Ozuna and Outcomes

Your daily recap of all of yesterday's most interesting hitters.

Depending on who you ask, Marcell Ozuna is either one of the most exciting players in baseball or represents everything wrong with the game. This has nothing to do with Ozuna personally, but rather his style of play. Ozuna is what the baseball analytics community refers to as a “three-true-outcome” player. The term was coined in the 1990s in order to measure players based on their ability to achieve one of the three true outcomes of an at-bat. A true outcome is an event that does not require the seven fielders behind the pitcher and catcher. These three outcomes are the walk, the home run, and the strikeout. One side of the argument holds that the three true outcomes are good for the game because of increased power numbers and strategic benefit (i.e. double play avoidance). Detractors believe that increased strikeout numbers and fewer balls in play lead to a watered-down product that is less enjoyable to watch.

Throughout 26 games Ozuna is second on his team in both walks and strikeouts and leads the team in home runs. His 27% strikeout rate would be cause for concern, but it is balanced by a 15% walk rate, both of which are career highs for him. In addition to his strikeout and walk numbers, Ozuna has also been bringing a bigger stick to the plate. The man is rocking an average exit velocity of 92.1 mph, an average launch angle of 16.9 degrees, and a hard-hit rate of 51.7%, all of which are career bests. Everything was working in sync for him last night, as he hit two towering blasts that traveled more than 430 feet.

The debate over whether focusing on the three true outcomes is good for the game or not is a thought-provoking one, but ultimately meaningless. The game of baseball has been constantly evolving since the birth of the sport, and this tool serves as one way to maximize the potential of players. One of the great things about baseball is that there are so many different ways to be productive and at times a 15-foot bunt can serve the same purpose of a 450 foot home run.

Bryan Reynolds (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates)—3-4, HR, 3B, 3 R, 4 RBI. Reynolds has struggled a bit in his second full major league season and needed all three hits last night to move his batting average north of .200. Last night’s game was an important win for the Pirates, and there is no better confidence boost for a young player than going deep and hitting a triple in the same game. Many of Reynolds’ underlying numbers are similar to last season’s, which raises questions about why Reynolds has been hitting so poorly. The answers to those questions could be found in his strikeout rate. A 26 game sample size is unfair to compare to a whole season but up to this point Reynolds’ strikeout rate is up 10% from last year, and his whiff rate is up 5%. Reynolds has a chance to be a useful stash but needs to cut down on the Ks before he is considered for any fantasy lineup.

Travis d’Arnaud (C, Atlanta Braves)—3-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. In this house, we stan catchers who rake. It is always nice to see the big guys among the daily batting leaders, and d’Arnaud got it done last night. Don’t look now, but a three-hit night including a home run has made d’Arnaud the number five catcher in fantasy as of this morning. The key for him has been increasing his line drive rate. In 2019 d’Arnaud had line drive and ground ball rates of 40.4% and 26.5%, respectively. This season his ground ball rate is down to 32.5% and his line drive rate has nearly doubled, all the way up to 47.5%. This may just be a flash in the pan, but we could be seeing a new normal from him.

Jose Abreu (1B, Chicago White Sox)—2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Yesterday’s game was just another day in the office for the White Sox first basemen. Abreu hit two bombs, the second of which traveled over 450 feet. Abreu is hitting the ball harder and more consistently than he ever has before. His average exit velocity is a smoking 93.2 mph and his hard-hit rate is 55.3%, which puts him in the top six percent of the league in that category.

Jonathan Schoop (2B, Detroit Tigers)—4-5, HR, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI. The Tigers shortstop is not a fantasy-relevant player but he sure made a lot of people money in daily leagues last night. Schoop put together a four-hit game and was a three-bagger away from the cycle. While the numbers may not be gaudy, Schoop is quietly putting together a solid year to help Detroit tread water and avoid spiraling into an embarrassing season.

Yandy Diaz (3B, Tampa Bay Rays)—3-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB. Have a night, Yandy Diaz! Tampa Bay dropped a close game in extras but Diaz did everything and more to try and lead his team for a win. The infielder went yard and picked up two singles last night, and also picked up two walks to reach base in all five of his plate appearances. Diaz is a ground ball hitter who makes his money with outstanding plate vision and an ability to put the bat on the ball. Both his strikeout and walk rates rank among the best in the league, and now his power is starting to come around. With home runs in each of his last two games, Diaz is getting hot and could be dangerous down the stretch.

Cavan Biggio (2B, Toronto Blue Jays)—3-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB. Toronto’s budding star continued his hot stretch last night, reaching base every time he stepped to the plate. This three-hit performance was Biggio’s third multi-hit game this week, and he is now the number three ranked second baseman in fantasy. Toronto will begin a key four-game series with Tampa Bay today and proceed to play seven games against Boston and Baltimore after that. With an important series and two soft pitching staffs on the horizon, expect Biggio to keep it up.

Wilmer Flores (2B, San Francisco Giants)—2-3, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB. Flores has put himself squarely on the radar of fantasy owners after the tear he has been on the last few games. In three games since Wednesday, Flores is 7/11 with three home runs and 10 RBI. This is no doubt a fun stretch for fans of the Venezuelan infielder, but in all likelihood, it will be short-lived. Flores has not shown anything over the course of his career that indicates he is capable of playing at this level for a long period of time.


Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire

One response to “Ozuna and Outcomes”

  1. Aaron says:

    5th best catcher my buns. Hes the 2nd best catcher easy

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