3 Sluggers Who Could Fall Apart in the 2020 MLB Season
Hitting for power can be a fickle thing. Some star sluggers seem to emerge out of nowhere, while others have their impressive power numbers fall off just as quickly. Last year we saw that with players like Justin Upton, Khris Davis, and Joey Votto.
Identifying hitters on track for down years is rather difficult. Injuries are often the culprit, but they are nearly impossible to predict or research before a season begins. Still, there are some warning signs we can look out for, and they pop up as red flags for these three hitters in 2020.
1. Eugenio Suarez, 3B, Cincinnati Reds
Eugenio Suarez was one of the best power hitters in baseball last year, challenging for the NL lead with 49 homers while racking up runs and RBI. It's hard to see Suarez matching this career best performance. His 29% home run-to-fly ball (HR/FB) rate is unsustainable. If the ball plays like it did in the postseason, it'll be hard for him to hit 50 homers again. Suarez was only in the 58th percentile in exit velocity on Statcast, which is above average, but also suggests that he got quite lucky to reach such lofty heights in 2019. Suarez has many good attributes, he plays in a hitters' park and the Reds made lineup additions around him. However, regression back to numbers from previous seasons seems to be inevitable.
2. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs
Although it feels like Anthony Rizzo is still the centerpiece of the Cubs' young core of position players, he will be turning 31 during the season. Rizzo is coming off a very good year in which he hit .293/.405/.520 with a 141 wRC+. However, the underlying numbers for Rizzo are worrying. Rizzo benefited from his best batting average on balls in play (BABIP) since 2016, which buoyed his numbers. He only hit 27 homers last season despite the juiced ball, which doesn't bode well. Even more worrying is that he checked in below the MLB average in both exit velocity and hard-hit percentage on Statcast.
3. Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies
Hoskins hit five fewer homers in 2019 than he did in 2018, despite a league-wide surge in power numbers and the fact that he played more games. His strikeout numbers increased from 22.7% to 24.5%, and he was actually below league average in Statcast's hard-hit percentage. His isolated power (ISO) has fallen in each of his seasons in the majors, bottoming out at .228 in 2019.
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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.