MLB Offseason Report: Narvaez, Bundy, and Marlins Moves
Greg Jewett breaks down the recent movement of Omar Narvaez, Dylan Bundy, Jonathan Villar, and Jesus Aguilar and what it means from a fantasy perspective
Baseball’s hot stove continues to churn with trades and waiver claims. Milwaukee addressed its need at catcher dealing for Omar Narváez from Seattle. Baltimore traded fantasy tease Dylan Bundy to the Angels, Miami claimed both Jonathan Villar and Jesús Aguilar from waivers to bolster their lineup as well. With so much to unwrap, here’s the fantasy impact from each move.
Narvaez to Milwaukee
With catcher setting up to be a dearth to fantasy owners, Omar Narváez heading to hitter friendly Miller Park will make him a popular pick in upcoming drafts:
#Brewers acquire Omar Narváez today from Seattle. His .373 OBP, .516 SLG and .889 OPS as a catcher all led the American League and ranked second in the Major Leagues in 2019. His 22 HR as a catcher ranked fourth in the AL and seventh in the majors.— Mike Vassallo (@MikeVassallo13) December 5, 2019
Over 132 games last year, Narvaez slashed .278/.353/.460 with 63 runs, 22 home runs and 55 RBI. His 26.3 line drive percentage fueled his average, but fantasy players will hope his power benefits from this move. Here’s his line drive and fly ball spray chart from the last three years with Miller Park as the backdrop:
Perusing Statcast data, Narvaez owned a .254 expected average with 18 barrels among his 339 batted ball events. So this move to Milwaukee could depress any pending regression to the mean. Key on Narvaez’s .277/.362/.419 slash the last three years and pay for 15 home runs with the knowledge he traded ground ball percentage for fly balls last year. If Narvaez accrues enough at-bats, he could repeat his 20-plus home run season knowing Miller Park favors left-handed hitters.
Bundy heads to LA
No, this will not be a revival for Al Bundy in a new show on Netflix, but the move could benefit Dylan Bundy as a pitcher. He leaves the hitter friendly Camden Yards and could benefit from a fresh start out West. Bundy only won seven of his 21 decisions in 2019 with 162 strikeouts against 58 walks in 161.2 innings of work. His 4.79 ERA, 4.58 xFIP and 1.35 WHIP need to improve if Bundy’s going to be fantasy relevant outside of league only formats or deep roster leagues.
Hope lies in Bundy’s ground ball rate rising by 7.5 percent last season while reducing fly balls by over eight percent. For the reader’s knowledge, Fool in the Rain by Led Zeppelin popped on during my research of Bundy, so not sure what this means, but if he can make some simple adjustments in his pitch usage a bounceback could happen.
First, here’s all of Bundy’s pitches from last season in pitch plot form:
Now, check out his swinging strikes by pitch:
Like many major league pitchers, Bundy could benefit from throwing more elevated fastballs along with increased usage of his slider and curve. If this happens or gets reported in Spring Training, his stock could rise. Pay attention.
Marlins claim Villar and Aguilar
Milwaukee’s not moving its franchise to Miami, but the Marlins claimed two former Brewers to boost their lineup. Jonathan Villar priced himself out of Baltimore’s rebuild and lands in a different one in a warmer climate. Villar scored 111 runs with 24 home runs, 73 RBI and 40 stolen bases while hitting .274/.339/.453 for the Orioles. Even with the fences being moved in at Miami’s park, Villar should see his home run total drop in 2020. However, hitting atop the lineup, Villar should get the green light to steal as much as he wishes to create runs for the Marlins lineup. First, here’s his spray chart from the last three years with Miami as the background:
Steamer projects Villar for a .257/.327/.407 slash with 75 runs, 17 home runs, 64 RBI and 32 steals. Miami’s leadoff hitters last year accrued 95 runs and 61 RBI in 675 at-bats, so plan on around 90 runs and 55-to-59 RBI for Villar with a chance to exceed 60 but the 32 stolen bases feel right. In most drafts, Villar will be a popular target for teams looking for steals which continue to be a scarce commodity.
Jesús Aguilar could not build on his 2018 breakout despite improving his contact percentage, swinging strike rate and reducing his O-Swing percent (swings and misses at pitches outside the strike zone). Aguilar hit 12 home runs in 314 at-bats last season driving in 50 with a paltry .236/.325/.389 slash line. Currently slated to hit fifth, Aguilar could benefit from a clear path to playing time. Here’s his spray chart from the last three years with Miami as the backdrop:
Steamer projects Aguilar for 409 at-bats, 54 runs, 20 home runs and 60 RBI with a .242/.325/.441slash. It remains to be seen if Aguilar can recover his numbers towards his three year slash of .261/.339/.487 buoyed by his 2018 outlier season. Metrics suggest he could bounce back, time will tell. Aguilar needs to improve against fastballs if he can return to fantasy relevance.
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