Recency bias can be a hell of a drug, and boy is the Randy Arozarena hype through the roof. In 23 games in the regular season, he slashed .281/.382/.641 with seven home runs, 11 RBI and a perfect four-for-four on the base paths. Then, the postseason came and what Arozarena did was comparable to one of Eminem’s lyrics in his song with Joyner Lucas called “Lucky You.”
Eminem says “You could never say to me I’m not a $%#@$% record breaker, I sound like a broken record every time I break a record.” His postseason rap sheet ended with MLB records in hits (29), home runs (ten) and total bases (64), all while hitting an impressive .377 with an asinine .831 slugging percentage. His postseason was impressive and when you combine his regular season and postseason numbers, we come out to the following line:
43 games played, 17 home runs, 25 RBI and four stolen bases
In the regular season, only six players had at least 17 home runs, and they were Luke Voit , José Abreu , Marcell Ozuna , José Ramírez , Fernando Tatis Jr. , and Mike Trout . Only Ramirez and Tatis had at least four stolen bases. It’s really quite impressive, to say the least.
He had some excellent metrics, including a 14 percent barrel rate, and an average exit velocity of 90.3 miles per hour. He absolutely demolished fastballs, to the tune of a 94.4 mph average exit velocity, and all seven of his home runs came against hard stuff. He figures to be above average in the stolen base department, so he gains some fantasy value there as well.
However, over the course of a full season, there are some flaws in Arozarena’s gam-. In 2020, his O-Swing rate of 26.8 percent is pretty good, meaning he stayed in the zone regularly, however, his O-Contact rate of 48.1 percent is atrocious. His contact rate was also at a less than stellar mark. In fact, he would have ranked in the bottom 15 in the league in O-Contact rate, and bottom ten in contact rate overall.
So, yes, there’s some strikeout volatility in his game. His swinging strike rate of 14.9 percent in 2020 puts him in the Jonathan Villar and Austin Riley range, also known as bottom 25 amongst qualified hitters.
Interestingly enough, strikeouts didn’t get him too much in the minors, seeing as he posted a strikeout rate above 20 percent just one time, which was back in 24 games in 2018 at the Double-A level. It’s likely one of the outcomes of being someone who does a good job of not chasing. Sure, when he does chase, he’s probably whiffing, but you can’t whiff if you don’t chase!
For a guy with a ground ball rate of 46.5 percent and 46.6 percent in the regular season and postseason respectively, he enjoyed ridiculous HR/FB marks in 2020. In the regular season, it was 46.7 percent, and he took it up again in the postseason to 52.6 percent. Obviously, that’s not sustainable over the course of a full 162-game season, but perhaps there’s optimism in that department. He hits a ton of line drives, which certainly helps, especially when projecting his batting average.
To his credit, using Baseball Savant, the similar batters to Arozarena are as follows:
Maybe I’m doubting his power potential too much? Perhaps, but when you look at his minor league numbers for his career, he homered 38 times through 1,149 at-bats, good for a mark of one home run every 30.24 at-bats. In the regular season in 2020, it was at 9.14 at-bats, and in the postseason it was 7.7 at-bats.
Let me rephrase this. The power output that he displayed in 2020 is an unrepeatable pace over a full season’s workload. There will be some stretches where he gets hot and leaves the yard with great regularity but projecting him for anything more than 30 round trippers will likely leave you disappointed. Expect him to homer every 22-24 at-bats this season, which across 600 at-bats puts him in the 25-27 home run range. He’s still incredibly young and has just 67 career games at the big league level under his belt. There’s some volatility, especially as pitchers see him more and figure out a more concrete plan on how to pitch to the talented youngster.
Arozarena has recency bias on his side, and his average draft position has remained steady all offseason. He’s going to cost you a fourth-round pick in 15-team formats, but he’s only moving up in drafts. His minimum pick, at the time of writing, is pick 24, and his maximum is at pick 100. However, since the calendar flipped February, here’s what you need to know:
In NFBC drafts, he’s gone within the top 40 picks six times.
In NFBC drafts, he’s made it past the fifth round in 15-team setups five times.
If I had to make a confident guess, the allure of his potential in multiple categories is going to make it very hard for you to draft Arozarena at his current ADP, which is 57.43. He’s going much earlier than that, and there’s some massive volatility, considering that you’re likely making him one of your key offensive pieces.
His streaky power from 2020 and ability on the basepaths is impressive, and he does a great job of staying in the zone. However, even by staying in the zone, his strikeout rate was just under 29 percent, and there’s a path to a 30+ percent strikeout rate in 2021, especially if his contact metrics slip further.
He’s a little too rich for my blood, and there are still growing pains to be had with the 26-year-old outfielder. Despite still being classified as a rookie for the 2021 season, there could be the equivalent to a sophomore slump for him this upcoming season.