2021 Forecast – Potential HR / FB Rate Hikes, A Review
Today, I continue to revisit my 2021 preseason forecast by moving to my list of potential HR / FB rate increases. I used my xHR / FB rate to identify and discuss a handful of names that posted actual HR / FB rates well below what my equation calculated as a deserved grade. Since 2020 was a short season, there was a lot more of a difference between the xHR / FB rate and the actual HR / FB rate, so there should have been less confidence in both brands given that we had smaller samples to work with.
Let’s see what happened this year.
Potential HR / FB surgeries 2021
Yellow = higher HR / FB rate
Red = lower HR / BF rate
So it’s the rare case that I’m not really ecstatic that six of the eight hitters made increase their HR / FB rates above their 2020 marks. This is because most of them were still well below their 2020 xHR / FB rates (although the metric is not a projection of 2021) and predicting a better 2021 really didn’t require any fancy formulas, as most were pretty obvious.
Jose Trevino probably shouldn’t even have been included on the roster as he only recorded 76 batters in 2020 and only hit 22 fly balls. It’s a small sample, so its HR / FB rate and xHR / FB rate were pretty meaningless. He went straight back to his 2019 HR / FB rate, but it’s not like his 2020 rating is significantly higher. It increased its maxEV to 110.2 MPH this year, so that’s something.
Dude, I really liked Nomar Mazara as a weak buying rebound this year. In fact, 2021 may have been the first year I had an interest in listing it, probably because I felt its price was still factoring in a hike that I hadn’t seen. Coming out of a weak 2020 brought its price down, but I thought it was just a fluke given that its xHR / FB rate was very much in line with its history. Instead, his ISO barely came back above 0.100, his HR / FB didn’t even double, and his wOBA in fact. decreases slightly off his disappointing 2020 mark. Surprisingly, he was released by the Tigers in mid-July and now his future is suddenly on hold. He’s still 26, so I’d be surprised if he didn’t hang on somewhere and maybe he finds himself in the fantasy again at some point.
This HR / FB rate of 30.7% posted at Triple-A in 2019 seems more and more fluky by the season for Ty France. He barely broke his HR / FB rate of 2020, so technically it gave me a “win”, but I expected more from him after believing in the Triple-A breakout. Everything here looks good, but more flying bullets would help, especially if it increases the HR / FB rate significantly. Increases in both could lead to flirting with the 30 home run, which makes for a nice, bold prediction.
I nailed Bo Bichette’s 2021 to the head with these quirky comments:
Injuries limited Bo Bichette last year, but when he was healthy enough to play, you thought his power had regressed to a more lasting level, right? Not so fast. Its xHR / FB rate has actually increased since its debut in 2019, which surprised me as I really didn’t think Bichette had such potency potential. Its 2020 xHR / FB gives me more confidence that a high teenage rate is no accident, but I’m still not ready to project a score in the range of 20%.
He also increased his maxEV to an elite level at 115.5 MPH, so you can no longer question the durability of his power. He was even an elite base thief, slipping 25 bases and getting caught just once. More steps would be nice and a higher% BF could allow him to challenge 40 home runs at his peak. But he’s a near-perfect fantasy player like he is now.
Cesar Hernandez was a nice win for the xHR / FB rate as he observed this increase in power before posting a better career score this year. This was also backed by career records in maxEV and Barrel%, and he made the most of it with a career-high FB%. Of course, he gave up something for the increased potency – BABIP, which fell below 0.313 for the first time to just 0.266. With only a batting average of .232 and his steals completed (he slipped only one), he wasn’t even that valuable despite his best year of power.
One can never be too sure of the rebound potential after a man in his 30s experiences a sharp drop in HR / FB. This is what happened to Justin Turner in 2020 when his HR / FB rate jumped to single digits for the first time since 2013. But the xHR / FB rate thinks nothing has really changed when it comes to underlying skills and of course he’s completely bounced back this season, delivering one of his best fantastic seasons at the age of 36.
We always expected more stolen bases from Manuel Margot, but even at the teen level he had a good mix of power / speed which made him interesting in the deeper leagues. Then in 2020 the potency was gone, but her xHR / FB rate was actually in double digits, suggesting it was just a big stroke of small luck. This year, it has bounced back completely, in line with its historical averages.
Dylan Carlson was one of the most high-profile debuts of the past year, but it didn’t quite go well as he only posted a .264 wOBA. His 12.5% HR / FB rate was fine, but his minor league background suggested he was capable of doing better. No one needed to look at my xHR / FB rate equation to predict that Carlson would increase his HR / FB rate this year in his second season, as most just assume that a well-liked youngster is going to improve on the ratio. at a league average rate the following year. It didn’t happen. Instead, Carlson’s HR / FB rate actually dropped slightly, but an increased FB% and improved strikeout rate allowed him to hit 18 home runs anyway. Since he doesn’t seem interested in stealing bases after scooping a total of 20 in miners in 2019, he’ll need that power to grow for fantasy owners to deal with shallower leagues.