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2017 Breakout Candidate: Is Chris Owings On The Verge Of Emerging?

Monday, October 24, 2016 5:26
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by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings has long been on fantasy radars, as a middle infielder with the potential to bring both power and speed. While he had consistently failed to live up to any expectations, that doesn’t mean that the time has come to give up on him either. First let’s look at the numbers from last season:

437 At Bats
.277 Batting Average (121 Hits)
5 Home Runs
49 RBI
52 Runs
21 Stolen Bases
.316 On Base Percentage
.416 Slugging Percentage
.334 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Obviously he showed off some speed and the average was solid, but is there more overall upside for the 25-year old? It would certainly appear so…

In regards to his power, he did have 24 doubles and 11 triples so while the ball wasn’t necessarily leaving the ballpark there is reason to believe. At his age it’s easy to imagine a few of those extra base hits finding their way over the fence, especially with his 5.3% HR/FB. Considering his speed, all it would take is 10-12 HR to really put him on the map. That’s hardly a long shot.

As for his average, he has always hit the ball hard (23.1% line drive rate in 2016, 24.6% for his career). When coupled with his speed, it’s no surprise that he can carry an above average BABIP. He owns a .320 mark overall in the Majors, but there’s no reason to think he can’t replicate last season’s success.

His 18.7% strikeout rate isn’t a hindrance and he actually improved his SwStr% (9.9%). We would like to see him cut down on his swings on pitches outside the strike zone (35.2% O-Swing%), something he showed signs of in the first half (27.9%). If he can maintain that type of mark, the potential in his average goes up significantly.

Prior to the 2014 Prospect 361 ranked him as Arizona’s second best prospect (behind Archie Bradley) as they said the following:

“Owings could be a significant fantasy asset with the ceiling of a 20/20 player at shortstop. While his aggressive approach will hurt his value in on-base percentage leagues, his ability to make solid contact should provide an acceptable batting average of .260-.270.”

While 20 HR may be a stretch, the rest of it clearly still holds true. If he has an opportunity (he played a lot of SS and CF last season, so there’s a good chance Arizona finds a role for him) we are looking at a potential 12/25 type player with a solid average (with the potential for even more than that). That sounds look a good draft day gamble to take.  They key is going to be playing time, so how the Diamondbacks proceed this offseason will be key.

Sources – Fangraphs, Prospect 361


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