The "30 Over" Series Part Two

About The 30 Over Series

The SP Streamer “30 Over” series will be about 30 players who I think will outperform their ADP and current market value. This idea actually stems from high-stakes player Phil Dussault. In a Twitter thread discussing accountability for analysts, he suggested that a good analyst should be able to come up with 30 to 50 players that they like more than the market. They also should be right on about 60% of them. This was an interesting idea so I decided to test myself this year to see how I do.

This series will be multiple parts because I would like to dive into each player and provide as much evidence I can to support my thought process. There will be both pitching and hitting and I will likely list closers last due to a lot of pending free agents. Here we go!

Part One: Click Here

4) Yoan Moncada, CHW ADP 84

Yoan Moncada was coming off a breakout year heading into the 2020 season. He unfortunately fell short as his performance dropped tremendously. In 231 plate appearances, he finished with a .225 batting average, six home runs, 28 runs, 24 RBI, and zero steals. The underlying stats aren’t much better.

Think that’s bad? Check out the shift in his percentile rankings.

So Mike why the heck do you like him? If you look at Moncada’s year-to-year changes he has increased his exit velocity and hard-hit rate for two straight years. His xwOBA has always hovered over .300 and his SLG always over .400. Get the point? For the past two years, he has either consistently put up the same numbers or improved each year. A 25-year-old having a random out of the ordinary year after having two seasons of consistent to improving stats? Call me skeptical, especially in a whacky short season. It’s like the weirdo who buys the railroads in Monopoly, can’t trust it.

One major reason to believe in his rebound also stems from Moncada having COVID-19. In a wonderful article from NBC Sports here are some quotes from the man himself.

"Definitely my body hasn’t felt the same after the virus," he said Thursday through team interpreter Billy Russo. "I feel a lack of energy, strength, it’s just a weird feeling. It’s different.”

He continues.

"When I got to Chicago before I tested positive, I was feeling strong and with energy. Now, it’s like a daily battle to try to find that strength, that energy to go through the day.”

"But that’s something that I have to deal with, and it is what it is. I have to find a way to get through it."

He clearly wasn’t right and also battled a persistent leg issue. He went from being an aggressive hitter with a 30.1 first pitch swing% to a conservative laid back hitter who only swung at the first pitch 21.6% of the time. Moncada clearly wasn’t himself and he without a doubt was affected by this treacherous disease. His current ADP presents a great buying opportunity.

5) John Means, BAL ADP 226

I wasn’t a big John Means fan coming into 2020 but for next season he is ruffling my feathers. This comes from a small sample size in the month of September but a lot happened in that one month that makes him so attractive. Let’s break down his 2020 by month.

Obviously something happened in September and maybe he made a key adjustment. The spike in strikeout rate is enormous so the answer should be within his arsenal. Comparing the two months seems key.

Looking at his down month first you can see a clear issue here. The changeup isn’t getting enough whiffs and the four-seam is getting absolutely shelled. Although this is a small sample size it was a bit of an issue for Means in 2019 as well.

Something that we need to note that isn’t in this chart is his fastball velocity. It averaged 94.2 MPH. Remember that number and let’s look at his September.

Whoa. In September his four-seam became a completely different pitch. We mentioned his 94.2 MPH velocity in August, well that dipped to 93.5 MPH in September. Unlike most situations, this is a good thing. In August he hit the heart of the zone with his fastball 27.4% of the time. In September it dropped to 24.4%. Means was throwing harder than ever and it was causing him to lose his command. Due to slowing it down, he was able to hit the top edge of the strike zone 19.3% of the time in September whereas in August he only hit it at a 14.2% clip. When Means hit the top of the zone in 2020 with his fastball it produced a 38.5 K%, .000 ISO, and .134 wOBA. Yea it seems pretty significant that he locates his fastball in that region.

In the last two starts of John Means’ season he “balled” out pitching 11.2 innings with only two earned runs and 21 strikeouts. Good enough for a 1.54 ERA, 2.59 FIP, and 50.0 K%. Now I know anyone can go on a crazy good streak, but in those two starts his fastball hit the top of the zone 25.6% of the time leading to a 50.0 K%, .000 ISO, and .000 wOBA.

Means looks to be on his way, don’t expect a crazy high strikeout rate but you can expect a major rebound. His changeup has always been a great pitch and if the two continue to click he will easily beat out his current ADP.

6) Paul DeJong, STL ADP 212

Not only do I think Paul DeJong will out-produce his ADP but I might go as far as to say most of the St. Louis Cardinals players are being under drafted. The Cardinals had over ten players test positive for COVID-19 in the shortened season. They had to go on a two-week hiatus completely ruining all of their routines. And the only way they could make up the missed games was by playing a lot of doubleheaders. Players are creatures of habit and when you ruin that creature’s routine it can throw off everything about them.

Paul DeJong not only had to deal with a messed up schedule but he also was diagnosed with COVID-19. In an interview with KSDK.com he stated that while he had mild symptoms he certainly felt the effects of the virus.

Overall DeJong didn’t have a great year, he accumulated 174 plate appearances while hitting just three home runs. Looking at his numbers you see a ton of outliers that just don’t make sense compared to his career averages.

As you can tell Paul DeJong just wasn’t Paul DeJong. He has never had a season with a wRC+ under 100. He has never had a season with a wOBA under .300. He has never had an ISO under .190. Last but not least he has never had an HR/FB% under 12.3%. What is even more interesting is his hard-hit rate and exit velocity were actually higher than the year prior. Could you blame the bad season on his strikeout rate rising from 22.4% to 28.7%? Perhaps but he did chase outside of the zone a lot less. The only true red flag is the dip in his contact rate but all of this is such a small sample who knows what to believe.

The COVID-19, a rough schedule, and a small sample we should be leaning on DeJong’s career averages. In 2019 he had a great season where he hit 30 home runs with 175 RBI+Runs and nine stolen bases. Steamer projects him for very similar stats and in 2019 DeJong finished as the 168th ranked player. He is going at 212.