Mike Foltynewciz, Pitcher, Atlanta Braves
Folty had a terrible start to his 2019 season. His first half of the season was a complete dumpster fire that was impossible to put out. Foltynewciz was coming off of an All-Star appearance in 2018 where he had a 4.0 WAR. He was supposed to be the ace of a potential playoff team but that’s not how it went for him.
Foltynewicz had a real problem with the long ball. His HR/FB rate increased by 7% in 2019, giving up 16 homers in the first half of the season. He was sent to the minors in order to figure out what was causing the regression. The send down was exactly what was needed for the potential ace. The second half of the season showed the pitcher that the Braves thought they would have in 2019. The second half of the season.
The Braves added a few veteran starters in Felix Hernandez and Cole Hamels. The two veterans will help stabilize the rotation and give leadership to a young rotation. Foltynewciz will now have two players to turn to if things begin to go wrong. Look for a bounce back season from the fireballer.
Jose Ramirez, 3B, Cleveland Indians
The bar was set very high for Jose Ramirez. Two straight seasons finishing third in the MVP voting. Ramirez was an offensive beast in 2017 and 2018 finishing both seasons with a WRC+ of 146. Ramirez was putting himself in elite categories of offensive players in all of baseball. Then a slump of epic proportion took place actually beginning for him in late August of 2018 continuing into June 0f 2019.
Ramirez was having problems hitting fastballs.
Before August 18, 2018- BA .336
After August 18, 2018- BA. 190
Ramirez began facing more shifts.
Before August 18, 2020- Shift percentage 18%
After August 18, 2020- Shift percentage 60%
Ramirez BABIP plummeted.
Before August 18, 2018- .301
After August 18 208- .209
The slump to start the 2019 season put Ramirez in a hole that was tough to pull out of. He began to make adjustments that turned his season around. His slash line in the second half showed the player that was a preseason MVP candidate .327/.365/.729. The return of power for Ramirez was a huge factor in the turn around of his season. His .412 ISO and a .302 BABIP propelled him back to offensive relevancy. Heading into the 2020 season Ramirez has a chance to reestablish himself as a premier hitter in the league.
Justin Upton, OF, Los Angeles Angels
A knee injury plagued Upton’s 2019 season, only playing in only 63 games. Upton will have a chance to bounce back in 2020 if fully healthy. The Angels have loaded up talent around Upton with the addition of Anthony Rendon. Upton will be battin being Mike Trout and Rendon giving him ample opportunity to drive in runs, something that he has done throughout his career. When fully healthy Upton has the ability to be a premium level producer. His 2018 campaign was below his usual level of production but he still produced a wRC+ of 123 and hit thirty homers.
A fully healthy Justin Upton will be a force in the middle of a potentially explosive offense in Los Angeles.
Marcell Ozuna, OF, Atlanta Braves
Marcell was supposed to have a huge payday this offseason. Unfortunately he was a by product of the new analytical world. Ozuna’s ISO (.231) and OPS (.800) are both above league average but doesn’t warrant the nine digit contract he was looking for. The Braves took a chance on Ozuna signing him to a one-year “prove it” deal that has become popular among major league teams. Ozuna’s 2019 team was not horrible but he has elite skills that will thrive in the steamy summers in Atlanta.
Ozuna had a portion of bad luck in 2019 with a BABIP of just .257, the lowest of his career. Despite the low batting average he actually had the best hard hit percentage of his career at 48.4%. Ozuna has real power that will thrive in a more hitter friendly park in Atlanta. With the MLB season being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic Ozuna will have a chance to heal up heading into the season and should be able to show the potential we all saw when he was traded to St. Louis in 2017.
Cory Knebel, Pitcher, Milwaukee Brewers
Yu Darvish, Pitcher, Chicago Cubs
Ian Happ, Utility, Chicago Cubs
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds
Alex Wood, Pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers