Things couldn’t have gone really any better in 2019 for Chicago’s Yoán Moncada then the statistics say. He hit 25 home runs, stole ten bases and thanks to an astounding .406 BABIP, his .315 batting average was sparkling for the 2019 campaign. However, 2020 was a far different season for Moncada and the regression was real. The cookie didn’t quite crumble his way in 2020, as he hit a measly .225 (.315 BABIP) with six home runs, 28 runs scored and 24 RBI. Oh, he also stole zero bases and didn’t even attempt to run once.
Moncada is a polarizing player in fantasy baseball for 2021, because it’s been a different story each of the past few years for Moncada. In 2018, he was a nice power/speed option who was a liability in the batting average department due to an immense strikeout rate. 2019 was a career year, and clearly an outlier. Then, how much can we take from 2020 considering that Moncada himself admitted just how much the coronavirus affected his body?
His batted ball profile took a significant downturn, and one would figure it would. His barrel rate dropped to 6.2 percent (think Jean Segura -esque) and brace yourselves for this, but his average exit velocity tumbled more than five miles per hour. Yikes. That’s a huge drop, and perhaps if any of his numbers correlate to physical effects from COVID-19, this would be it. A couple miles per hour, sure, but over five!? That’s excessive, and more is in play to explain that, potentially the coronavirus.
While the overall sentiment from the charts above is negative, the one positive you can take away is that the end of the year saw those marks increasing. Hey, be positive!
Well, hey, at least his launch angle was up. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news here, but that is fool’s gold. It wasn’t the necessarily good kind of launch angle increase, as his pop-up rate was through the room. For the sake of proving the point...
His pop-up rate in 2020 was 10.8 percent. His marks in 2018 and 2019 were 6.6 percent and 4.7 percent respectively. Furthermore, the league average is around seven percent.
Less fly balls and line drives at the expense of more pop-ups is far from ideal. Furthermore, he is lofting breaking pitches more, but not hitting them harder.
Whether it was due to complications from the coronavirus or the leg issues that plagued him for most of 2020, Moncada didn’t try to steal a base all season. NOT EVEN ONCE! Not so much the coronavirus, but I believe the leg issues plagued him here. A clean bill of health and improved physical state should bode well for his speed numbers in 2021.
While I do believe that Moncada is better than a .225 hitter, it’s becoming more and more clear that 2019 was a significant outlier for him, at least in his batted ball profile. He’s a career .239 xBA player, and his 2019 xBA was .285. Now, he’s proven to more often than not outproduce his xBA, but unless everything spins towards his favor, it’s hard to see him hitting higher than about .245-.250 this season.
Can Moncada rebound in 2021? At his age and with his potential and skillset, one would hope. He’s proven that he can leave the yard, even when struggling, but to really profit on Moncada in 2021, he needs to run, and get into double-digit steals. Can he do it? I believe he’s going to be somewhere in the 8-11 range, and that’s if everything goes well.
What does 2021 likely look like for Moncada? Something like 25 home runs, eight stolen bases and an average around .240 is possible for Moncada in 2021. He’s in a good lineup, so if he performs, counting stats will be there for him. The floor for Moncada in 2021 is somewhere in the likelihood of 20 home runs, 80 runs scored, 70 RBI and five stolen bases. I’d draft him as such and hope for the better.
He’s moving up in drafts, and I don’t like that. His current ADP is around pick 86, and per NFBC data, he’s fallen as far as pick 114. I don’t like pushing him up past his ADP, because there are too many unknowns and his best year is full out of outliers. If he’s going to be a trendy pick and keep moving up in drafts, 2021 will be a year where I have zero shares of Moncada.