2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive: Baltimore Orioles

by Jordan McDonald
Dynasty Baseball Buy or Sell

Welcome to another edition of the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive featuring the Baltimore Orioles!

Last week we discussed the Washington Nationals, and now we travel across the state of Maryland to examine the fantasy landscape in Baltimore. The Orioles have been scuffling for a few years and seem to be the butt of the joke in the vaunted AL East.

However, just because the team is not performing well, that doesn't mean they are devoid of Fantasy relevance.

Let's take a deeper look at some of the key contributors on this team and analyze what we can find.

2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive: Baltimore Orioles

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John Means

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We have to start with arguably the best player on the Orioles to date. Means has been scorching hot this season with a sparkling 1.70 ERA and 0.75 WHIP, which also includes a no-hitter against the Mariners. That's pretty good from a guy who had a consensus ADP of 229 according to FantasyPros.

Means has done a tremendous job at limiting hard contact this season. He is currently ranked in the top 10 percent for average Exit Velocity against at 85.5 MPH. (Although, this may have slightly increased after Randy Arozarena's fifth-inning bomb against Means in Wednesday's night game).

He relies more on location than the power to record his outs, as he's only averaging just over a strikeout per inning. But he's been incredible at getting those outs by limiting opposing hitters to a .163 batting average. Also, his weighted On-Base Average is currently .201 for this season, which is ranked in the top three percent across the league.

He will experience the occasional rough outing, but Means should remain a solid starting option for the rest of this season.

Cedric Mullins

Mullins has been a nice surprise for the Orioles and the lucky managers who scooped him off the waiver wire. He is currently slashing .305/.372/.500 with six home runs as the team's primary leadoff hitter. He also possesses the baserunning skills you want atop the order, recording five stolen bases so far into the season.

Mullins is certainly having the best season of his young career and the underlying numbers support that. Most notably, he has greatly improved his contact rate. His Sweet Spot Percentage is up more than 13 percent from last year, which has led to an expected Batting Average of .281 (his previous career-high was .214).

The power numbers are average compared to the rest of the league. But personally, he has raised his Hard Hit Rate to over 40 percent this season, which is nine percent better than last season. Also, he is posting the best walk and strikeout rates of his career in 2021.

It seems like the breakout from Mullins is legitimate and should be a reliable fantasy option for the rest of the season if he continues with this production.

Trey Mancini

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Mancini returned to the Orioles after successfully beating colon cancer that forced him to miss the entire 2020 season. And he has returned to form this season by hitting .273/.337/.503 with nine home runs and 38 RBIs. Overall, he was a great investment for those managers who took the risk on draft day.

The strongest part of Mancini's game is the power he possesses. Currently, he has a Hard Hit rate of 44.6 percent, which is a tick higher than his career average of 42.5. Although, his average Exit Velocity is not as high as you would think at 89.8 MPH, which only ranks in the 60th percentile among all players.

His other metrics on Statcast suggest there is also room for improvement. He has a Sweet Spot Percentage of 33.9 on the season, down from 36.4 in 2019. But he has still managed an xBA of .293 and an xSLG of .532.

The most fascinating part about Mancini's underlying numbers is his Launch Angle. For his career, he is averaging a Launch Angle of seven degrees, but he has slightly increased that to 9.3 degrees for this season. According to MLB, anything under 10 degrees is considered a "ground ball" and it is safe to say that Mancini profiles as that type of hitter. However, he has found success despite the low trajectory, so it shouldn't be an issue for him going forward.

Ryan Mountcastle

Owning one of the best names in baseball, Mountcastle was a popular sleeper pick for 2021 after a successful rookie campaign. Last season, he posted a .333/.386/.492 slash line in 35 games, but he has followed that up with a lowly .220/.245/.333 so far into this season.

In his defense, Mountcastle is still a young hitter and hasn't played a full season's worth of games yet. Therefore, his current slump may be attributed to the bumps along the road to becoming a major-league hitter. But you aren't doing your fantasy team(s) any favors by holding onto him and wishing for brighter days.

There isn't much of a difference between his Statcast numbers from last year to this year. His average Exit Velocity is up by 0.5 MPH as well as his Sweet Spot Percentage by almost four percent. He has also raised his Launch Angle up to 13 degrees from 10.8. However, his Hard Hit Rate is down 4.5 percent and his strikeout rate has ballooned to just over 30 percent.

To make matters worse, he is ranked in the bottom eight percent in Whiff percentage and bottom three in Chase Rate. If the poor plate vision continues, his other stats will begin to bottom out as well. Mountcastle has the potential to become a steady hitter for years to come, but until he figures it out, you might want to consider your options in redraft leagues.

Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers

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