Jon Berti isn’t young. He will be 30 years old in January. So, the first thing I did for my Jon Berti sleeper was look up how many guys stole 25 or more bases at the age of 29 or older last year. Four players. That’s out of a total of 11. Yes, MLB turned the players with 25 or more steals to 11. Those four were Tommy Pham, Starling Marte, Jarrod Dyson and Elvis Andrus. What do these players make you think? Okay, I mean, I love ya, but let’s be real, this is just a way for me to get out what I think. These four players are speed-forward players. At 30 years of age, Lorenzo Cain, Marte and Dee Gordon stole thirty bags in 2018. The year before there was another four players at 30 years of age. 31-year-olds get a little less frequent, but there’s guys there in the last few years too. Players who primarily steal bases still steal (almost stutterer!) in their early 30s. Without a ton of evidence (because I’m too lazy to figure it out), the players who stop stealing at the ages of 29-31 are the ones who are not speed-forward players. Think of Paul Goldschmidt’s 15-20 steal years vs. Rajai Davis’s. Think of Ryan Braun’s 20+ steal years vs. Jarrod Dyson’s. Players who are not speedsters can scrap and eek out 15+ steals until the age of 29. Players who are fast don’t stop being fast until around the age of 32. Therefore, ergo, vis-a-vie, Jon Berti isn’t young, but it doesn’t matter for 2020. So, what can we expect from Jon Berti for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
Jon Berti’s sprint speed (29.8 ft/sec) is elite, essentially same as Billy Hamilton and Adalberto Mondesi. He’s about as fast as Acuña from 1st to 2nd base. If Berti gets 500+ ABs, he’s getting 30 steals pretty easily. You may have noticed most of my sleepers this year provide some speed. It’s important to get steals from everyone on your team, but SAGNOF like Berti isn’t bad either. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I’ve seen a handful of 15-team mock drafts and Berti wasn’t even been drafted. Not just late. I mean that after 420 picks, Jon Berti wasn’t even drafted. Now, I see him going around 175th overall at NFBC, and there’s still value there. 0/0/0/0/30 has value. So, can he be more than that? Last year Mattingly seemed to enjoy hitting Berti leadoff. No idea if that sticks, but even if he hits leadoff for half the year, he’s going to get plenty of runs to make his 30 steals digest a little easier. His .360 BABIP was possibly a tad high last year that produced a .273 average with a 25.4% strikeout rate. His 50+% ground ball rate will need to find some holes — hey now! — but .255 should be doable, and his expected batting average last year was .256. So, 70+/0/0/.255/30. Now for RBIs, um, well, okay, terrible, moving on. So, 70+/0/terrible/.250/30 leaves us with his power to figure out. In 2018, he hit eight homers in Double-A; he hit ten homers between Triple-A and the majors last year. That doesn’t sound like a total zero in power. His 5.5 Launch Angle is goofy low. Yo, Berti, you a flat earther that’s drawing the horizon with your swing? Tommy Pham’s about the only one with a Launch Angle that flat who hits 20 homers, and I’d say he’s more the exception to the rule, and I never really trust his power either. Ten homers feels like an optimistic projection for Berti. Maybe between 10-13 homers if he gets lucky and the ball is juiced again. So, 70+/10/terrible–Actually, I’ll give Jon Berti 2020 projections of 74/10/46/.253/32 in 567 ABs with a chance for more steals. For his price, which is currently zero dollars in some drafts and between 175-225 in other drafts, I’m absolutely grabbing him.