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BALLER MOVE: Draft target ~pick 200

ANALYSIS: In his second full season with the Houston Astros, Yuli Gurriel’s 2018 numbers were exactly as expected. He hit a cool .291 with 13 HR, 70 R, 85 RBI and he even chipped in five stolen bases. Other than superb contact skills, Gurriel is league average in all batted ball metrics. The 34-year-old had a LD/GB/FB slash line of 20.2%/44.3%/35.6%, all numbers within 1% of the major league average. Gurriel also doesn’t walk or strikeout much, he only had a 4.0% BB% and an 11.0% K%, so he puts the ball in play a ton.

Having these contact skills helped him get the 85 RBI as the primary cleanup or fifth-hole hitter in the Astros lineup, but with the addition of Michael Brantley this offseason, it may push Gurriel down another spot in the order. If this happens, more RBI and run-scoring opportunity will be lost, so it’s likely these counting stats see a decline in 2019. A power spike for the Cuban doesn’t seem to be in the horizon as he doesn’t hit the ball in the air enough or have the hard contact to push it over the fence (30.6% in 2018). He only seems to hit lefties with power, a .188 ISO against southpaws and just .117 versus righties.

The batting average should remain in the .290 vicinity with the elite contact skills, and another handful of thefts would be a bonus. With an ADP of 190 in a relatively thin first base pool, Gurriel is a fine option if you’re looking for a batting average helper, but you’ll have to look elsewhere if you’re searching for power with high-upside for big-time counting stats.


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