You would think that with one of the host’s of this Guide being nicknamed Jesus, there would be at least one corny reference to it when we discuss Jesus Aguilar. But amazingly (grace), there were none. None, with the exception of this intro. Instead, we detailed just why Jesus Aguilar may be as good as we saw him be in 2018. As obvious as that last statement may sound, repeating isn’t always a cake walk. Aguilar may, nay! Aguilar is as good as we’ve seen him be. Here is some free proof, for just the cost of 5 minutes of your time…

 

Yusei Kikuchi Mitch Haniger Josh James Cedric Mullins
German Marquez Yoan Moncada Patrick Corbin Adalberto Mondesi
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Dozier
Dozier
4 years ago

Yes, you’re right about the fact his monthly splits were useful for fantasy purposes on balance, but that’s not really what I’m talking about. Any concern about his ability to hit off-speed pitching is validated by the underlying stats: he had a .400+ wOBA against four-seam and sinking fastballs (great!) and a >.305 against everything else (bad!) Is performance against pitch type predictive? I’m not smart enough to know, but it suggests a trend, doesn’t it? At a minimum, it’s something to monitor to see how guys are pitching to him.

If pitchers attack him with more breaking stuff, as they appeared to do in the second half, and he doesn’t adjust to it, there is possible regressed performance and cold spells ahead. As someone who owned Aguilar in both Roto and H2H formats last year, his skills played up more in Roto but he was borderline unusable in weekly H2H during his various 2nd half cold streaks.

Dozier
Dozier
4 years ago

Good analysis, guys. I hear you on the Barrel%, xwOBA and all that other good stuff that sold me on Justin Smoak’s breakout from last year. I have similar feelings about Aguilar heading into this year with some trepidation about how he adjusts back to how pitchers will attack him, because he did his damage pretty much exclusively against fastballs.

That said, he’s a guy with an elevated chase rate (as Ralph pointed out) and an overall contact rate of just about 72% (among the 26 guys who hit at least 30 HRs in 2018, this figure puts him in the bottom half of the slugger set).

Aguilar’s groundball rate jumped 11% in the second half as pitchers started attacking with more breaking balls and that concerns me… a lot, actually. Among all off-speed pitches he saw in 2018, his Swinging Strike rate was 14.8% or higher, all the way up to 20.9% against change-ups.