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]

Mike Moustakas to Reds - Fantasy Impact


At the start of December, the Cincinnati Reds signed All-Star infielder Mike Moustakas to a four-year, $64 million contract. It serves as the largest free-agent contract in Reds history. While it may be an overly rich deal for a 31-year-old power hitter, it was a necessary investment for a team that desperately needed to revamp their offense.

The Reds finished the 2019 season with a disappointing 75-87 record. Despite having the fourth-best team ERA in the National League last season, they also scored the fourth-fewest runs. Enter Moustakas, who is capable of remedying the team's offensive woes to a certain degree. He also plugs a sizable hole at second base with the departures of Scooter Gennett and Jose Peraza.

So how impactful can Moustakous be with his new team, and what does his presence mean for his fantasy-relevant teammates? Taking a closer look at some of his advanced metrics may give us the answer.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!

 

A Steady Slugger

Moustakas came up through the Kansas City Royals system after being drafted second overall by the team in the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft. He always possessed power as a prospect, but there were some initial concerns about his contact capabilities in the big leagues.

Fast forward to the present, and Moustakas has been an All-Star in three of the past five seasons. Over the past three years, he has produced a slash line of .259/.319/.498 to go along with an average of 33 home runs and 89 RBI per season. In 2019, he continued his consistent production with the Milwaukee Brewers by slashing .254/.329/.516 with 35 home runs, 87 RBI, and a career-high 53 walks. He also posted a career-high in OPS with a .845 rating.

On the other hand, his 16.8% strikeout rate in 2019 was a full percent higher than his career average, although it was still a top-40 mark among players with over 502 plate appearances. Aside from that, despite the impressive home run total, many of Moustakas' underlying stats are surprisingly underwhelming. Regarding Statcast, Moustakas failed to rank in the top-60 among qualified hitters in xwOBA (84th), xBA (144th), Brls/PA% (67th), average exit velocity (162nd), and hard-hit% (144th). While those figures may cause fantasy managers some concern, it helps to know that Moustakas has never been an analytics darling in his career, even in his All-Star seasons.

The move to the Great American Ballpark in Cinncinati will also help improve Moustakas' numbers. In each of the past three years, when looking at park-adjusted metrics, Cinncinati's stadium has been more favorable to hitters in home-run factors than Miller Park in Milwaukee. In fact, since 2003, more home runs have been hit at the Great American Ballpark than any other MLB diamond. The Reds expect Moustakas to produce runs with his powerful swing, and his home stadium will help him achieve that. Barring injury, a return to the 35-homer plateau is well within reach.

 

Revamped Reds Offense

Moustakas' arrival instantly helps legitimize the Reds offense by giving them another power bat in the middle of their lineup. Last season, until star rookie Aristides Aquino arrived on the scene, it seemed like Eugenio Suarez was single-handedly supporting the Reds offense every night. Suarez, who belted 49 homers in 2019, ended up driving in 14.7% of the Reds 701 runs. As for Aquino, the young slugger shockingly swatted 19 home runs in 56 games, although he endured a few lengthy slumps once opposing pitchers started to catch on to his tendencies.

Nevertheless, a three-headed monster of Suarez-Moustakas-Aquino is one of the most intimidating trios in all of baseball. Ahead of them, the speedy Nick Senzel will occupy the leadoff role while Joey Votto, who remains an on-base machine (.357 OBP in 2019), will likely bat second. Throw in some adequate production from Freddy Galvis and Jesse Winker at the bottom of the order, and it looks like the Reds will have a much-improved lineup.

Aside from fantasy managers holding onto Josh VanMeter is deeper dynasty leagues, the early consensus seems to be that the addition of Moustakas benefits the entire lineup. Likewise, if the rest of the Reds live up to expectations, Moustakas should be able to reach his offensive averages with ease.

 

2020 Outlook

Currently, according to NFBC draft data, Moustakas is the 12th second baseman to come off of the board with an average draft position of 122.79. Two of last season's breakout second basemen, Jeff McNeil and Eduardo Escobar, rank just in front of the 31-year-old. Moustakas was ranked 11th among second baseman in 5x5 Roto league value last season, so his mid-tier draft position looks fair, especially when considering his dual positional eligibility at third base.

It would not be an extraordinary stretch to see Moustakas rank among the top-10 fantasy second baseman by season's end. He has been a consistent hitter for the better part of the past five years, and while he is starting to age, the move to Cincinnati looks beneficial in multiple ways. Additionally, in his career, he has averaged 650 plate appearances across a 162-game season. Moustakas only had 584 plate appearances in 2019, so even if he regresses slightly in 2020, an increased number of batting opportunities will make up for any downtick in his counting stats.

In summary, Moustakas is an excellent middle-round option for managers who prioritized speed early on in the draft or need to fill an infield hole. Even as he ages, Moustakas remains a starter in the majority of fantasy formats as he offers consistent production at a modest price. Playing every day in a hitter-friendly ballpark bodes well for Moustakas' fantasy stock heading into 202o.

 




More Recent Articles

 

2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a very different strategy if you wish to truly compete. All preseason long, RotoBaller has you covered with the latest rankings for all fantasy baseball league types. Here we present our points league rankings... Read More


Second-Half Improvements: Buy Into These Starting Pitchers

The second half of the season is always put under a microscope for starting pitchers. Fantasy players have a love for the second half of the season, as the belief is that pitchers who take a step forward could carry over that success the next season and perhaps even build upon it. But, as we... Read More


How to Attack RP in SV+HLD Leagues

No position has seen as much evolution in recent seasons as the relief pitcher. Gone are the days where starters were expected to go seven innings as most teams have embraced the idea of "super-bullpening" and try to fit as many pitchers that can throw 95+ MPH into their bullpen as they can. Many fantasy... Read More


Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Pitch Info

One of the most fundamental questions in fantasy sports is if a player's current performance is sustainable. More than any other sport, baseball has a slew of statistical measures that can be dissected in numerous ways to analyze player performance. Pitch Info is a publicly-available pitch tracking system that provides a lot of different data to... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Staff Rankings

Below you will find RotoBaller's 2020 fantasy baseball rankings, tiers and auction dollar values for the 2020 MLB season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Mixed, Head-to-Head, Points, AL/NL Only, Two-Catcher Top 2020 prospects, Dynasty leagues, Keeper values Export the rankings easily... Read More


Mock Draft Review: Best Late-Round Targets

Last week, some members of the RotoBaller staff completed a 12-team mock draft for standard 5x5 format. After the draft, we each broke down our strategy and some of our favorite picks, which can be found here. However, I want to take a closer look at one portion of the draft in particular. Since we know that... Read More


Faster and Furious: Pitchers with Rising Velocity/Performance

Welcome fantasy baseball players! I’m sure that you, like me, are anxiously counting down the days until your drafts and Opening Day. While the fantasy season may not start for several weeks, there are plenty of things we can do to start preparing for a successful season. One of those things is to take a good... Read More


James Karinchak Is A Relief Pitcher To Know in 2020

One of the lesser-known players that intrigues me for the 2020 MLB season is Indians relief pitcher James Karinchak. The former Bryant Bulldog was drafted by Cleveland in the ninth round in the 2017 draft and went on to have one of the most outrageous statistical seasons in minor league baseball history. As someone who... Read More


2020 Relief Pitcher Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

Often regarded as an inferior fantasy baseball format, points leagues offer a different style of boasting over your friends or coworkers similar to that of fantasy football. These setups are typically head-to-head formats for a one-week stretch where the player with the most points gets a win. Easy right? While it's true that roster construction... Read More


2019 Barrel Breakouts: Who's For Real and Who's Next?

As pitchers and catchers get even closer to reporting and most fantasy leagues prepare for their drafts, everybody is looking for a leg up on the competition - a way to get in on a guy before everybody else does. In this article, we're going to look for a way to identify hitters who improved... Read More


Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Pitcher BABIP

While FIP is a useful tool to predict a pitcher's future ERA performance, fantasy owners should remember that ERA, not FIP, is what really matters in most formats. This means that we are interested in the "luck" that separates the two statistics. While some of this luck is unpredictable, we can and should predict some... Read More


Second Year Player Preview: Fantasy Baseball 2020 ADP Analysis

Host Anthony Aniano of RotoBaller Radio discuss the 2020 fantasy baseball season and keeps you updated with all the latest news and analysis Be sure to tune into RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM (channel Sirius 210, XM 87) - every weekday morning between 6-7 AM ET, every weekday afternoon from 1-2 PM ET, Saturday nights from 9-11 PM ET... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Jorge Alfaro

Miami Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro was a key piece in the J.T. Realmuto trade that was executed before the 2019 season. The Marlins have high hopes for Alfaro and he continued his development in 2019 by slashing .262/.312/.425 with 18 HR, 57 RBI, 44 R, and 22 BB. The overall numbers may not seem all that... Read More


2020 Shortstop Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a different strategy if you wish to truly compete. Rankings themselves are a different beast altogether, as category specialists like Mallex Smith and Dee Gordon (stolen bases), Kyle Schwarber and Franmil Reyes (home runs),... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers – Victor Reyes

With a 457 ADP in 2020 NFBC leagues, Detroit Tigers outfielder Victor Reyes is an afterthought in all but the deepest leagues.  Perhaps the 25-year-old shouldn't be, though, as Reyes was quietly solid in 2019, slashing .304/.336/.431 in 292 plate-appearances, with three home runs and nine stolen bases. Having made stops in Arizona and the... Read More