Sleepers don’t have to mean they put you to sleep, but in this case…Well…I mean…Yawns…Looks both ways at a red light, briefly dozes off…What were we talking about? Jorge Polanco! Right! Pure excitement! Exclamation mark after exclamation mark! Jorge Polanco came with large question marks prior to last year (in my mind, at least). Here’s what I said about him going into last year, “I know by heart most of the main stats from the main guys within a couple homers and ten to fifteen runs or RBIs. If you asked me Polanco’s home run total prior to writing this blurb, I would’ve started at 10 and went up by one until the audience at The Price is Right would’ve stood up, booing, and left the theater. Then, finally, when I found out he hit 22 homers, I would’ve looked up his stats at three different sites, not believing it. Then, finally, I would’ve said his HR/FB% must’ve been at least 25%, only to find out I was, like a good linens sale, roughly 15% off. Wow, Polanco hits lots of fly balls. I had no idea. That doesn’t bode well for his .295 average. I don’t know how to figure this out, but I bet his season last year was in the top 5% of the statistical anomalous, and I don’t even know what ‘statistical anomalous’ means. I just made it up. I guess what I’m saying if you had a guy who hit 44.4% fly balls and finished in the bottom 5% of exit velocity, it’s statistically impossible for him to have a .295 average. Though, that brings another point up, Polanco makes a good case against Statcast’s “line drives,” which are different than Baseball Info Solutions (which are used by Fangraphs), because Polanco had the 6th most “line drives” from BIS, but finished hideously for exit velocity, according to StatCast. If you hit .295, you have to think BIS’s ‘line drives” are more accurate. Okay, could someone text me their coordinates, because I just went down a massive rabbit hole and got lost.” And that’s me quoting me! What I feared would happen last preseason happened. His 2020 numbers were .258/.304/.354 and he hit four homers and stole four bags. So, why have high hopes for him this year? Or rather…So, what can we expect from Jorge Polanco for 2021 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Kinda want to throw out last year for Jorge Polanco. He was awful. His 2.8% Barrel% couldn’t be much worse. Something peaked my interest though, and after the last 500 words it’s about time we got to it. His Statcast similar batters are: Jose Ramirez, Charlie Blackmon, Christian Vazquez and Francisco Lindor. He had a .300 xBA on fastballs last year, and .289 the year before. Pretty consistent, right? His offspeed and breaking pitch xBAs were .216 and .158 last year after being .311 and .276. His BA on four-seam fastballs last year was .315, but his changeup average went from .312 to .229 year over year, and .270 to .167 on sliders. But behind those numbers are a combined .230 BABIP in a small sample. Runs above average on sliders was -4.24, and it’s usually positive, 1.24 the year before. All of this with a O-Swing% that went down and a Swinging Strike rate that went down. Whoa, who put my melon on a Lazy Susan, because my head is spinning. By the by, why’s it gotta be Lazy Susan? Susans are worker bees. Lazy Bob? Well, okay, you said it… In conclusion, Polanco got unlucky on breaking pitches, or just slumped for a month-plus and never had a chance to come out of it. Polanco is not suddenly a Bob. He had the same Hard Hit% and lowered his strikeouts.

What led me down the Polanco path — the Pathlanco — was the Steamer projections for him: 19 HRs, 9 SBs and a .272 average. A 20/10/.270 line where he’s going currently around 200th overall ADP sounds like a steal. Let’s take the projections of 20/14/.232. That’s Cavan Biggio, who is going in the top 50 overall. Strike “sounds like,” Polanco is a huge steal! Don’t want to believe Steamer’s projections? Good, neither do I in this case! I want to give Polanco more power than 19 homers. He does hit a lot of fly balls, as mentioned in the top ‘graph, and last year his HR/FB% was low for even him. At 27 years old, he’s just coming into his own, and could have a 25-homer season in him. Those nine steals projected by Steamer sound about right, but nine becomes 15 with just a hot month. Did I just say Polanco could be a 25/15/.270 guy? Yes, I did. Could with italics and underlined a few times? Sure, if you must. More likely…For 2021, I’ll give Jorge Polanco projections of 83/23/74/.272/8 in 572 ABs with a chance for more.

 
  1. Ante GALIC says:
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    Grey!!!

    Awesome report!

    a. Polanco so good at #200. Don’t forget he already has the vaunted 80-game PEDs ban under his belt so he should be good for no more PEDs bans at least.

    b. Nothing new on the Western Front, will let you know. Weather here is cloudy, rainy and damp.

    c. MLB quote of the day for December 22, 2020

    1. Matty Alou, born December 22, 1938

    ‘Alou’s career blossomed in 1966 after he was traded to Pittsburgh, where Pirates Manager Harry Walker helped the left-handed-hitting Alou revamp his swing. Alou choked up on a heavier bat and often hit off his front foot, flicking his wrists at pitches and flaring many balls to left field. His unorthodox style wasn’t pretty. Hall of Famer Ted Williams, among the greatest hitters in baseball history, told the Sporting News that Alou ‘violates every hitting principle I ever taught,’ and Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton once called Alou ‘the worst .300 hitter I’ve ever seen.’ But it worked. Alou hit .342 with 18 doubles, nine triples and 86 runs in 1966 and edged out his brother, Felipe, for the batting title.’

    By Mike DiGiovanna in the Los Angeles Times (11/03/2011, ‘Matty Alou dies at 72; one of three baseball-star brothers’, Source)

    2. Steve Carlton, born December 22, 1944

    ‘Carlton was as focused as any pitcher who ever lived. Nothing distracted him. He devoted his undivided attention to the task at hand. ‘Lefty was a craftsman, an artist,’ said another Phillies Hall of Famer, Richie Ashburn. ‘He was a perfectionist. He painted a ballgame. Stroke, stroke, stroke, and when he got through (pitching a game) it was a masterpiece. There was nothing accidental about it. His games were perfectly orchestrated.’

    Author Rich Westcott in Philadelphia’s Top Fifty Baseball Players (University of Nebraska Press, 05/01/2013, Page 207)

    3. Steve Garvey, December 22, 1948

    ‘Steve Garvey is real, a slugging first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers who matches the image of any All-American boy and tosses fear into opposing pitchers and teams.’

    Sportswriter Sid Bordman in The Kansas City Star

    4. Ryan Freel, died December 22, 2012

    ‘I’m going to go out there and play and have fun. I’m looking forward to winning and showing that I’m healthy. I guess that’s my biggest thing. I’m feeling 100 percent right now. I don’t want to be 10-20 years down the road wondering if I would’ve played and got picked up. I know that probably all the guys in this league, their goal is not to be in independent ball all year. You can be put me in that group. I want to get back to the big leagues, and if this is the way I have to do it, that’s what I have to do. I’m going to make the best of it and it sounds like I’m going to be very pleased going out there.’

    Ryan Freel in The Patriot Pulse (Ryan Dunleavy, 04/09/2010, ‘Ryan Freel brings major-league effort, resume to Patriots’, Source)

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • pinkman says:
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      The PED suspension is what has me off him. One more slip-up and he’s out 162, just like Cano this year

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
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        Agree with Pinkman. More likely he gets busted again than not.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          More likely to get busted? What?

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        He’s just gonna have to avoid getting detected — evil laugh

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      A. Yup

      B. How’s the job search?

      C. Ya know, Steve Garvey was on the Razzball podcast

      I had forgotten about Freel, super sad still

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Or anyone

          • Ante GALIC says:
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            Grey!!

            a. The job search continues. No news outside of not getting the TJ job yet. Thanks for your concern. Hopeful for spring or so of ’21. Administration and bureaucracy are super slow.

            b. Thanks for the Steve Garvey interview. Will cherish that one. He was one of my idols growing up.

            c. Sorry for inadvertently destroying your report with the PEDs ban. ‘Member I incorrectly said that a Jorge on the Royals was guilty of PEDs and then you said it wasn’t him it was Polanco. So you knew about the PEDs ban just neglected to mention it. So it’s actually your fault, how’s that for a full 360! J/k, sry man.

            d. Loving The Undoing with Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman. A bit decadent but overall, loving it. My wife and I figured it out 50% of the way through the second episode.

            Cheers,
            Ante

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              A. Ah, gotcha, fingers crossed

              B. I was also a fan

              C. Haha, dah!

              D. I can’t agree, was painful to watch, and the end was awful…But hey we can’t agree on everything

              • Ante GALIC says:
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                Grey!!

                a. Loving the Steve Garvey podcast! Thanks for the share once again.

                b. Yeah, not #1. It has a kind of ‘The Act’ feeling which I watched but it was painful right until the end. So I understand your feelings.

                Cheers,
                Ante

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  A. No problem

                  B. Yup

  2. toolshed says:
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    I saw your post about Hosmer but didn’t reply in time. I get your points and have fallen into the trap before. The would’ve, should’ve could’ve and the If’s just don’t work with Hosmer. I have been down that road before only to curse myself in June for taking him. I am trying to be a voice of reason and provide warning. If he goes late enough, I guess he may be worth a shot as a bench player, but you can’t rely on him as a starting 1b, ci or utility bat. I need more from that spot and would rather have the certainty because he could easily go back to his worm burning ways (muscle memory, etc.). He has been that way for so long and i feel like he has been around forever.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, but he just did have a solid 60 game season, so he needs to repeat vs. discover, which should be easier

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Agree tho, needs to avoid worm killers

        • toolshed says:
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          I think I woukd be more confident of what he did last year was more than 60 games which is akin to a long hit streak in a regular season.

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            He hits a lot of fly balls, that bodes well over a longer season

  3. Powdered Toast Man says:
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    Thanks for the write ups Grey! Getting my baseball/advent calendar ready for the countdown to January Grey- one my favorite seasons. Happy Holidays to you, the cougar, and the Razzball team.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Appreciate it, PTM!

  4. Tom says:
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    Stanozol free Jorge Polanco is good for at least 12 hrs.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Haha, people always trying to steal my happy

  5. Smitty says:
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    Had Polanco in 2019, went 107/22/79/.295 on my way to a championship. Last “season” thought he took a step back and while he could duplicate ’19 just not sure what’s in store for ’21

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Throw out 2020, as we all wish we could do

  6. DonnieB says:
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    Who do you like for next year: Semien,Solak,Polanco or Didi? If Semien, does it matter if I have Olson and Chapman at corners? Thanks!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Semien, yeah, it might matter, would prolly go Solak, they’re all close — depends if/where Didi signs too

  7. Ronald Coyle says:
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    Would you swap Stefan Crichton and Jack Flaherty for Jose Berrios and Tim Anderson. I do have Aaron Nola and Lucas Giolito as well as a moderately priced Javier Baez. I’d still be strong on pitching and up the middle.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I’d want Anderson, but it’s close

  8. goodfold2 says:
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    time for my psychotically early 30 teamer with 40 prospect slots max to pick it’s tagged players. we get 3, one of each and 1 of any type you want.
    franchise tag: you pay the same as real life player is paid
    restricted: teams bid on the restricted FA’s you can match or get a pick(s) if decline, the pick is

    better based on the amount offered. we do a 6 round draft and 5 separate weeks of all the FA bid on then a week 6 to clean up anybody not won yet. then a month of nothing (this crawls up my ass, as that month could’ve been better spent having more prospect info out there during our draft jan-feb). holds, OPS added 6×6. season is roto, then a h2h playoffs in sept.
    C (1)
    CI (2)
    MI (2)
    OF (3)
    util (1)
    SP (3)
    RP (3)
    P (3, tend to want RP’s in here unless you have 4 SP going that day)
    25 active max. tend to want to try anyway to have 6 SP. budgets are 115 million a year, anybody with a contract of over 1 mil per year if cut you have to pay half of it. our draft also starts shortly (jan 2nd) and i am BADLY behind (hockey is also starting at weirdo for hockey time jan 13th so i’m bunching up 2 sports at same time here), getting back catching up where i left off back when football started.

    currently i got 5 prospect slots open and these (some of them can be put down)
    C (1)
    CI (2): j.turner (16.2 2021 ending contract, i do NOT like j.turner, but he was the best OPS CI left at prices even close to this in last year’s bidding, i had c.cron too)
    – e.rios (min rookie .400 till end of 2024 M, have ralph to thank as he always had e.rios higher than consensus)
    MI: a.tejeda (.4 till 2024 M(can be put down)
    OF (3): adell (.4 till end of 2024 M), demerritte (.4 end 2022, can’t be put down), v.reyes (.4 2021, another guy got from ralph)
    SP: yarbrough (.4 2021)
    RP: b.martin (.4 2022)

    options:
    – legs mcneil (i got people banging down the gates on him, figured i’d need to tag, now looking at options, uh yep). (CI/MI/OF real life contract: not exactly sure sounds like around .666 so great price)
    – e.rosario (last year was paid 4.19, if no contract that’s what we pay)
    – antana (CI/OF, .4)
    – sale (that’s twice our super too early tagged players being due too early in 5 years screwed me entirely, j.werth the other, 30 mil, this clearly is a cut at that price, could restrict too though his bid price probably won’t be crazy high coming off TJ)
    – pab lop: (good candidate for restricted or his real life price is .555)
    – lindblom (3.625 or less at 2.75, i can find the 2020 and 2022 prices but not 2021)
    – t.duffey (2.2)
    – kela (FA so not determined yet, if you franchise a guy without a contract you pay the last year price, 3.725)
    other options are far shittier. some guys were cut already from injuries clogging up my DL slots (c.cron in season)

    • goodfold2 says:
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      have barreto at .4 too (can’t be put down). didn’t list the not up prospects yet but have some here that might be up this year and maybe useful: paredes (was up and down for me last year), w.craig, trammell, fraley, kirilloff, c.hernandez (KC), w.crowe, j.guzman, sherfy, c.rodriguez (LAA)

      • goodfold2 says:
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        scratch sale above, i DO already have him till 2022 end at 22 mil per (when you match a restricted bid you have to match the term too, forgot that), better than 30 though, and honestly he might’ve gone at 18-25 in bidding anyway, def that much before TJ if not a bit higher (kershaw is making more than 30 here). so 3 besides sale. could cut sale and have to pay 11 mil per year twice or 22 mil once this year.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      McNeil, Pab-Lo, Rosario, I guess, but would like to see him on a team first

      • goodfold2 says:
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        one of the joys (not) of a league doing this shit this much early. mcneil is the easy franchise since he’s cheap in real life and would probably get bid up here, gotta restrict one or both of the other 2. pab lop obv is a cheap 2nd franchise as he’d be far cheaper if i’m paying the real life price. might even get lucky on e.rosario’s bid price SINCE he has no team currently.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Hopefully Rosario signs somewhere, right now I’m not sure anyone’s signing anywhere

          • goodfold2 says:
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            yeah these players even in normal financial conditions have no idea what the teams are and aren’t willing to pay (plus they for some reason clearly listen to their agents on how much they can get); now these teams actually are making far less money for almost a year. we’ll certainly see a record number of good players attempt to hold out for what they think they’ll get or deserve to get and simply not be signed at all (like puig, but it’ll be dozens of those unless they wake up. puig obv finally DID wake up last year but by then he had corona (and might’ve just been out of shape anyway) and it was far too late in season for anybody to want to pay what he wanted even late); hopefully this isn’t e.rosario. he might cost so little in bids that i won’t mind this though if i restrict.

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