Fantasy Baseball

2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive: Cincinnati Reds


Welcome to another edition of the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive featuring the Cincinnati Reds!

This offense was RED hot to begin the season and they received contributions from multiple players in the lineup. The production is not just limited to veterans Nick Castellanos, Eugenio Suarez, and Mike Moustakas.

Castellanos is having a nice resurgence slashing .306/.333/.653 after a disappointing .225/.298/.486 last season. Suarez has gained SS eligibility moving from third base to shortstop and has started to wake up from his deep slumber out of the gate. And Moustakas has moved back to the hot corner and has produced well in the batter’s box with an even BB-to-K ratio.

There are other contributors whose names went under the radar on draft day. And you’re either reaping the sweet rewards of a waiver pickup or paying the price as a victim of their rampage. How many of these players can sustain their offensive success? Let’s analyze the underlying stats and see if regression is looming.

2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive: Cincinnati Reds

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Tyler Naquin

Naquin has ascended to new heights in his first season with the Cincinnati Reds. He is currently hitting .265/.359/.735 with five home runs and 14 RBIs.

As the slugging percentage indicates, he is quite literally mashing the ball. He is currently in the top 98% percentile for average exit velocity and hard-hit percentage. Specifically, his HardHit percentage is ranked first in the entire league at 78.3 percent, which means 18 of his 23 batted balls have left the bat at 95+ MPH.

If he continues with this power streak, his numbers may not incur a significant dip for the rest of the season. One issue that plagues Naquin is the logjam of Reds outfielders and the lack of a DH position in the NL. Tuesday’s game against the Giants was the second in a row where Naquin sat in favor of fellow lefty Jesse Winker.

Jesse Winker

Winker has always been an intriguing fantasy option with the offensive talent that he possesses. His issue has been the injury bug that forced him to miss almost 40 percent of games between 2018-2019. However, he managed to play 54 of 60 games last season and batted .255 with a hefty .932 OPS.

This season has started wonderfully for him, slashing an absurd .391/.440/.609 with a home run and three RBIs. His best trait may be his ability to get on base with a walk rate (BB percentage) of 15.3 percent in 2020 and a .383 OBP for his career.

He also started hitting the ball harder last season compared to his previous numbers. During the 2020 season, he ranked in the top 10 percent for exit velocity and HardHit percentage. This led to a weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) of .396. He certainly will not sustain the bloated numbers for the entire season, but everything indicates that he is capable of recording above-average stats if he can remain healthy. Much like Naquin, he may have to fight for playing time in a crowded outfield throughout the season.

Jonathan India

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India was a popular sleeper pick heading into this season and it paid off for the managers who drafted him. The rookie has locked down second base for the Reds and currently hitting .333/.395/.417 so far into the season. Plus, his eligibility at second base and third base makes him a more valuable player from a roster flexibility perspective.

Surely, it’s understandable that India will crash into the rookie wall and regression is inevitable. His underlying numbers suggest that it will eventually happen with an Expected Batting Average (xBA) of .218. His launch angle is currently at 5.2 degrees (less than 10 degrees is considered to be a groundball), and his average exit velocity is ranked near the bottom 10 percent in the league.

The inability to hit the ball harder and at a higher angle will slowly begin to result in more outs. You may want to consider selling high in redraft leagues before he finds himself on the fringe of your roster.

Nick Senzel

Senzel is considered the fourth-best outfielder on the Reds as he’s currently slashing .250/.351/.313 at the plate. However, he is the everyday centerfielder and doesn’t have to worry about losing his spot unless the bat becomes ice cold. The presence of Aristides Aquino and the eventual return of Shogo Akiyama may confuddle this outfield even more, but Senzel’s role on the team should hopefully be safe.

Senzel has seen a rise in his exit velocity and HardHit percentage from last season. Although, they are considered below average rates compared with the rest of the league. He has also shown an improvement in taking walks and limiting his strikeouts. His BB percentage has increased by over six percent last season, while his K percentage has decreased by over five percent.

In all, Senzel has refined his approach at the plate and it may be a matter of time until the power begins to show. It is worth remembering that Senzel is only 25 and has yet to play a full regular season. Therefore, he still has much room to grow as a hitter at the professional level.

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

About Jordan McDonald

Jordan McDonald is a sports journalist located in Toronto, Ontario. He has a decade of experience playing fantasy sports and specializes in baseball and football. Follow him on Twitter: @DonaldMcJordan

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