Some guys who I label sleepers are about where they’re being drafted vs. where they should be drafted. With Jonathan Villar, I just want to write about him. I don’t really care where he’s being drafted. I’m pretty sure he’s being drafted too low. He definitely is compared to where I think he can perform. Even more so, if you consider where a guy like Adalberto Mondesi is being drafted. I know some of you are turning your nose up at anyone on the Orioles. I kapeesh that, but what if I told you a team had to start a guy 155 games because they’re next best option is Breyvic Valera. Would you say, “Crap, I didn’t know they had Breyvic Valera” or would you say, “You just made up the name Breyvic Valera?” Or would you say, “Breyvic Valera is the mayor of my town in the Ukraine.” How about that Steve Wilkerson, huh? He’s gonna steal time from Villar? No, Steve Wilkerson is not the guy in your office who makes uncomfortably long eye contact with you. He’s some schmohawk the Orioles have on their depth chart. The Orioles’ depth chart is a lot like an eye chart. Everyone who looks at it squints. Villar also has the ability to play all around the field if the Orioles have the terrible misfortune to lose Chris Davis, Renato Nunez or any other schmohawk currently penciled into the lineup. If Villar can stay healthy, he might see 600 ABs. Just thinking of that made my eyes spin rapidly and land on cherries. Anyway, what can we expect from Jonathan Villar for 2019 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
In only 466 ABs last year, he hit 14 homers and stole 35 bases. First off, like the hair on my upper lip, let’s start with his best trait, his steals. He was only caught five times. No one with 30 steals was caught so few times. With 35+ steals, nine times caught by Trea Turner was the closest. Mallex Smith stole 40 bags and was caught 12 times. Billy Hamilton stole 34 bags and caught 10 times. Okay, point belabored enough. You get the drift. Villar is in the royal court of Rajai Davis, the King of SAGNOF. Villar is only 27 years old, and good for at least one more year of 45+ steals. In case you forgot, he stole 62 bases two years ago. Have I mentioned the Orioles will be awful? Yasmany times, I know. Okay, not great for runs and RBIs, but what else is he doing on base if not stealing? When he stole 62 bags, he hit 19 homers. In 403 ABs in 2017, he hit 11 homers. Last year, his 14 homers went on average about as far as Mookie Betts’s homers. Villar doesn’t hit a ton of fly balls, and is more of a 15-homer hitter than a 25-homer hitter, but 15 homers with 45+ steals? Have I not peaked your interest? Wow, you’re tough. How about his batting average? He had a career average of .256 in 2,288 plate appearances. He dropped his K-rate and upped his walk rate last year vs. the previous year and hit .260 last year. Not saying he’s a .300 hitter, but .270 seems very possible. If I may be so bold, if Villar gets 600+ ABs, he will go 17/50 and be a top 25 fantasy producer next year. For 2019, I’ll give Jonathan Villar the projections of 84/16/67/.267/48 in 549 ABs with a chance for much more.