Joey Ricotta | January 23rd, 2020
Welcome, maybe you saw my name at the top of the article and are wondering if you clicked on the wrong one. You might be more accustomed to seeing my name preceding DFS articles, but fantasy baseball is another arena I have a heavy interest in, and of course, DFS is just an extension of fantasy sports.
With that said, this article will be the start of a new series that I hope to get out weekly. In this series, we’ll look at two players at the same position that have substantially differing ADPs (average draft positions). With no rhyme or reason, we’ll kick it off by starting at the shortstop position.
With Villar, I understand why he’s regarded so high, but it’s a risky proposition. Do you really need 40 stolen bases from one player? Don’t get me wrong, that’s terrific, but you can gather steals in smaller quantities from an assortment of different players to get you close to the amount you need. Villar’s power went up to the highest home run total of his career last season with 24, but Statcast suggests his power output was rather fluky, as his xSLG and xwOBA were in the 28th and 29th percentile respectively.
As far as team expectations go for 2020, Villar is making somewhat of a lateral move, going from the Baltimore Orioles to the Miami Marlins. However, the ballpark downgrade for the hitting environment has to be considered tremendously. Villar hit 16 of his 24 homers at home last season.
Below are the ballpark factor grading stats courtesy of swish analytics. The average is 1.0, anything over that number is considered a hitter’s advantage. Anything below that number is considered a disadvantage.
|Oriole Park at Camden Yards||Right Field
|Marlins Park||Right Field
As you can see from the charts above, the only meaningful category that should be considered a ballpark upgrade is in the triples department. Hitting singles to left field are up as well, but I find that number sort of meaningless in the grand scheme of things. You can hit a single on any field at any time.
The ballpark, for me, isn’t the only hitting environment difference between Villar and Seager. The Los Angeles Dodgers are considerably better than the Miami Marlins. The hitters surrounding Seager should create more production opportunities for him. Now, let’s dive into the individual numbers.
As you can see from the table above, Villar outperformed his expected stats by quite a bit, while Seager outperformed his by a much smaller clip.
Something that also sticks out to me, Seager hit 44 doubles, compared to Villar’s 33, in a lot fewer at-bats. Yes, Villar also had five triples, compared to one from Seager, but if you equal that out, without including home runs, Seager hit seven more extra-base hits than Villar in 173 fewer plate-appearances.
Now, this is where it gets interesting. I’m not overly excitable or someone who puts a lot of weight in prorated stats, but if you go off of last season’s numbers and assume they will hit homers at the same clip they did a year ago, Seager will hit one more homer than Villar will in 2020, if he gets the same number of plate-appearances Villar had.
Not listed in the table above are the players’ launch angles. Both players lifted their launch angle considerably to the highest degrees of their career. However, Seager’s launch angle was twice as high as Villar’s (14.1 – 7.0), indicating he is attempting to hit more homers.
More glaring differences lie in the K% and xwOBA categories. Seager outperformed his xwOBA by only eight points, while Villar outperformed his by 22. Regression back to the mean could be in order.
Another section of the article that the numbers aren’t very far off. The HH% is somewhat similar, but barreling up the ball and making less weak contact is clearly in favor of Seager.
Seager’s ability to stay healthy is obviously a concern for anyone drafting him, he played only 26 games in 2018 after suffering a UCL sprain. Last season, he played a lot more (134 games), but still missed time with a strained hamstring injury. Villar, on the other hand, played in all 162 games last season. Nonetheless, if Seager can stay on the field, he should be able to improve on a lot of counting stats.
Prospect pedigree also plays a bit of a factor. Seager was once the top-rated prospect in baseball, while Villar has bounced around a lot since originally starting in the Philadelphia Phillies system. We might’ve seen Villar’s ceiling last year, and I think the best is yet to come for Seager.
The reason why I decided to compare the two isn’t to bash Villar. If you can get him at a much better ADP than he currently shows, by all means, pull the trigger. I am just having a hard time tricking myself into believing his stolen base upside is that much more of a need. As I’ve alluded to throughout the article, Seager stands out as a much better value pick with comparable numbers to Villar. If the choice is Villar at his ADP or Seager at his, I’m choosing Seager.
Questions and comments?
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