Batter’s Box: Jedi Master Yordan

Everything Dave Cherman thinks you need to know about Friday's best hitters is right here in the Batter's Box.

After a stellar 2-for-3 game with 2 R and a solo homer, Yordan Alvarez has his season line up to .336/.421/.699 with 13 HRs. Prorated to 155 games, he’s on pace for 52 HRs, 96 R, and 155 RBI and even though we still have time left this season, I’d like to start a conversation on where we’re drafting Alvarez next year.

First, there may be some moderate concern about his positional eligibility, but he’s got seven games in the outfield already so he should get to 10 without issue and have OF eligibility next year. So we’re not drafting him as a DH, which helps significantly.

His average is propped up by a .398 BABIP that, while supported by a 25.7% LD%, a low 38.6% FB%, and a minuscule 2.6% IFFB%, is just not something he can sustain because nobody has posted a single season BABIP that high since Ichiro in 2004. The highest career BABIP over that time is Aaron Judge’s .362, so even if Alvarez maintains his elite BABIP ways, it’s likely to settle into something closer to the .350 to .360 range, which will hurt his average. We can expect he’s unlikely to keep hitting .330, but that could mean he’s still a .300 hitter.

Alvarez is currently mashing home run after home run because he’s got a stellar 33.3% HR/FB rate. That’s not unsustainable, but when I look for guys who can sustain that kind of rate, I look at how often they’re pulling fly balls … and that’s not really Alvarez. He spreads the ball to all fields and keeps his FB% below 40% so I’m slightly concerned.

At the same time, I love seeing a guy spread to all fields at his age. It shows a very advanced approach that most guys don’t have at 22 years old. If you’re concerned with his pull and FB marks though, he’s posting a 50.5% hard contact rate with a soft contact BELOW 10% that should ease any worries about his ability to drive it out when he makes contact.

The counting stats are always going to be there in this lineup so he can certainly threaten for 200 R+RBI next year, if not more. If the home runs regress a lot, we’re looking at a .300 hitter with 30 HRs and 100 R and 100 RBI. That has to go in the first 2-3 rounds, right? I’m only including the third round because he didn’t go in the top 24 of our Pitcher List “First Two” draft, but Cody Bellinger was a second round pick after his rookie year. Judge was a first rounder after his. Would it be so crazy to see Alvarez taken in the top 24? I don’t think so and it could be a very fun, sexy pick.


Roman Quinn (OF, Philadelphia Phillies) — 3-for-6, 2 R, HR, RBI, 2 SB. Quinn also took the loss, pitching two frames and giving up a run in the 15th inning. It’s a shame because you really needed him to pick up a win in extra innings. Quinn’s sporting a .169/.256/.312 line through 87 PAs but if his .217 BABIP rises, the steals could be a major help to your fantasy team. He’s got 21 in 299 career PAs so the ability is there but he’s just not an everyday player at this point with that offensive production.

Nelson Cruz (DH, Minnesota Twins) — 3-for-5, 2 2B, HR, 5 RBI. He’s hitting .324/.432/.853 in 82 PAs in the second half so far. Dude is straight up MASHING. You’re feeling awesome for holding him through his injuries. Father Time who? Cruz doesn’t care.

Keston Hiura (2B, Milwaukee Brewers) — 1-for-4, K, CS, 2 E. He’s got just 3 hits in his last 21 PAs with a strikeout rate crossing 30%. Something’s gotta give – either his .316 average or his 31% K-rate. But with an 18% swinging strike rate and a 64% contact rate, I’m inclined to think it’s going to be the average. He’s also made four errors over the last month which shows that he’s in the majors for his bat, not his glove.

Shohei Ohtani (DH, Los Angeles Angels) — 0-for-3, BB, CS. Ohtani has such ridiculous plate discipline that even when he’s hitting .214 over his last 35 PAs, he’s still got a .371 OBP. Yes, he got caught stealing in this one but it was just the second time in 11 attempts this year he’s been caught. Scott Chu was right – in ESPN leagues, he could be an eight-to-nine category contributor next year in leagues that keep him as one player. Stupid Yahoo.

Mike Trout (OF, Los Angeles Angels) — 2-for-4, R, 2B, HR, RBI. He’s not hitting .300, what a loser. But he’s got 36 HRs now in 468 PAs, so he’s on pace to go well past 50. He’s kinda good.

J.D. Martinez (OF, Boston Red Sox) — 1-for-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. Since June 26, he’s slashing .320/.381/.598 with 8 HRs in 135 PAs. It seems like he’s woken up with the Red Sox lineup. Reports of his death were greatly exaggerated.

Joey Votto (1B, Cincinnati Reds) — 2-for-3, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, SB. Even in his best stretch of the season, from June 28 to now, he’s hitting just .286 with an 8.4% walk rate, and a .420 slugging. Scott was right, he’s just not really fantasy relevant anymore and that’s sad.

Gleyber Torres (SS, New York Yankees) — 1-for-3, R, HR, 4 RBI, BB. I was a huge critic of Torres’ HR rate last season, thinking it was unrealistic for him to hit 24 HRs in 123 games. Well now he’s got 21 in 100 games and making me look silly. His peripherals are all very similar to last year except for a 4% jump in contact rate and a 1.5% drop in swinging strike rate that helps to justify his 3.7% drop in K% and a 1% bump in walk rate. This is the kind of incremental growth you want from young studs.

Ryan McMahon (1B/2B/3B, Colorado Rockies) — 3-for-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. It seems like both he and Garrett Hampson have been disappointments this year, but McMahon is actually hitting .271/.343/.448 with 12 HRs in 341 PAs while cutting his K% under 30% and raising his BB% to 10%. He potential to hit 20 HRs with 150 R+RBI with multi-positional eligibility makes him a sneaky late-round pick in drafts next year.

Aaron Hicks (OF, New York Yankees) — 0-for-4, 3 Ks. One of the big questions coming into the season was where to draft Hicks, who was recovering from injury but had major potential in the upper half of the Yankees’ lineup. He’s batting just .229 but with 12 HRs in 251 PAs. On top of that, he had a sub 20% K-rate for four straight years and now it’s at 28.3%. I just don’t believe he’s fully healthy, but with all the injuries the Yankees have suffered, he’s pushing through.

(Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire)

Dave Cherman

Across the Seams Manager, also a former player and umpire and New York-based lawyer who spends his free time studying advanced statistics and obsessing over fantasy trades. Will debate with you about most anything.

One response to “Batter’s Box: Jedi Master Yordan”

  1. Doug says:

    FYI, ESPN requires 20 games for draft position eligibility. It only takes 10 games in season though. Something to remember re: Yordan.

    Significant pre-season or late off-season back injuries for an everyday player that has to run around every game like a chicken w/ its head cut off (eg. a CF like Hicks) = bad season. I wasn’t touching him at all in drafts this year. Same goes for SP’s (along with lat injuries, they’re just too huge and intrinsic a muscle group, I wasn’t touching Severino,) and significant groin injuries for catchers.

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