Dan Schwartz

I will skip the clever intro. I will skip the esteem. I will get right into the regression – at least from a HR/FB perspective.

Mike Trout’s HR/FB was 21.6% in 2012. Only 14 players in the MLB with 300+ PA had a better HR/FB ratio than MT:

Thanks to Fangraphs for the ability to customize player profiles & tables

#

Name

AB

ISO

HR

LD%

GB%

FB%

HR/FB

1

Adam Dunn

539

.263

41

22.4

34.0

43.6

29.3

2

Giancarlo Stanton

449

.318

37

22.1

36.2

41.7

28.9

3

Josh Hamilton

562

.292

43

21.3

37.7

41.1

25.6

4

Mike Napoli

352

.241

24

19.2

39.7

41.0

25.5

5

Wilin Rosario

396

.260

28

17.3

46.2

36.5

25.5

6

Chris Davis

515

.231

33

23.2

39.3

37.5

25.2

7

Pedro Alvarez

525

.223

30

18.7

46.8

34.5

25.0

8

Curtis Granderson

596

.260

43

23.0

33.1

44.0

24.2

9

Robinson Cano

627

.238

33

25.6

48.7

25.8

24.1

10

Michael Morse

406

.180

18

20.1

55.3

24.6

23.4

11

Miguel Cabrera

622

.277

44

21.7

42.3

36.0

23.0

12

Justin Maxwell

315

.232

18

16.4

44.3

39.3

22.8

13

Ryan Braun

598

.276

41

18.4

43.6

38.1

22.8

14

Matt Kemp

403

.236

23

21.8

43.2

35.0

21.7

15

Mike Trout

559

.238

30

22.6

44.4

33.0

21.6

16

Chase Headley

604

.212

31

19.5

48.5

32.1

21.4

17

Josh Willingham

519

.264

35

19.0

38.0

43.0

21.2

18

Ike Davis

519

.235

32

21.1

38.9

40.0

21.1

19

Kendrys Morales

484

.194

22

20.5

51.2

28.3

21.0

 

According to Jeff Zimmerman’s Baseball Heatmaps’ Leaderboard, Mike Trout came in at #152 with a 280.56 HR & FB avg. distance.

By comparison, look at the Avg. Distances and Fangraphs Park Factors by handedness for Kendrys Morales, Ike Davis, Josh Willingham and Chase Headley who came in just after Trout from a HR/FB perspective:

Park Factor

Name

Stance

Distance

Angle

.95/.99

Morales Kendry

S

286.34

0.68

.95

Davis Ike*

L

300.32

1.90

.94

Willingham Josh

R

291.48

0.50

.83/.95

Headley Chase

L

304.47

-3.98


*Fences moved in prior to 2012; 2012 Park Factors not yet available on Fangraphs

 

Kendrys Morales was closest but still hit his FB and HR’s approximately 6 ft. further while the rest of this group hit them 11-24 ft. further, which is fairly significant. I know that everyone is calling for Headley’s HR regression, but if he can keep this Avg. Distance up with the SD fences moving in, don’t project too big of a HR regression.

Now, let’s take a look at a list of players with a similar Avg. HR and FB distance (within 1 ft. farther than Trout) and their respective HR/FB ratio:

HR/FB

Park Factor

Name

Stance

Distance

Angle

21.6%

.99

Trout Mike

R

280.56

6.53

11.5%

1.00/.93

Santana Carlos

S

280.81

1.21

16.2%

1.00

Harper Bryce

L

280.84

-3.41

14%

.99

Pujols Albert

R

281.09

-2.54

15.5%

1.11/1.08

Wieters Matt

S

281.09

-2.69

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is clear that based on the above data (albeit the small sample size), Trout’s HR/FB ratio should have been in the range of 14-17% assuming Santana was affected by his Park Factors.

It is important to note, that Avg. Distance is certainly not the only factor correlated to HR/FB. Check out this fantastic research done by Chad Young and Mike Podhorzer thus far over at Fangraphs:

With that said, let’s take a look at some other factors:

Name

HR/AB

FB%

IFFB%

HR/FB

O-Sw%

Z-Sw%

O-Ct%

Z-Ct%

Ct%

Zone%

SwStr%

Mike Trout

30/559

33.0

4.3

21.6

26.5

55.1

71.0

87.6

81.8

47.4

7.1

Josh Willingham

35/519

43.0

12.7

21.2

21.7

62.7

58.9

82.9

75.9

45.6

9.5

Chase Headley

31/604

32.1

6.9

21.4

27.2

70.8

55.8

85.5

74.8

40.4

11.0

Albert Pujols

30/607

39.9

12.1

14.0

36.4

62.6

77.0

90.7

84.8

43.1

7.0

Bryce Harper

22/533

32.9

8.1

16.2

34.9

74.6

63.2

86.0

76.3

38.6

11.7

Carlos Santana

18/507

37.8

11.5

11.5

21.4

61.2

66.2

84.8

79.2

44.6

8.0

Kendrys Morales

22/484

28.3

7.6

21.0

35.9

70.4

61.8

85.5

75.5

41.2

12.1

Matt Wieters

23/526

35.5

8.8

15.5

32.4

67.5

69.2

87.1

79.7

40.6

9.3

Ike Davis

32/519

40.0

11.8

21.1

29.3

68.0

60.4

83.8

74.7

40.4

11.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From this, we can see that Trout enhanced his HR/FB ratio by having the least amount of Infield Fly Balls, which naturally have a 0% chance of becoming Homeruns.

Trout’s O-Ct% looks concerning since we know that balls hit outside of the strike zone fall for hits and homeruns less than balls hit inside of the strike zone, but compared to 2012 average (30.80%), he didn’t swing outside of the zone (26.5%) too often.

It is also worth noting, that pitchers tested Trout as we can determine from the 47.4% Zone above relative to the rest meaning he obviously saw more pitches to romp.

 

2013 Evaluation:

While we cannot forget that MT will only be 21 next year, players in their early 20’s tend to hop on positive Ct% and FB% trends. In 2012, Trout had a 44 GB% and a 33 FB% which yielded a 1.35 GB/FB ratio. There’s little reason not to think Trout will fit the curve meaning we can expect a similar or better Ct% and a better GB/FB ratio so even with a regressed HR/FB ratio, we can still potentially see 27-30 HR’s.

With that said, and a Rotobanter MAPP (Manual Approach Player Projection) of 460 Balls In Play, along with a 34.9% FB rate and a regressed 15.85 HR/FB we’re outputting 25-26 HR. Along with 125runs, 85rbi, 45sb and a .302 avg. this ranks Trout just behind Miguel Cabrera and Ryan Braun with a slight position scarcity weight associated to Miggy.

If you do not believe in position scarcity at all and think Braun’s playing time could be affected by MLB investigations, than I am all for you drafting Trout first overall. Sophomore slumps in the Fantasy Baseball world are concerning but Trout is special and let us not forget the second years from other young special guys like Ryan Zimmerman at 22 (99-24-91-4-.266); Ryan Braun at 24 (92-37-106-14-.285) and Evan Longoria at 23 (100-33-113-9-.281). Keep in mind none of these guys were centerfielders, but none of these guys have the speed that Trout has.

 

Send Us a Request:

If you want to know how I landed on the rest of Trout’s line including the expected batting average which associates to Rotobanter MAPP’s individuals’ Balls in Play hit expectancy, then please send us a request. Rotobanter’s Top 360 which includes the MAPP projections will be available soon.

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