Christian Villanueva made his debut last season and clubbed four home runs in 32 plate appearances. Can I get an amen? They came with a 31.3% strikeout rate and 0.0% walk rate, though. Only God is perfect. So, with that knowledge, many took solace in knowing they had a strong Christian and….Their faith was rewarded, as he smashed three home runs in his second game to start the 2018 campaign. Coincidence that Passover was March 30th to April 7th this season? Fine, don’t answer that, you party pooper. Let me enjoy my Ancient Aliens show in peace. For the non-believers and infidels, the plate discipline numbers and limited track record had them dancing to Milli Vanilli tunes. Sorry, tune. But then, he had an 11-game hitting streak in which he homered in three straight games and amassed a total of five home runs. Now, he’s mired in a 10-game bagel streak, in which he’s walked twice and struck out 13 times. Will this Christian be saved?

Streaks are a part of baseball. Some players are prone to them more than others. Even Barry Bonds was, although his was more about how many strikes he would see in an at-bat. Villanueva is at the bad end of the spectrum when it comes to streaks. For starters, he’s a fly ball hitter (51.9%), so the ball is either in the stands or ends up being caught for an out. Secondly, he’s a pull hitter (55.8%), which makes defensive shifts more effective. Thirdly, his righty/lefty splits are massive. .368 average and .658 ISO against lefties and .156 average and .091 ISO against righties. Finally, the plate discipline numbers would require at least 10 Hail Marys from a priest after confession. 15.8% swinging strike rate, 70.8% overall contact rate, and 37.7% chase rate. That would put him 6th-worst for swinging strike rate, 17th-worst for overall contact rate, and 23rd-worst for chase rate. Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee….

Not all is lost, though. One of my favoritie games growing up was Kung-Fu Master. Essentially, you had to karate chop and kick your way through each floor. One could only climb the stairs to the next level by beating the Boss. Well, in MLB, hitters are first challenged with heat. If they pass that test, then the real business starts: offspeed and breaking pitches. According to Brooks Baseball, pitchers were challenging Villanueva in Spring Training with heat 71.43% of the time. By the time mid-April rolled around, that number dropped down to 60.98%. As of now, he’s seeing 53.27%. Correspondingly, the breaking ball percentage has gone from 14.29 to 29.77 to 36.45. So, why does that instill hope? Well, because Villanueva hasn’t failed at adjusting, at least not yet. Comforting, I know.

Man, I wish Villanueva displayed some of that 32 stolen base speed he showed back in Single-A (2011). I would have some interest then. Unfortunately, even if he does make adjustments to the adjustments, I’m not crazy about the profile. Doesn’t make great contact and chases too many balls out of the zone. Plus, it’s easy to position the defense against him. In many ways, he’s Joey Gallo-lite. Literally. Half a foot shorter and 25 pounds lighter. In addition, he plays in a worse park and division.

VERDICT

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Mark
Mark
4 years ago

INteresting case here. I need to know his minors split to determine the righty/left splits.

A 35 ab hitless stream was concerning. Maybe he is prone to the Gallo hot/cold streak.

He has become very strikeout prone in the majors, but the minors looked pretty normal.

I think this is a wait and see…and as you say, he’s adjusting for the following;

He had a small sample last year and he hit them evenly.

What I know for sure is he’s a power hitter who hits flyballs.

I think he’s a .250 hitter to .260 from everything I have read.

But, he DOESN’T like to walk.

The split this year is alarming….it could just be he went into a slump and the numbers are skewed and will self correct…

After more time, I think the upside and the power is worth investing in unless someone has something more concret about his minors splits imo. He looks to be a solid 30 plus homer guy with a .250 average as of now….all very valuable, especially at 3rd.

I hope you do Travis Janokowski next….he re-tooled his swing…but I need an expert to judge his bull-ness.

Son
Son
Reply to  Mark
4 years ago

@Mark: Well put. The sample size has been small.

I’ll write up Janokowski next week.

Lovedarooks
Lovedarooks
4 years ago

Hanson Jankowski or J Aguilar ROS in a 5×5 OBP till Pollack is back?
In first in RBI by 50 now in an 11team NL only

Son
Son
Reply to  Lovedarooks
4 years ago

@Lovedarooks: Aguilar

angels above
angels above
4 years ago

in a 10 team al/nl weekly h2h points league would you rather own andrew heaney or t skaggs ROS thx !!!

Son
Son
Reply to  angels above
4 years ago

@angels above: Heaney

Angels above
Angels above
Reply to  Son
4 years ago

@Son: that’s what I kinda thought. What about j Flaherty over Heaney ? I had to put c mart on the DL … I keep getting told to drop Tyson Ross but knock on wood he has been consistent in my league and I have 3 guts on the DL with only my starters and 2 bench guys left who are pitchers. So I’m so thin I can’t wsit on talent to come around like I am now sitting on tallion n berrios.

Clay
Clay
4 years ago

I’m not offended, but do find it disappointing that Christianity continues to be casually attacked where similar sarcasm against other religions /beliefs would be met with hostility, which would be responded to with apologies and retractions. Lazy writing, too easy. You’re better than this razzball and Son

Son
Son
Reply to  Clay
4 years ago

@Clay: Well, I’m offended. At least you could have read the piece before writing your response. Could you point out where Christianity was casually attacked? Thanks

Ryan
Ryan
4 years ago

I have a glut of mid tier outfielders, I get darvish and happ(who I would drop), I give Teheran and Dickerson
Would you do it

Son
Son
Reply to  Ryan
4 years ago

@Ryan: Yes.

For all trade questions, I highly recommend using the Razzball Trade Analyzer

Mike
Mike
4 years ago

Drop villaneuva for Eduardo Escobar?

Son
Son
Reply to  Mike
4 years ago

@Mike: Yes

Chucky
Chucky
4 years ago

Ok with dropping Candelario for CV?

Son
Son
Reply to  Chucky
4 years ago

@Chucky: Sure

FF8007
FF8007
4 years ago

Been offered my Hoskins for Goldy

Which side ROS (keeper root league)

Son
Son
Reply to  FF8007
4 years ago

@FF8007: Hoskins

Ryan
Ryan
Reply to  FF8007
4 years ago

@FF8007: side getting goldy

chris
chris
4 years ago

Hey Son,

Trade Corbin for Odbel Herrera?

Thoughts?

Thanks

Son
Son
Reply to  chris
4 years ago

@chris: Without any context, I’d rather have Corbin. ODB is a good player, but that .400 BABIP portends for some regression

Rudy Gamble
Reply to  Son
4 years ago

i’d prefer ODB. best receiver in Giants history. bad enough that Tomlinson steals LT…but at least he was an HOFer.

Son
Son
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
4 years ago

@Rudy Gamble: Ooh baby, I like it rrraaawww!

You’re right. There is only one LT and one ODB.

Wallpaper Paterson
Wallpaper Paterson
Reply to  Son
4 years ago

@Son: @Son: @Son: Beckham is sometimes referred to as OBJ by the NY media. Never ODB.

Some dolts on the internet refer to him as ODB. Just like some refer to Mike Trout at MIT and some refer to Ryan Braun as RYB and some refer to Joey Votto as JOV and some refer to Bryce Harper as BRH and some refer to Matt Harvey as MAH and some refer to Aaron Judge as AAJ and on and on. See, it is popular with the kids these days to take the first two letters of someone’s first name and then take the first letter of the surname and you have yourself three letters and a new nickname that the person and his idiot internet brethren can use to refer to the players.

Son
Son
Reply to  Wallpaper Paterson
4 years ago

@Wallpaper Paterson: OBJ is the prevalent nickname, but I have seen/heard ODB from the media. With Beckham, though, I don’t think it’s always a use of the letters in his name. A tribute to Old Dirty and how nasty he’s on the field.

Wallpaper Paterson
Wallpaper Paterson
Reply to  Son
4 years ago

@Son: I never saw ODB said on TV or in print.

Wallpaper Paterson
Wallpaper Paterson
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
4 years ago

@Rudy Gamble: Tomlinson stole nothing. His initials are LT. Ditto Lawrence Taylor’s. “LT” is not really a nickname.

Son
Son
Reply to  Wallpaper Paterson
4 years ago

@Wallpaper Paterson: LT didn’t give himself the nickname, so he didn’t steal anything. It’s just what people started calling him but…..Taylor was the OG to be called LT.

Dan
Dan
4 years ago

Drop. Villanueva for colin moran ? Also a trade opinion…trade ozuna for dozier or stand pat ? My other 2b is odor.

Son
Son
Reply to  Dan
4 years ago

@Dan: Depends on team and what you want. CV for power and upside. Moran for average and floor.

In a vacuum, I’m good with Ozuna for Dozier