Oh! Yeah! Of course! Willy Adames! That old chestnut from Battlestar Galactica with his pock-marked face and–FRACK! Captain Adames, they’re all Cylons! *cough* Nerd! *cough* Looking through middle infidel sleepers, I almost made this post about Ronny Rodriguez. Wait…WHO? Ronny Rodriguez, y’all! I mean, no dur, right? Then, I almost made this post about Niko Goodrum. Fun fact! If you spray that guy with pineapple juice, you have Niko Gooddaiquiris. Handsomely turns to the mirror, “You and I both deserve the very best, that’s why I put boba in my daiquiris.” *casts fishing pole out* Okay, let’s reel this one back in. I realized quickly I was only saying Niko Goodrum was a sleeper, because I wanted to be able to draft him while swirling an imaginary sifter glass. Okay, hashtag be best, so I went back to the well, and I found Willy Adames and Baby Jessica. Hearing in my head, leave the baby, take the Willy, I found myself here with Adames. Then, as I dug through this tub of butter and magic, I started to wonder how Willy Adames wasn’t more obvious, then I realized if he wasn’t obvious to me, he may not be to other people. Frank Voila! Anyway, what can we expect from Willy Adames for 2019 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
Last year in 288 ABs in the majors, Willy Adames went 10/6/.278. You know how much I hate Mr. Prorater, but he insists that I tell you, “If Willy Adames had a full season, he would’ve went 20/12/.280 with 560 ABs. Also, if you were to send one letter a day to the Pope asking him how much he wants for the Pope-mobile, your annoying letters to the Pope, when stacked, would reach the moon after 27 years.” So, some good information from Mr. Prorater and some unrelated information. Adames is only 23 years old, and will be the Rays’ everyday shortstop because he’s a righty who hits righties and can play defense, so he should be able to get to 560 ABs, but about the rest of those numbers?
Willy Adames had a .378 BABIP (bit high) and .278 average, so that’s high too. Couple that with his 29.4% strikeout rate and he’s lucky he didn’t hit .230. Thankfully, in the minors, he struck out a lot less, and he’s not slow, so the BABIP could be around .320. He swung at only 27% of pitches outside the zone, which would be top third in the league. That’s good. However, he swung at around 70% of pitches thrown inside the strike zone and only connected 81% of the time. That would be bottom five percent in the league. All of this is to say, I don’t think we’re gonna see a .270+ average without a lot of luck. His strikeouts were less in the minors, he’s young and getting better, so he could take a step forward, but, yeah, not that big a step on average. Next up, his power. Adames had a 17% HR/FB, which is high, but he did rope the ball (average homer 406 feet). He needed that high HR/FB% because he didn’t hit many fly balls. Thankfully, he’s always hit more fly balls than that previously. If he can get to 38% fly balls and a 12% HR/FB%, which seems right in his wheelhouse, that’s 17-20 homers easy, and possibly 24 homers. For a random comp, 38% fly ball rate and 12% HR/FB was Asdrubal last year, who hit 23 homers. Finally, the steals. He runs into a lot of outs. He stole six bags last year against 11 attempts. As a stereotypical Italian would say, that’s-a notta-so-good. He’s young, though, and Kevin Cash was raised on caffeine and nicotine and likes to run, so 12 steals feels way within the range of possibilities. So, you’re looking at a 20/12/.260. Hmm, Mr. Prorater wasn’t too far off. But there’s upside in every one of his numbers. 23-25 homers? Yup, maybe. 12-15 steals? Sure, why not! Or Y not, if a 14-year-old is reading. .275? Okay, maybe, prolly not! This is a guy I think you have to take a flyer on for a late MI. Yes, this is like the 6th Rays sleeper post and I wanted to write one about Joey Wendle too. Must be something in the air in Tampa. Maybe it’s the natural scent in the air from the 27 local area Hooters restaurants. For 2019, I’ll give Willy Adames the projections of 61/20/74/.254/12 in 549 ABs with a chance for more.