Renato Nunez: International Man of Mystery
In this Deep Dive piece, I wanted to take a look into Renato Nunez. Renato was most likely an unknown pick up for your fantasy squad in 2019. To be expected since he was a free agent signee out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, at age 16. After developing in the Oakland Athletics minor league system for a few years, he had a brief stop in Texas before landing in Baltimore. We will be taking a look at parts of Nunez's game that make him a success and hold him back.
The 2019 Year In Review
599 Plate Appearances
72 Runs/ 31 HRs/ 90 RBI/ 1 SB
.244 BA/ .311 OBP/ .460 SLG
Reaching nearly 600 plate appearances helped launch his counting stats. The 25-year-old righty showed some clutch ability as he batted .275 and 75 RBI with men on base. Renato hit 121 HRs in five seasons in the minors, so the power numbers should be legit. He had 43 barrels with a maximum exit velocity of 114.8 MPH. That was the 28th best in the MLB. Overall, Nunez can send plenty of souvenirs into the stands if given the opportunity. One SB on the season is not unexpected as he is in the 56th percentile in speed.
Renato made substantial strides in terms of overall contact. Mainly with contact inside the zone that helped generate more power. Not a good sign, as he swung at more pitches outside the zone. He did, however, swing at fewer pitches on edge. From diving into other inexperienced hitters, I have found this to be somewhat common. He was potentially trying to cheat some pitchers or guessing incorrectly and getting fooled. He did decrease his swinging strike rate a little bit. Good to see the approach getting better and better. Still, he has some work to be done though.
Below is two Swing % Profiles. What I wanted to show how scattered Renato Nunez swing is for a young player. There is a bit of room for growth in his profile, no doubt. If he can tighten up that zone swing percentage and focus on only driving the ball when in the zone, he would be much more effective. I know, easier said than done. Inside pitches on the hands and low, away pitchers do the more damage against Nunez.
Batted Ball Profile
The batted ball profile is what gets you excited about Renato Nunez. Increasing both line drives(21.1%) and fly balls(46.3%). While decreasing the number of ground balls(32.6%). His swing generates a massive launch angle. Nunez should keep this profile as he can generate an abundance of power while hitting a ton of flyballs. It is a small park in Baltimore, so his batted ball profile should play well for home stretches. As shown below, when Nunez makes contact there is great exit velocity on majority of batted ball events.
My biggest concern is Nunez swinging outside the zone. If he can correct that issue and show more selective aggression at home plate, he will be fine. The power is real, and when he connects with the ball, the outcome is in his favor. I would expect a similar outcome for 2020 from a production standpoint.
Twitter - @davithius
*Statistical credits: Fangraphs, BaseballSavant