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Fantasy Baseball Statcast Review: Michael Busch, Kyle Tucker, Juan Soto

Fantasy Baseball Statcast Review: Michael Busch, Kyle Tucker, Juan Soto

Let’s start with the obvious; a winning fantasy baseball lineup requires production at the plate. When a player puts the ball in play and records a barrel, production typically follows. At a minimum, barrels in the field of play yield a BA of .500 and a SLG of 1.50. For more details on barrels click here.

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Fantasy managers must monitor players who produce at a high level by recording barrels consistently. Barrel percentage (BRL%) is the rate a player records barrels across their batted ball events (BBEs). Below are the BRL% leaders between April 10th and April 16th, how their BRL% compares to the week prior (April 3rd to April 9th), and the subsequent fantasy outlook.

*All players must record a minimum of 20 plate appearances (PAs) in both windows to qualify.

Statcast Review

Michael Busch (1B – CHC) – 35.7%

Michael Busch has been on fire. Over the six games in this window, he made 26 PAs going 6-for-21 with five HRs, seven RBIs and five BBs. His BRL% of 37.5% is up 23.2 points from the previous window, the largest gain of this group. Having logged just 45 games in the big leagues, the sustainability of this elite production for Busch is hard to pinpoint.

On the other hand, the 2024 season is a large step forward at the plate for the Cubs 1B after slashing .167/.247/.292 over 81 PAs in 2023. This past week has propelled Busch to seventh overall in OPS this season at 1.073, he is the leader in OPS at 1B and is tied with Pete Alonso for the HR lead at 1B with six. Busch is an everyday fantasy starter for the time being. With his upside, he should only be shopped for proven performers as Busch managers will have suitors for the 26-year-old after his quick start.

Juan Soto (RB – NYY) – 31.6%

Juan Soto led MLB in total BRLs in this window with six and posted a .273 BA along with six BBs. Notwithstanding, there weren’t many extra bases as four of his six hits were singles accompanied by one HR and one double. Soto also posted four RBIs but did not steal a base. While his managers would prefer more SLG over these six games, Soto increased his BRL% by 15.8 points from the previous window.

If he continues to improve his BRL%, his early 2024 SLG of .500 should only improve for consistent power production. The sky is the limit for Soto this year in New York; he will be protected with Aaron Judge hitting behind him all year. As a lefty, he has a short porch in right at Yankee Stadium. Soto should be held by his managers and started religiously with an AL MVP ceiling in play.

Jose Siri (CF – TB) – 27.3%

While Jose Siri posted a strong BRL% in this window, he did not produce any notable output with a scarce BBE total of 11 over 23 PAs. Siri hit .143, posted zero RBIs, had a pair of singles and one double. This didn’t leave his managers much to appreciate but his BRL% did increase by 16.2% from the previous window. On the year, Siri is slashing .210/.315/.323 along with one HR, five RBIs and a citable 31 strikeouts.

Siri appears capable of hitting the ball hard but must reduce his strikeout rate of 41.9% and put the bat to the ball consistently to improve his fantasy impact. He is likely rotating in and out of lineups and should be considered a spot starter in the early leg of the season. If Siri improves his ability to make contact his BRL% will be key in replicating the 25 HRs he hit a season ago.

Kyle Tucker (OF – HOU) – 23.8%

Kyle Tucker raised his BRL% by an impressive 19.6 points week to week and booked the production to prove it. He finished with three HRs, seven RBIs, eight BBs and scored six runs over seven games. Of his 21 BBEs, 14 were hard hits (HHs) and five were BRLs. While Tucker hit only .208, he slugged .667, which unquestionably impacted his managers’ lineups. This is a testament to getting the barrel to the ball, as the HHs yield more fantasy production.

Tucker currently is 14th overall in RBIs with 14 on the season. He should pace inside the top 20 in RBIs, at worst, if he continues to improve his quality of contact. After missing the 30/30 club by a single HR last season, Tucker’s managers should regard him as a top-10 fantasy asset. He appears to be seeing the ball better and the Astros have plenty of room for improvement in supporting his efforts.

Willy Adames (SS – MIL) – 23.5%

Willy Adames filled the SS slot nicely for his managers over six games in this window. Adames posted a BA of .391, which founded his stellar OBP of .481. With a 6.8-point increase in BRL% from the previous window, he recorded a .609 SLG and posted an OPS of 1.090. This all came by the way of six singles, two doubles, one HR, six RBIs and seven runs scored.

Adames is seventh at SS in OPS, putting him ahead of last year’s pace in the category, when he finished 11th at his position. The 28-year-old Brewer is a power-oriented player who can be used in lineups daily but may also be made available in trade discussions if managers have other needs. He is slashing .308/.400/.508 with a .908 OPS on the year. He has the potential to return valuable players as these marks are well above his career averages on a 162-game pace.

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