Willy Adames, 2022 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper

So, the Steamer projections are out. They’re not done yet. Well, they’re done, as in Steamer is done with theirs, but our projections are not done yet. Our projections take Steamer projections and alter them with Rudy’s special sauce. That’s why you’ll see analysis of baseball projections and see stuff like Steamer and Steamer/Razzball projections. Here’s Jeff Zimmerman of FanGraphs doing analysis of preseason projections from the past year. To quote him, “Continuing a theme from the early season pitcher projections, Razzball absolutely crushed the innings and strikeout projections.” *Rudy does a curtsy.* Technically, when people say Steamer projections, they don’t mean Steamer projections either. They mean FanGraphs/Steamer or Razzball/Steamer. Steamer doesn’t do playing time, so there’s no such thing as, “Steamer projected Brandon Woodruff for 203 IP.” FanGraphs or Razzball might’ve projected someone for that, but not Steamer; they give rates. I bring this up, because Steamer/FanGraphs (based off their depth charts) gives Willy Adames 23/7/.252 in 143 games. (That essentially means if he saw 200 games, he’d get 32 homers.) Just to catch everyone up, this past year Willy Adames went 25/5/.262 in 140 games (497 ABs), so Steamer is basically expecting him to repeat the same year, minus two homers and some average. Last preseason, Steamer/Razzball gave him 17/7/.245, after he was coming off a 8/2/.259 season in 54 games. Lot of numbers there, but I guess my point is this: Preseason projections are great, ours are real and spectacular, but — and this is a J. Lo-sized but — projections stay close to the vest and follow a guy’s career path. If Adames had hit 17 homers this past year, he wouldn’t be projected for 24, and if he hit 35 homers, he’d be projected for more. These sleeper posts are meant to find the guys who are going to exceed their projections, which is why these guys are riskier, but also where you’re going to make it *rains dollar bills.* Turn your umbrella upside down so you can collect these dollar bills, which are still worth about .0000000000000000000000001 of a Bitcoin. So, what can we expect from Willy Adames for 2022 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Psyche! Before we get into the Willy Adames sleeper post, just wanted to announce that I’ve begun to roll out my 2022 fantasy baseball rankings on our Patreon. It’s an early Xmas miracle! Like The Power of the Dog. It’s on Netflix, and it was dope; you should watch. Anyway II, the Willy Adames sleeper:

Guess we should start with how I expect Willy Adames to exceed projections-slash-expectations. After his trade to the Brewers, Willy Adames said a curious thing. He said, “What if a woodchuck couldn’t chuck wood?” Sad, but curious. He also said, he hated hitting in The Trop. What, you don’t like boxed juices, Mr. Adames? This guy’s real high-falutin! Usually I take what players say with a big grain of salt. A grain of juice, in this case. Guys say nonsense like, “My cleats were tight last year, so I’m running more this year,” then they steal one bag all year. Or, “I was struggling with my timing, which is why I only hit .210.” When in reality, he was sleeping with the travel secretary and she was threatening to tell his wife, and he couldn’t focus on hitting. Never trust what players say without a grain of salt. So, when Willy Adames said he didn’t like The Trop, I figured, “Meh, his wife wants to take the kids from him, and he’s trying to fight for custody,” or something. But then I looked at his numbers and his road homers: 6/.324 in that eight-homer 2020 year. 15/.303 in 2019 in a year when he only hit 5/.204 in home games. These are extreme road/home splits. These back up Adames’s anecdote and it’s not the travel secretary. In April with the Rays, he hit .169. Then he was traded in May, and he took off. He hit five homers, four months in a row, then three homers in September (he hit 2 homers in April with the Rays). His monthly averages: .169, .277, .265, .315, .287, and .241. So, maybe he does go 23/.251 as Steamer projects, but, once he was traded, he went 20/.285 in 365 ABs. I think those Steamer projections are failing to account for the legit change in environment for Adames. He said he felt better, and I believe him. But wait, there’s more!

Willy Adames’s 16.8 Launch Angle was easily the high of his career, and it produced a 40.6% fly balls, and roughly a 21% HR/FB in Milwaukee (I did rough math, you’ll get over your outrage). Now they have different levels of contact, so I don’t want you to lose your eyeballs from your head, but 40% fly ball rate and 21% HR/FB would produce something close to Mitch Haniger’s 39 homers. I will now fall over laughing while imaging myself drafting Willy Adames in every league. Did you say 39 homers from Willy Adames?! Grey, you so crazy, I wanna have your baby! Okay, no, I don’t expect Willy Adames to hit 39 homers, I’m just saying that when I look for comparisons of him in Milwaukee vs. Tampa it goes from Leury Garcia to Mitch Haniger, so that’s butter that’s melting across the hot stove. For 2022, I’ll give Willy Adames projections of 81/30/88/.266/6 in 563 ABs with a chance for more.

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