by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Every season there are players who seemingly come out of nowhere and potentially change a fantasy season. The question facing owners in the offseason is how real are they? Can they follow up the production with another viable season or are they going to disappear from viability? One example of such a player was the Brewers’ Hernan Perez, who certainly emerged as a difference maker in 2016 considering he was acquired at virtually no cost:
404 At Bats
.272 Batting Average (110 Hits)
13 Home Runs
34 Stolen Bases
.303 On Base Percentage
.428 Slugging Percentage
.322 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Obviously the biggest number is the stolen bases, something that no one would’ve likely predicted. It’s not like he was a speedster in the minors, with 114 SB over 751 games (about one every 6.5 games). Prior to the 2015 season Minor League Ball described him as someone who:
“Lacks power but has some speed, very solid defensive player up the middle, could be fine reserve infielder although additional offensive growth could move him beyond that.”
Would anyone have thought “some speed” would translate into this type of stolen base explosion? It’s impossible to expect him to come reasonably close to this type of total once again. The upside here gets even cloudier when we look at the rest of his numbers.
As that quote noted the power isn’t impressive, and his plate discipline is abysmal:
It’s easy to imagine his strikeout rate (21.9%) rising, and he certainly doesn’t draw enough walks (4.2%). Throw in a mediocre 20.4% line drive rate, and his average potential (as well as his OBP upside) seems to be below average. For a player whose value appears to be tied to his stolen base total, that’s not a good thing as you need to get on base to capitalize.
Could Perez conceivably be a productive option once again in 2017? Sure, but it doesn’t seem likely. Fantasy owners would be wise to target other potential sources of speed (and overall appeal).
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Minor League Ball