teams go on bye. Week 6, however, will be the first week of the season with four teams off in the same week. That will also be the case in Weeks 7, 9, 11 and 12. Meanwhile, in Week 10 there will be six different teams taking... Read More

Week 6 Stream Team - Free Agent and Bye-Week Streamers

Now that bye weeks are in full swing; streaming becomes a more viable and almost necessary strategy. Knowing who to add and when to start them could be the ultimate difference-maker in a weekly matchup. Making the right streaming decisions throughout the season could easily be the difference in winning a championship. Each week, I... Read More

Woos and Boos - Starts and Sits for Week 6 Lineups

Week 5 in the NFL saw a return to normalcy from a fantasy perspective. Although we saw big performances from Will Fuller, D.J. Chark, and Aaron Jones, the top of the leaderboards was largely filled by some of the more common names from around the league. Could this be a turn of the corner as... Read More

Week 6 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

If this season has proved anything, it's that DSTs can not be dismissed. This past week the Eagles threw up 35+ points in most formats, and you can bet that was the difference in plenty of matchups. The Patriots have proven that the right defense with the right schedule can be as valuable as a... Read More

Fantasy Football Mailbag - Week 6

This article's content may vary week-to-week, but generally, it will be answering questions fielded from either the @RotoBallerNFL twitter account or my personal one (@RotoSurgeon). This week, the focus is on start/sit questions, and there were plenty. Every week, many of us struggle with which quarterback to start, or who to flex, and I am... Read More