A few days ago, I decided to start my 2018 Fantasy Baseball List. My process this year is about categorizing all players into groups that defines each player’s positive and negative traits, all based on league average stats. In this process, while linking players with similar traits, I found something interesting about Michael Conforto‘s 2017 season.
So, without further ado, here is the process and the math disclaimer:
First, I took all the players who had at least 900 PA between 2015-2017 (Averaging 300 PA per season), and while I evaluated a lot of the stats, the one who I’m talking about right now is Hard Contact %. Then, I found out the league average Hard Contact % of those three seasons altogether. After that, I took all the players who were league average and ran another average to know who were the ones on top. (I wanted to make this benchmarking process as easy as possible). I used the trait ”Ball Murderer” on those players.
After that, I evaluated a lot of other stats, but the focus right now is on FB%, LD%, GB% and wOBA. I took all players with at least 200 PA on both 2016 and 2017, and found out the players who made the biggest changes in each batted ball-type, using a similar process of average as before. For those players, I decided to use the trait ”Substantial Line Drive Increase”, ”Substantial Fly Ball Increase”, ”Substantial Ground Ball Increase” and ”Substantial wOBA Increase”. The same is true for decreasing values.
Then, I decided to see which players had a sustainable ”Substantial wOBA Increase”. What I wanted was to link every positive baseball process that I know that could derive into an increase of wOBA.
So, between all those links, it came the moment to answer a pretty easy question, which was: ‘‘Which players who hit the ball relatively hard on the last three seasons have made a batted ball type adjustment in order to increase their wOBA production”?
With this question, I thought I would get a narrow list of 5 – 10 players whose wOBA Increase would be backed up by this adjustment. To my surprise, I only found one name on it: Michael Conforto.
Conforto had a great season last year. He upgraded his BB%, upgraded his batting line to .279/.384/.555 and had a great .392 wOBA. Also, he became less pull happy and slightly upgraded his Hard Contact %. What most people could point out as a step back was that he lifted the ball less than last year.
While this might be true, Conforto showed an impressive upgrade on his LD%, which is a major factor behind his production upgrade. Going back to the name of this post, he was the only player who has hit the ball hard for the last three seasons (which I call ”Proven Hard Contact%), to upgrade substantially his LD% and wOBA. Another interesting aspect of this analysis is that no player who was tagged with the ”Ball Murderer” trait showed a substantial increase on his FB% and wOBA.
Conforto had a breakout season last year. He was characterized for lifting the ball in his career, and he lifted it less last year. But his great increase on LD% indicates that his results of 2017 were valid, and that he is a great and unique choice for your 2018 fantasy baseball team.