Despite posting a 20-20 season as recently as 2013, last season left just about every Shin-soo Choo owner more than a little disappointed. We saw his strikeout rate jump six percent and as a result he was sat down on strikes in nearly a quarter of his plate appearances. Choo’s isolated slugging plummeted over 40 points, his home run total was nearly cut in half and he nabbed just three steals in seven attempts. Let’s just say 2014 wasn’t a banner year for Choo. The Rangers brought about an early  (and some may say merciful) ending to his year as he was shut down in late August due to bone spurs in his left elbow. Beyond the somewhat explainable platoon woes — Choo has never really hit southpaws very well — the biggest issue has been his batted ball distribution. After a slow start this year, Choo has rebounded somewhat, and a large reason why is that he has gone back to hitting for power to the pull field. Observe the table below, showing his power numbers for the past four seasons when pulling the ball.

 Year HR/FB FB% SLG ISO wRC+
2012 50.0% 9.9% .525 .219 126
2013 57.1% 9.8% .455 .210 87
2014 37.5% 6.3% .346 .110 54
2015 57.1% 13.5% .573 .291 128

The biggest outlier is clearly the power numbers last season. For what it’s worth, Choo has been awesome the opposite way and up the middle during the same time span. While we lack specific batted ball distance splits, Baseball Heat Maps shows from 2012-15, Choo’s fly ball distance per season were 285 feet, 286 feet, 291 feet and 302 this season. No real issue there either.

Choo currently owns a modest (read: not great) .279 BABIP, 30 points below last year’s number and nearly 60 points below his career average rate. I don’t think he’s going to post a .340 BABIP again given he’s in his age-32 season, and he turns 33 in less than a week, but a low-.300’s BABIP seems likely going forward due to the fact he’s at least not hitting weak dribblers. Working within the 2012-present timetable, Choo has had a lower than league average soft contact rate every season.

 Year Soft% Medium% Hard%
Choo 2012 8.0 % 61.9 % 30.1 %
League 2012 15.4 % 55.8 % 28.9 %
Choo 2013 10.0 % 59.6 % 30.4 %
League 2013 14.9 % 54.3 % 30.9 %
Choo 2014 12.8 % 50.6 % 36.6 %
League 2014 17.9 % 52.6 % 29.5 %
Choo 2015 13.2 % 55.2 % 31.6 %
League 2015 18.2 % 53.0 % 28.9 %

I am a bit concerned at some of his swing profile information, particularly how Choo is chasing 27.2 percent of the time out of the strikezone and his 72.9 percent contact rate both represent his worst numbers since 2006. His speed is clearly on the decline as well, given Choo has attempted just one steal and was thrown out in the process. Even without the speed, plus the need to sit him against left-handed pitchers, I’m buying into this mini-bounce back from Choo. He’s already at 11 dingers and seems likely to post a 20-home run season once again. Choo still has the best value in on-base percentage or points leagues, but even in standard 5×5 formats he should be owned in all but 10-team mixed leagues. Probably as a hangover from last year and his iffy start this season, Choo is owned in less than 60 percent of both Yahoo! and ESPN leagues. If you’re looking for a bit of power and some OBP, in this case, beggars can be Choo-sers.

 

 

 
  1. Fister Furbush says:
    (link)

    Would you trade Brantley and Garret Richards
    For
    Jose Bautista and Montgomery?

    Points league….
    My OF is-
    A.Jones
    Cespedes
    Brantley
    Ellsbury

    My SP is
    Price
    Harvey
    DeGrom
    Lester
    Samardizja
    Syndegaard
    McCullers
    Richards

    At this point I feel like I can risk trading for Bautista because of my depth. The only thing that worries me is Richards performing really well in the second half.

    What would you do?

    • Davidwiers

      Davidwiers says:
      (link)

      @Fister Furbush: I wouldn’t do it. I love Bautista, but I’m not sold on Montgomery. His .221 BABIP and 86.6 percent strand rate won’t last forever.

      • RUNNING THROUGH THE 6 WITH MY WOEZ says:
        (link)

        @Davidwiers:

        Thanks man

    • TheOne says:
      (link)

      @Fister Furbush:

      Didnt even mention the article smh which is the least you can do if you’re going to try to use the man as you free fantasy advisor.

      And no I wouldn’t do that trade.

  2. seth says:
    (link)

    i have Choo in a 9-team 5×5 league (OBP instead of AVG). in a vacuum (i.e. my backup OF spot) should i drop him for someone on the waivers right now? options include Alex Gordon, Josh Harrison, Brandon Moss, Granderson, Markakis….? my other OFs currently are Harper, Yelich, Springer (DL), Belt, Zobrist. thanks…

    • Davidwiers

      Davidwiers says:
      (link)

      @seth: Maybe Moss if you need the HR. Harrison is going to miss six weeks, so no dice there. Granderson’s home runs may be solo shots given the Mets poor lineup and Markakis’ power has dried up. Gordon could work as he has the better spot in the lineup, so he or Moss would be defensible.

  3. Dawgs7 says:
    (link)

    Thoughts on this trade (5X5 H2H)…

    Kuechel, Puig, and Wong for Arenado and Dee Gordon?

    • Davidwiers

      Davidwiers says:
      (link)

      @Dawgs7: I’ll take the two hitters by a fair margin.

    • Davidwiers

      Davidwiers says:
      (link)

      @Dawgs7: D’oh, premature ENTER button there.

      I like Arenado and Gordon side more by a fair margin because I’m not sold on Wong being a .280 hitter with this much power RoS and Keuchel has been fortunate in the BABIP department, despite the amazingly high GB%.

      FWIW, I don’t see Gordon posting a .340 AVG either, but I like Arenado + Gordon enough that I wouldn’t give them up. You’re losing the most speed, power and AVG to buy high on a pitcher.

  4. e says:
    (link)

    Need some help – what would you do with this roster? My outfield is getting crowded. 12 team, H2H, R, HR, RBI, SB, TB, AVG, OBP are the hitting categories

    C – Lucroy
    1B- Jose Abreu
    2B – Joe Panik
    3B – Josh Donaldson
    SS – Justin Turner
    OF – Josh Reddick
    OF – Kevin Pillar
    OF – Cameron Maybin
    UTIL – Lucas Duda
    BN – Shin Soo Choo
    BN – DJ Lemahieu
    DL – Nori Aoki
    DL – Hunter Pence
    DL – Jayson Werth

    • Davidwiers

      Davidwiers says:
      (link)

      @e: I’d roll with @e: I’d platoon Reddick and Choo together. Pence is probably a full time guy when he gets back, and I would drop Maybin for him. Maybin has speed and is posting a good average, but it’s on the back of a .348 BABIP. Given how low his Hard% is, I don’t see Maybin sustaining this level for long.

      If forced I’d take Werth of Aoki as Werth has at least shown power in the past.

  5. Alex says:
    (link)

    Hello DW:
    I need to add an OF for Springer. My options are Carlos Gonzalez or Alex Gordon. What are your thoughts?
    Thanks much!

    • Davidwiers

      Davidwiers says:
      (link)

      @Alex: I’d roll with Gordon. They project similarly RoS and Gordon comes with a much lower health risk.

      • Alex says:
        (link)

        @Davidwiers:

        DW: with Gordon now probably heading to DL, should I pick up C Gonzalez? Just noticed in my league as of this morning, Kemp, M Cabrera, H Pence, B Belt, and B Moss are available. Your thoughts? Thanks.

        • Davidwiers

          Davidwiers says:
          (link)

          @Alex: Go CarGo or Moss, but I leaning towards CarGo.

  6. Andre says:
    (link)

    Davidwiers. Great write up.….trade question for you.

    10 team, H2H categories, keeper league, keep 5 players forever……Counting stats are H, HR, RBI, Avg, Steals, R, and BB…..W, L, ERA, Whip, QS, Saves, and Ks

    Coming off a title last year, this year I’m scraping the bottom. It’s about time to set it up for next year and I have a pretty decent keeper base so far with Kershaw, Springer, Donaldson, and Correa. I was offered this trade:

    My Freeman, Harvey, and 10th round pick
    For
    His Carlos Gomez, Tehran, 2nd round and 8th round pick.

    My fifth keeper would have been between Freeman and Harvey so this at least answers that question. However prior to Freeman’s injury, he was playing at an All Star level while Gomez has been hurt/struggling. Also, the fact that Freeman is only 26 while Gomez is 29 going to be 30…so that factors in as well. The most I can probably get out of this owner is C. Rodon thrown in on his side….I’m also trying to see if I can swap out Gomez for Betts. Assuming the trade comes down to either Gomez with the possible addition of Rodon. Do you pull the trigger here? Would Gomez be a good bet to be worth a keeper spot for say, 3 more years? Thanks!

    • Davidwiers

      Davidwiers says:
      (link)

      @Andre: I’m not a fan of Gomez long term. His ISO is on a three year decline and so is his HR/FB rate. He’s never had a great BB/K ratio and this year his 42.2 percent O-swing% tells (which is a career worst) tells me he’s chasing out of the zone even more.

      I’d avoid him and keep Freeman/Harvey and your pick.

  7. Stantonovation says:
    (link)

    Drop hunter for Choo?

    • Davidwiers

      Davidwiers says:
      (link)

      @Stantonovation: In OBP or Points yes, but not in standard 5×5.

      • stantonovation says:
        (link)

        @Davidwiers:

        it’s standard with OBP and XBH as additional categories
        (Also QS as a category)

        Choo just got dropped, deciding if the switch is worth a move (5 per week)

Comments are closed.