2020 Underachiever Series Part Four: Victor Robles and Yoan Moncada

To recap the articles so far, I buy Cody Bellinger and Yordan Alvarez as values, sell Keston Hiura, and fall somewhere in the middle with Gleyber Torres and Austin Meadows. Please check out Part One, Part Two, and Part Three of this series as well.

Victor Robles 
Age: 23
2020 Yahoo preseason rank: 62 
2020 final rank: 568
2021 ADP: 155

The former MLB.com #4 overall prospect held risk coming into last year due to batting at the end of the Nationals lineup and having atrocious StatCast numbers in 2019. His 91 wRC+ that year also raised questions about his caliber as a hitter. But in fantasy baseball, mediocre real-life players like Jonathan Villar can be valuable in the right circumstances. Robles’s 2020 value came from stolen base scarcity, his 2019 power mirage (17 HR), and the guarantee of playing time due to his elite defense. Last year, everything tanked, surprisingly even steals (4 in 52 games). Before the year, he bulked up but it slowed him down (95th to 78th percentile sprint speed) and did not improve his batted ball skills. 

Plate Discipline and Batted Ball Stats

In 2020, Robles walked less and struck out more. His K% jumped about five points to 28%; that will not get the job done for a soft hitting speedster. His already poor BB% dropped to 4.8% (bottom 9th percentile). He swung at more first pitches and ended up in a lot of 0-1 counts. He hit fewer ground balls and more line drives, but rarely with authority. If you compare his 2019 and 2020 radial charts, you can see he barely reached the favorable darker green zone marking balls hit hard enough and with a efficacious launch angle.

Conclusion 

When plugged into my z-scores with Steamer projections, Robles ranks 199th overall. His early ADP on NFBC is 155. I tend to stay away from the speed only guys, but no matter how he fares, Robles will not tank your team. He only costs a pick in the double digit rounds.

Yoan Moncada – 3B – Chicago White Sox
Age: 25 
2020 Yahoo preseason rank: 66
2020 final rank: 374
2021 ADP: 89

After hitting around league average in 2017 and 2018, Moncada broke out in 2019 with 25 HR, 10 steals, a 0.315 average, and a 0.915 OPS. Last year, he hit just 0.225, struggled to hit for power, and attemped no steals. Moncada got COVID-19 before the season started and said his body never felt the same the rest of the season.

Plate Discipline and Batted Ball Stats

Unlike other players where our analysis is more speculative, the former #1 overall prospect seems to have an easily identifiable reason for his down season in 2020: COVID-19. His plate discipline numbers actually improved as he saw more pitches and took more walks (7.2% in 2019 to 12.1% in 2020). But he might have taken more pitches because he did not feel right. When he did make contact, he truly seemed sapped of power. While the Statcast stats related to hitting the ball well (Exit Velocity, Hard Hit %, Barrel %) were in the 85th percentile or higher in 2019, they all dropped below the 36th percentile in 2020. 

Conclusion

After his breakout season, Moncada ranked around 66th overall last year. His early ADP is around 89. My Steamer-based z-scores rank him around the 126th overall player as Steamer projects counting statistics similar to 2019 but with a 0.253 average. A BABIP over 0.400 buoyed Moncada’s 0.315 average in 2019 so Steamer appears skeptical he can come near that. Besides average though, Moncada should not be a detriment in the other four main roto stats if no longer suffering from lingering symptoms. As a bonus, he will hit in the middle of the White Sox’s excellent lineup. While I tend to trust projections, Moncada’s upside is obvious. I could see myself taking the chance on him at or just after pick 90.

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