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


Statcast First-Half Overachievers (Hitters)

The second half of the 2019 fantasy baseball season is upon us. Before we get too deep into pennant races, let's take this opportunity to reflect on some first-half performances that could be telling of future fortune, or in this case, misfortune.

Last week, we looked at Expected Statistic Underachievers to try to find buy-low candidates. This time, it's the other side of the coin.

Once again, I will pick out three fantasy-relevant players from each major category to determine whether their discrepancies should be cause for concern or not.

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!


xBA Overachievers

All stats current as of July 14, 2019 and highlights players with at least 50 plate appearances.


Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS, SD)

+.086 BA-xBA in 244 PA

Don't shoot the messenger. We all agree that Tatis is a phenomenal talent, evidenced by his slick glove, elite sprint speed and blooming power. The hit tool is there too but not to the point that he's going to be hitting .329 every season. In fact, he should be hitting closer to .243, which is his xBA over the first half. Faster runners do tend to outperform expected stats more often because of the ability to leg out infield hits or force mistakes by the defense.

Still, we should expect a drop in average through the second half, especially once the end of the season approaches and the rookie potentially tires out. He did see as many as 575 plate appearances in his 2017 minor league year so maybe that shouldn't be a major concern so much as natural regression.


Daniel Murphy (1B/2B, COL)

+.059 BA-xBA in 251 PA

Murph has been living in this zone all season - outperforming his xStats while still vastly underwhelming fantasy owners. The combination of Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson have cut into his playing time at first and second base. Honestly, if McMahon were close to living up to his potential, Murphy would be riding the pine more often.

He's gotten his average to .294, right in line with the previous few seasons. His exit velocity continues to go down, however, to a career-low of 86.8, accompanied by a 27.5% hard-hit rate that is in the bottom 10% of the league. While never a true slugger, Murphy used to regularly be among the leaders in doubles. Despite the Coors effect, he's got 18 this season and on pace for his lowest mark over a season where he registers at least 500 PA. Add in a worsening strikeout rate and all of this points to a measly .300 xwoBACON. Don't let the average fool you - he's becoming closer to replacement level, even when healthy.


David Dahl (OF, COL)

+.046 BA-xBA in 340 PA

Another Rockies batter. Could this be a coincidence? Well, Coors Field is tops in the majors as far as Run Factor for left-handed batters, second for Single Factor (Coors for RHB is first) and 11th for Home Run Factor. That said, Dahl is a former first-round pick with a short swing who has long been thought of as a natural hitter, who would just so happen to benefit from Coors. He is doing just that but despite the overachievement factor, he should actually get more credit than I've given him in the past.

Dahl's xBA of .265 isn't great but it is still above league average. He also hits in the top half of the lineup for one of the better offensive teams around. Over a slightly bigger sample size, so far he's hitting like he did in 2016 (.315) but he could just as likely finish like he did in 2018 (.273). Hold tight regardless.


xSLG Overachievers

All stats current as of July 14, 2019 and highlights players with at least 50 plate appearances.


Yordan Alvarez (OF, HOU)

+.162 SLG-xSLG in 96 PA

I'll begin by saying I don't give a damn what Statcast says - Alvarez WILL be AL Rookie of the Year. Now, onto the filthy lies.

Alvarez is slashing .344/.422/.733 but his expected slash line is .290/.402/.594. He's not getting any favors from his sprint speed so it's pure hitting ability that drives his success. Alvarez has a 93.1 MPH exit velocity that ranks 10th in the majors. He's also tied for 13th in Barrels per plate appearance. Even if he performs closer to expectations, he's a .300 hitter in a top offense. Buy-high and if you're in a dynasty league, sell the farm for him.


Mitch Garver (C, MIN)

+.124 SLG-xSLG in 180 PA

The Twins' catching duo of Garver and Jason Castro ranks in the top three of nearly every offensive category at the position. Garver is the main reason, with a .288/.370/.607 slash, 14 HR nad 36 RBI in 163 at-bats. His exceptional 49.6% hard-hit rate seems to support this but he has been somewhat lucky on batted balls. If he can sustain his .330 BABIP for a second straight year and maintain increases in exit velo and pull rate, then maybe it will make for an equally strong second half. Given the way the Twins have performed, it would be hard to sell on anyone in that lineup.


Eric Thames (1B, MIL)

+.123 SLG-xSLG in 246 PA

In last week's column, Jesus Aguilar was shown to be an underachiever, which goes without saying. Interestingly, Thames has been outperforming expected stats much to the same extent. What if things shift on both sides?

Speaking strictly of Thames, he is obviously used as a righty-masher; 184 of his 206 at-bats have come against RHP. He's faring well but he shouldn't be. His .211 xBA is in the bottom 6% of the league. This should be no surprise, as his xBA was .208 last year and .226 the year before. His strikeout rate is also in the bottom 7% of the league. The platoon may stick for now but if Aguilar can get on a roll, he could easily wrestle the full-time job away like he did last year.


xwOBA Overachievers

All stats current as of July 14, 2019 and highlights players with at least 50 plate appearances.


Corey Dickerson (OF, PIT)

+.053 wOBA-xwOBA in 97 PA

Dickerson has also been mentioned in this space before. Between an extended IL stint and the emergence of Bryan Reynolds, Dickerson's playing time might be in question if not for Gregory Polanco's own injury.

Since coming back on June 8, Dickerson has only homered once and walked three times in 76 AB. A .270 average is respectable but a .270 xwOBA is not. That's where he sits, tied for 375th in that metric. If the Bucs hadn't traded away Austin Meadows and Jordan Luplow last year, Dickerson might already be trade bait. The fact that he is slugging better than expected means that Dickerson doesn't need to be owned in mixed leagues right now.


Eduardo Escobar (2B/3B/SS, ARI)

+.050 wOBA-xwOBA in 396 PA

Fantasy owners love Escobar and there's little I can say that will change that opinion, even if I wanted to. He's a major contributor in every category except for steals and his 68 RBI are tied with Freddie Freeman and Christian Yelich for seventh in the bigs. Yet, his expected stats are all below league average and his hard-hit rate is all the way down at 13th percentile. Does this mean he's due to plummet?

We know that certain players are good at overachieving. They consistently have a higher BABIP than others and succeed in spite of Statcast metrics that predict otherwise. Escobar just seems to be one of those guys. Besides the fact he was awful in 2016, you may notice he never was a high wOBA player until last year.

His xBA has lived between .240-.265 for five straight seasons. It wasn't until 2019 that his actual average even broke .275.

While some small gains may be lost in the second half, Escobar has proven his worth and doesn't seem due for a huge drop even if he is vastly overachieving.


Miguel Sano (1B/3B, MIN)

+.047 wOBA-xwOBA in 172 PA

That's right, Miguel Sano is doing better than he should be. Hard to believe. While I'll never be a Sano truther like Bobby Sylvester, I know he has immense power and was once the top prospect in all of baseball. I'd like to think he can solve his issues but it may too late for that.

Sano has never kept a strikeout rate under 35% and his ridiculous 52.8% hard-hit rate means little when he's making contact just 64.7% of the time, 72% inside the zone - something that is also consistent over his career. He's crushed a few long balls but the tradeoff isn't, and likely never will be, worth it for fantasy owners.

More Sabermetrics & Statcast for Fantasy Baseball

More Recent Articles


Nine AL Rookies Ready to Leap Into Starting Lineups

Every year, there are those rookies who we expect to make a splash right away. Think Kris Bryant, Ronald Acuna, Cody Bellinger, Aaron Judge--those guys. Once we make it through all the service time manipulation shenanigans, there are always youngsters ready to snatch roster spots immediately, and 2020 is no exception. Below are nine of... Read More

Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Spin Rate

Spin rate has become one of the most recognizable Statcast metrics, with supporters of a given pitcher highlighting his spin rates to make their case. Unfortunately, the baseball world has done a lousy job conveying what spin rate really means. The result has been a ton of owners who know that spin rate exists, but... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Khris Davis

The Oakland Athletics finished 2019 with a record of 97-65, which was good for a second-place finish in the AL West and a second-consecutive wildcard birth. They did this despite a statistically down season from their superstar, Khris Davis. Davis struggled mightily in 2019 by slashing .220/.293/.387 with 23 HR, 73 RBI, 61 R, and... Read More

ADP Cost Analysis: Trey Mancini vs. Christian Walker

One of the most important skills in a fantasy draft is the ability to identify a player with similar value at a lower ADP. When you're able to find similar production at a lower cost, this allows you to use an earlier pick to fill out other areas of your roster, resulting in a stronger... Read More

MLB Closers and Saves: Fantasy Baseball Depth Charts

Saves are an important component for many fantasy baseball leagues. Closers are one of the most volatile positions in fantasy baseball, and one of the highest turnover positions in MLB. Each year, closers drop like flies and many MLB teams make in-season changes due to injuries or poor performance. Stay on top of all closer depth... 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

Bases Loaded Podcast - Relief Pitchers Preview

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is joined by Jorge Montanez, Zach Braff and Mike Simione as they jump into their relief pitcher preview! Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast Network. Like and Subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well!... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Jose Urquidy

It's been a tumultuous winter for the Houston Astros. Not only were they embroiled in a sign-stealing scandal (which has, naturally, progressed apace to unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about ever more sophisticated methods of cheating), but they watched staff ace Gerrit Cole sign a mammoth free-agent deal with the Yankees. Plenty of virtual ink has been... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Mark Canha

Mark Canha had a solid 2019 campaign and is one player that probably deserves more attention heading into 2020 than he is currently receiving. He finished the season hitting .273/.396/.517 with 26 HR, 58 RBI, 80 R, and 67 BB in 410 at-bats. It was a very productive line for a guy that played in... Read More

Four Prospect Sleepers for 2020 Redraft Leagues

Recently, Rotoballer launched a list of the Top 50 MLB prospects for the coming year. The top of the list was populated by names such as Gavin Lux, Luis Robert, and Brendan McKay. These players, among others, feature a promising combination of talent and favorable playing time projections to suggest they’ll be the cream-of-the-crop among... Read More

ADP Cost Analysis – Robbie Ray vs Trevor Bauer

With fantasy baseball draft season in full swing, those of us who partake in this joyous game are now looking through as much draft data as possible in a bid to find players we love who have lower average draft positions (ADP) than we believe they should. All this to eke out as much draft... Read More

2020 Keeper Value Rankings - Second Base

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft pick in order to keep a player into the upcoming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values". In the marketing world, Value can be defined as "the extent to which a good or service (player) is... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers – C.J. Cron

As another fantasy baseball season approaches, we once again have the chance to discuss C.J. Cron as a fantasy sleeper. Cron will be playing for his third team in three seasons. It is tough to wrap one's head around the idea that a player of Cron's talent continues to be undervalued by professional and fantasy... Read More

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