This has been an exceptionally fun year for call-ups in the MLB, with Bryant, Correa, and Syndergaard, but even after the initial wave of call-ups, guys like Kyle Schwarber and Miguel Sano are keeping the momentum going. I think there are generally two schools of thought when rookies get off to hot starts in DFS. One school of thought is to just keep riding the wave until it crashes on the shore and the other doesn’t want to be left holding the bill when the numbers inevitably regress.
These fast starts are definitely unsustainable over the “long haul,” but looking at the season leaders in Plus/Minus shows Schwarber and Sano very close to the top. They’ve only been options for a few weeks, but if you’ve been playing them, it’s been a very successful few weeks:
Price is a big part of the reason they’ve been successful in Plus/Minus, but that’s kind of part of the upside of taking a chance on a greenhorn. Schwarber and Sano have both seen their DraftKings’ salaries rise by at least $1800 since their call-up date. Price isn’t EVERYTHING though; these guys have just been hitting, period. Even at higher price points, they are generally returning value:
So now that their prices are no longer are no longer obvious bargains, it’s time to get to know the players themselves a little better, or more accurately, the players they have been so far. As a prospect, Kyle Schwarber is a welcomed power source at the DFS catcher position. He doesn’t have an especially long minor-league resume (72 games of A-ball last year and half a season of AA, AAA this year), but take a look at his BABIP numbers in the minors:
I beat the “power/speed guys can sustain a high BABIP” drum all the time, but good lord, Schwarber is either the luckiest batter ever or extremely power/speed-y. I hate to say that such a high batting average is sustainable (currently batting .333), especially for someone with such a small body of work as a professional, but…I don’t know, you look at the numbers and be the judge.
Speaking of raw power, Schwarber has just been smoking the ball since he was promoted. Per Baseball Savant, the average velocity on his batted balls has been 93.71 miles per hour, which ranks FOURTH in the MLB among players with 20 or more at-bats. He has been crushing four-seam fast balls in particular to the tune of 98.9 miles per hour.
Speaking of hitting the ball hard, Miguel Sano ranks #27 on that same list, with an average exit velocity of 92.57 miles per hour. Per Fangraphs, Sano is actually a better prospect than Schwarber in terms of Raw Power (Rated 80 to Schwarber’s 70). Sano has much more of a minor-league history (beginning in 2010) and we pretty much knew he was going to come up and have legit power from day one.
Sano doesn’t have as much history saying he can support a really high BABIP (currently .432). With his average at .284 right now, regression on his average on balls in play could send that number south in a hurry. Also concerning is his 34.0% strikeout rate, which for perspective, would rank third-worst in the league if he had enough at-bats in 2015, behind Souza and Zunino.
Looking at Miguel on Fantasy Labs, his Consistency Rating is currently 54% (comparable to Parra, J.D. Martinez, Rizzo), while his upside is 13% (same area as Matt Kemp, Jonathan Lucroy). My prediction would be that his upside increases while his consistency declines moving forward. He’ll be totally usable in certain situations, but you’re really counting on a home run from Sano.