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Ronald Acuna 2019 Outlook


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On 11/5/2018 at 4:03 PM, Magoo said:

No one is Trout obviously. But for fantasy, he’s not that far off

This is a bit ridiculous.

 

Just looking at the projections you can expect Trout to have have ~50 more R+RBI, about 100 points better in OBP, almost 200 points better in OPS, and a bunch more HR's. 

Even if Acuna improves some he's still pretty far from Trout. 

 

Acuna could have more steals though, I'll give you that.

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On November 18, 2018 at 8:49 PM, cs3 said:

This is a bit ridiculous.

 

Just looking at the projections you can expect Trout to have have ~50 more R+RBI, about 100 points better in OBP, almost 200 points better in OPS, and a bunch more HR's. 

Even if Acuna improves some he's still pretty far from Trout. 

 

Acuna could have more steals though, I'll give you that.

It's not all that ridiculous but in redraft leagues and obp formats Trout is still clearly the better overall talent.  Obviously everyone has their opinions and personal biases but after what Acuna showed in year 1 as a 20 year old and particularly in the second half of last season is that he is certainly an elite talented capable of doing great things.  In redraft leagues I would still go with Trout over Acuna for at least the next couple of seasons and in OBP leagues Trout will certainly have an edge, but in keeper and dynasty formats Acuna will definitely be in the conversation.  Also to say that you can "expect" Trout to have 50 more R+RBI totals despite looking at early 2019 projections is just as if not even more ridiculous as a statement.  

 

While it is certainly possible and not all that far fetched that trout could have 50 more Runs and RBI's than Acuna assuming both play 150+ games, I certainly wouldn't "expect" it despite projections.  While trout is almost in a league of his own in terms of fantasy potential Acuna is certainly not that far off with a lot more room for growth at this point in their respective Careers.  Acuna has a much younger and more talented supporting cast around him (which could get even better with off season acquisitions) who could and should continue to grow together which in turn will make each other better and should boost overall team production as a result.  On the other end the Angels aside from Trout and Ohtani have an aging supporting cast most who are at or past their primes.

 

Hitting leadoff in the National League will also limit Acuna's Rbi production but will also increase his potential to score runs and with the power he has expecting less than 80-90 rbi's would certainly be a let down. We're also not far removed from Charlie Blackmon driving in 100 Rbi's out of the lead off spot in the National league so it's not out of the realm of possible and no disrespect to Charlie but Ronald Acuna is a far superior talent and while he doesn't play half his games at coors field, I think he has just as good as a supporting cast as the rockies did that year with the potential to be even better.  

 

But yeah while i wouldn't start thinking of Acuna on Trout's level yet, I do think he's as close to that level based on a rookie season as anyone since Trout has been in the league and it's certainly not ridiculous in terms of fantasy value to say that.  He's well on the path to being there and we could see that as early as this season, especially if he can take the next step forward with a year in the major's under his belt.  If he can cut down his K rate and show a little more patience at the plate this season that would certainly help him get there faster.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm working on my personal projections for the upcoming season, and I just finished projecting Acuna.

 

One thing I noticed when consulting other projections (Steamer, THE BAT, Rotochamp, etc) is that they all project Acuna to steal 20+ bases. Some people are drafting him with 30+ SB upside in mind.

 

On the surface, this seems reasonable. He stole 44 bases in the minors in 2017. Last season, he stole 21 between AAA and the majors. If you pace his major league steal rate over a full season of at bats, he ends up with 22 steals. His sprint speed is excellent. His 29.6 ft/sec places him 11th among players with 50 or more competitive runs. Yet despite all this, I project him to steal only 16 bases.

 

One factor that I believe isn't being considered by the projection models is his projected place in the Braves lineup. Both Roster Resource and Rotochamp project him to bat cleanup. Last season, Acuna spent most of his time batting 1st (301 PA) or 2nd (116 PA...70 PA in other positions including 44 in the 6th spot). He stole all 16 of his bases batting 1st or 2nd and zero in any other lineup position. I had a hard time thinking of a cleanup hitter who stole a significant amount of bases, so I did some digging. I found the following article on fangraphs.

 

https://fantasy.fangraphs.com/how-does-batting-order-affect-stolen-bases/

 

The key quote from the article...

 

"It’s hard to wade through all of this data. Some of it’s conflicting. There are many variables at play. But where a player hits in the lineup does seem to affect stolen base frequency. You never want to see that a base stealer is going to bat third or fourth."

 

With Acuna being considered by many to be a 1st round pick in his sophomore season, I think his new lineup spot could have enough of a negative impact on his SB total to make him a 1st round bust. Draft with caution.

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3 hours ago, joshtribe said:

I'm working on my personal projections for the upcoming season, and I just finished projecting Acuna.

 

One thing I noticed when consulting other projections (Steamer, THE BAT, Rotochamp, etc) is that they all project Acuna to steal 20+ bases. Some people are drafting him with 30+ SB upside in mind.

 

On the surface, this seems reasonable. He stole 44 bases in the minors in 2017. Last season, he stole 21 between AAA and the majors. If you pace his major league steal rate over a full season of at bats, he ends up with 22 steals. His sprint speed is excellent. His 29.6 ft/sec places him 11th among players with 50 or more competitive runs. Yet despite all this, I project him to steal only 16 bases.

 

One factor that I believe isn't being considered by the projection models is his projected place in the Braves lineup. Both Roster Resource and Rotochamp project him to bat cleanup. Last season, Acuna spent most of his time batting 1st (301 PA) or 2nd (116 PA...70 PA in other positions including 44 in the 6th spot). He stole all 16 of his bases batting 1st or 2nd and zero in any other lineup position. I had a hard time thinking of a cleanup hitter who stole a significant amount of bases, so I did some digging. I found the following article on fangraphs.

 

https://fantasy.fangraphs.com/how-does-batting-order-affect-stolen-bases/

 

The key quote from the article...

 

"It’s hard to wade through all of this data. Some of it’s conflicting. There are many variables at play. But where a player hits in the lineup does seem to affect stolen base frequency. You never want to see that a base stealer is going to bat third or fourth."

 

With Acuna being considered by many to be a 1st round pick in his sophomore season, I think his new lineup spot could have enough of a negative impact on his SB total to make him a 1st round bust. Draft with caution.

 

Great post. I agree in general term that where you bat in the lineup will affect the SB number. However, there is always exceptions, using Goldschmidt as an example, in 2018, he stole more bases (albeit not his usual total SB number), batting 3rd, than batting any others spot in the lineup. So not saying you are wrong, because you are spot on the theory; but just there is always exceptions.

 

Paul Goldschmidt batting order 2018

Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB ROE BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
Batting 2nd 47 47 220 192 35 67 11 0 17 40 1 1 26 45 .349 .432 .672 1.104 129 2 2 0 0 4 2 .385 137 184
Batting 3rd 78 78 342 289 45 75 18 4 11 27 5 1 49 89 .260 .372 .464 .836 134 4 3 0 0 4 5 .339 83 110
Batting 4th 31 31 126 110 15 30 6 1 5 16 1 2 15 37 .273 .365 .482 .847 53 1 1 0 0 3 4 .368 84 116

 

Paul Goldschmidt batting order 2017

Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB ROE BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
Batting 3rd 101 101 444 368 83 111 22 2 22 77 15 4 68 92 .302 .419 .552 .971 203 7 7 0 1 11 5 .349 102 136
Batting 4th 51 51 219 189 34 55 12 1 14 42 3 1 26 55 .291 .376 .587 .963 111 7 1 0 2 4 0 .336 97 13

 

 

Also, at the moment, nothing is decided yet, and the Braves are still searching for their RF and that players might be a cleanup hitter if AA shows his silent magic once again. If not, Inciarte or Albies could be at the second spot, making Donaldson the cleanup hitter. So lots of potential moving parts still trying to put in place before opening day. 

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Thanks for the rebuttal, which is partially why I posted that information. I like to have my preconceived notions challenged.

 

Inspired by your Goldschmidt info, I dug a little deeper. I looked up the career splits for Goldy, Mookie Betts, Trevor Story, and Javier Baez, all of whom are fairly comparable to Acuna as power/speed threats. All of them have attempted more stolen bases per PA batting 4th than they have batting 1st or 2nd. The sample sizes aren't the greatest and variations in OBP could factor in, but it is interesting nonetheless.

 

I'm not a Braves fan, but it seems to me that the only lineup spot locked down is Freeman batting 3rd. Inciarte, Albies, Donaldson, and Acuna will likely move around. I expect Donaldson to hit the DL at some point. I would guess that Albies would bat 2nd in that case, but who really knows. Right now, the best information we have suggests that Acuna will be the primary cleanup hitter.

 

Given the competing lines of data, perhaps my initial worries about Acuna's SB potential this season were overblown. He probably won't bat 4th the entire season; and even if he does, it appears he could end up stealing a lot more bases than one would expect from a 4 hole hitter. I'll bump my projection up from 16 to 18. Still less than the projection models, but still a solid number of SBs.

 

I'm still probably not drafting Acuna. There will probably be at least one true believer in every league who is willing to draft him in the late 1st/early 2nd round. For me, rounds 1-3 are all about safe players with high floors and a degree of upside. I will never draft a player with less than a full season of ML experience that early. I would be assuming a lot of risk for minimal profit. Keeping my projection for Acuna overly modest will insure that I adhere to this precept.

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16 hours ago, AF25 said:

Also, at the moment, nothing is decided yet, and the Braves are still searching for their RF and that players might be a cleanup hitter if AA shows his silent magic once again. If not, Inciarte or Albies could be at the second spot, making Donaldson the cleanup hitter. So lots of potential moving parts still trying to put in place before opening day. 

With Markakis now back on the team, there is little reason to think that there will be any more starting lineup changes. Either Acuna or Donaldson is going to be hitting 4th. I would also assume that Albies will be hitting in the 1 or 2 spot, and if last year was any indication, Inciarte was used as either leadoff or a bottom of the order player. 

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22 minutes ago, jbj said:

With Markakis now back on the team, there is little reason to think that there will be any more starting lineup changes. Either Acuna or Donaldson is going to be hitting 4th. I would also assume that Albies will be hitting in the 1 or 2 spot, and if last year was any indication, Inciarte was used as either leadoff or a bottom of the order player. 

 

albies is more flawed than Acuna.  are you sure albies is going to hit in the top 2?

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10 minutes ago, jfazz23 said:

 

albies is more flawed than Acuna.  are you sure albies is going to hit in the top 2?

Obviously I agree, but regardless of how flawed he is, I think he is one of Atlanta's best hitters (better than Inciarte, Markakis, Dansby, McCann/Flowers), so I can't imagine him falling to the bottom half of the lineup unless he has a miserably cold spell at some point of the season. He isn't a 3 or 4 spot hitter. It just makes sense to slot him in the top 2. The difference between him and Acuna is that whether they are hitting their floor or their ceiling, Acuna has a skillset that gives him more flexibility to be successful in different spots of the lineup, whereas Albies doesn't have that capability.

 

EDIT: Would not actually be shocked if Inciarte hits better then Albies for an extended stretch of the season, and the lineup looks like like Inciarte - Acuna - Freeman - Donaldson - Markakis - Albies - Flowers - Swanson - Pitcher or something to that affect. I don't trust Albies' bat to be always lighting the world on fire. He definitely is seen as a youthful and productive investment for the future, and he will likely be at least reasonably productive for years to come, but he still has to grow into his body and refine his eye at the plate. The point I am making is moreso that as it stands, Albies will only drop out of the top 2 if he sinks into that hole himself. It is his to lose.

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1 hour ago, jfazz23 said:

 

albies is more flawed than Acuna.  are you sure albies is going to hit in the top 2?

I’m sure nothing is set in stone yet but:

The Braves are anticipating Donaldson hitting second in the order during the 2019 season, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports. (12/5/2018)

 

I also wouldn’t rule out the Braves making 1 more splash move. Personally I think they might be the favorites to land Realmuto given AA’s history of aggressive movies and the Astros lack of recent history of dealing top prospects. Purely speculative but Acuna, Donaldson, Freeman, Realmuto would be a pretty 🌶 1-4. Given how well he raked in the leadoff spot last year, I’d be pretty surprised to see Acuna start this year anywhere else.

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It does look like per DOB that Snitker is leaning towards Inciarte batting first with Donny batting second, Freeman third and Acuña 4th. Yeah no more flashy move to the lineup and as it stands Markakis will bat behind Acuña; now THAT's a knock on Acuña's value if Markakis is "protecting" him....

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13 hours ago, joshtribe said:

Thanks for the rebuttal, which is partially why I posted that information. I like to have my preconceived notions challenged.

 

Inspired by your Goldschmidt info, I dug a little deeper. I looked up the career splits for Goldy, Mookie Betts, Trevor Story, and Javier Baez, all of whom are fairly comparable to Acuna as power/speed threats. All of them have attempted more stolen bases per PA batting 4th than they have batting 1st or 2nd. The sample sizes aren't the greatest and variations in OBP could factor in, but it is interesting nonetheless.

 

I'm not a Braves fan, but it seems to me that the only lineup spot locked down is Freeman batting 3rd. Inciarte, Albies, Donaldson, and Acuna will likely move around. I expect Donaldson to hit the DL at some point. I would guess that Albies would bat 2nd in that case, but who really knows. Right now, the best information we have suggests that Acuna will be the primary cleanup hitter.

 

Given the competing lines of data, perhaps my initial worries about Acuna's SB potential this season were overblown. He probably won't bat 4th the entire season; and even if he does, it appears he could end up stealing a lot more bases than one would expect from a 4 hole hitter. I'll bump my projection up from 16 to 18. Still less than the projection models, but still a solid number of SBs.

 

I'm still probably not drafting Acuna. There will probably be at least one true believer in every league who is willing to draft him in the late 1st/early 2nd round. For me, rounds 1-3 are all about safe players with high floors and a degree of upside. I will never draft a player with less than a full season of ML experience that early. I would be assuming a lot of risk for minimal profit. Keeping my projection for Acuna overly modest will insure that I adhere to this precept.

 

It does look like he will bat 4th and with Markakis batting behind him, he should be running A LOT! I feel that the Braves lineup with how it is currently constructed, 1-4 is more of a traditional get on base; move the runner/steal a base, a long ball or extra base power and score some run; from 5-9 will more like small ball game with Acuña set the table if he did not have an extra base hit and Markakis moving him over to the next base.

 

LOL. you will probably find me drafting him in late 1st/early 2nd in a redraft. Might not be the best strategy, and agree that could be risky, but that's just how I value him. 

 

 

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12 hours ago, AF25 said:

 

It does look like he will bat 4th and with Markakis batting behind him, he should be running A LOT! I feel that the Braves lineup with how it is currently constructed, 1-4 is more of a traditional get on base; move the runner/steal a base, a long ball or extra base power and score some run; from 5-9 will more like small ball game with Acuña set the table if he did not have an extra base hit and Markakis moving him over to the next base.

 

LOL. you will probably find me drafting him in late 1st/early 2nd in a redraft. Might not be the best strategy, and agree that could be risky, but that's just how I value him. 

 

 

 

You have to remember, the slower, high-OBP guys will be getting on in front of him and limiting his SB opportunities. If he happens to lead off an inning by reaching first base and the game context makes a SB advantageous, I would agree that he could likely be running ahead of the weaker hitters to follow. But that scenario won't play out "a lot."

 

I might be able to be talked into making him a third round pick, but I generally refuse to gamble with my early picks. Right now his ADP on NFBC is 8th! His high is 4 and his low is 16! Any player with only a partial major league season is a gamble that early, no matter how talented he may be. I would rather take the likes of Arenado, Bregman, Turner, Machado, Judge, Freeman, Goldschmidt, Stanton,  etc. who are being taken after him. Those guys are money in the bank. They are in their primes and have proven themselves over multiple major league seasons. They've already figured out how to adjust to big league pitchers who have adjusted to them.

 

I would rather take the boring, safe, proven guys with my most valuable draft picks than be the one who gambles that Acuna will become their equal in his first full season in the show. But hey, everyone has his or her own degree of risk tolerance, and for those folks, taking bold risks on players like Acuna is part of the fun of playing fantasy baseball.

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[Removed Cool Story] this kids potential is sky high and he could very easily be a league winner. Personally I would not take him as early as he's being drafted due to the lack of games in the bigs but I'd consider him in the 3rd after I was able to draft two sure things before him. 

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15 hours ago, BostonCajun said:

[Removed Cool Story] this kids potential is sky high and he could very easily be a league winner. Personally I would not take him as early as he's being drafted due to the lack of games in the bigs but I'd consider him in the 3rd after I was able to draft two sure things before him. 

 

Good luck with that. Kid is not falling past mid 2nd right now and hes only gonna keep climbing.

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1 minute ago, Gryfter said:

 

Good luck with that. Kid is not falling past mid 2nd right now and hes only gonna keep climbing.

 

Well what I said at the beginning was removed and that is that I have him as a keeper so I won’t need to worry about not getting him in the 3rd. You are correct however, if he lasts til the 3rd round even in 10 team leagues that will be rare and I think worth taking him at that point. 

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15 hours ago, BostonCajun said:

[Removed Cool Story] this kids potential is sky high and he could very easily be a league winner. Personally I would not take him as early as he's being drafted due to the lack of games in the bigs but I'd consider him in the 3rd after I was able to draft two sure things before him. 

 

How is he a league winner if you are paying a premium for him? You are paying the cost of what you are hoping him to be.

 

I am a huge Acuna fan and have had him in dynasty for a few years now, but let's be real. If you draft someone 4th and then they perform like a top 3, top 5 player, that's not a league winner. That's getting what you paid for lol.

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19 minutes ago, ThreadKiller said:

 

How is he a league winner if you are paying a premium for him? You are paying the cost of what you are hoping him to be.

 

I am a huge Acuna fan and have had him in dynasty for a few years now, but let's be real. If you draft someone 4th and then they perform like a top 3, top 5 player, that's not a league winner. That's getting what you paid for lol.

 

Yeah after I went back and read that I see that comment doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Hard to call anyone a league winner when they are drafted anywhere in the first few rounds because there is only so much value they can provide. However, I should have said that I truly believe that this kid will put up numbers this season that will have him in the conversation for the NL MVP. As I watched him play last year I kept thinking about how I wasn't sure if I had ever seen a player his age in their first season in the majors with that kind of ability to hit the ball and make the impact on the bases like he did. He also showed a lot of confidence and composure in big situations as evidenced by his outstanding numbers with men on base or in scoring position. I can't wait to see what he can do this year. 

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Just now, motown magic said:

But isn't that why you draft players that high ? To win the league?

 

That's a pretty vague statement. I don't know about you but I don't make any picks (high or late picks) without the goal of winning the league, so I don't really get your point?

 

The term league winner is being tossed around pretty loosely here. To me it means someone you get late or basically for free that ends up giving you the value of someone you drafted with premium capital.

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Good luck getting him in the 3rd.  

 

He's a first round talent.  If you want to pass on him for a safer pick, I get it...but he's a legit 30/30 guy.  3rd place pays as much as last and in the NFBC many of these contests are playing for an overall prize.  It's more about maxing out potential than it is being safe because being safe lands you in the middle of the rankings.  So with that said, his adp may be a little lower in a yahoo or espn league than it is right now, but he's not dropping far.  

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/24/2019 at 2:50 PM, kidtwentytwo said:

Good luck getting him in the 3rd.  

 

He's a first round talent.  If you want to pass on him for a safer pick, I get it...but he's a legit 30/30 guy.  3rd place pays as much as last and in the NFBC many of these contests are playing for an overall prize.  It's more about maxing out potential than it is being safe because being safe lands you in the middle of the rankings.  So with that said, his adp may be a little lower in a yahoo or espn league than it is right now, but he's not dropping far.  

 

Dedicating my 100th post to Ronald Acuña......

 

Acuña has a pre-season ranking on Yahoo at 9; it is not crazy to think that he is a legit 30/30 guy at all. Sometimes you have to take a risk and I think Acuña's floor makes him a less risky first rounder.

 

I don't believe as we get closer to the season, you will see an ADP of 18 or higher as shown below in RTSSports and ESPN, this kid is going off first round right now in many platforms.

 

ADP/Rankings
Source Rank
ADP - NFBC 8
Rankings - Composite 9
Rankings - Steamer 10
ADP - Fantrax 10
Rankings - RotoChamp 12
ADP - RTSports 18
ADP - ESPN 23

 

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2 hours ago, Wsu2122 said:

Do you think those steals will be less than predicted if he bats 3rd or 4th in the lineup? 

 

This was actually discussed in this very same thread; personally, I don't think it will hurt as much as many people think.

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