It's Time to Fully Buy Into Yasmany Tomas in Fantasy Baseball
Trivia time, friends! First up: of the 57 major leaguers who have hit at least 17 home runs this season, how many of them are available in at least two thirds of ESPN leagues?
The answer -- for those of you with lives who haven't memorized the ownership percentages of every person to ever sniff the major leagues -- is two. The first is easy to understand, and that's Brandon Moss, who is currently on the disabled list.
The other is not such an easy grasp. This guy hits at a power spot in the order and plays in one of the best parks for offense in the league. He's also eligible at two separate positions, only 25 years old, and just unleashed these beautiful beasts on the Milwaukee Brewers last night.
#ElTanque is on 🔥🔥🔥 this road trip.https://t.co/O5XwmxYgqe
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 28, 2016
Hey @eltanquetomas - don't stop whatever it is that you're doing. 🔥https://t.co/PNKIEZtnmJ
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 28, 2016
It's time to start giving Yasmany Tomas the respect he deserves.
What's even more baffling for Tomas is that he has the peripheral stats to back up his top-tier traditional stats. Once you see what lies beyond the surface-level information for Tomas, it'll be pretty clear that this is a guy you want on your rosters as soon as possible.
Trivia time, part two. Of the 157 qualified batters this year, how many of them have better hard-hit rates than Tomas? Matt Carpenter is a gosh darn saint, so he was a given. Then there's the ageless wonder, David Ortiz, and the still-crushing Trevor Story. Joey Votto sits in fourth place at 43.3%.
Then, in fifth place, we come to Tomas. Hot diggity dog.
Jake Lamb -- deservedly so -- was the darling of all of us stats nerds prior to the All-Star break as you could see the immense value in his 41.7% hard-hit rate. Lamb doesn't even lead his own team in the stat, though, as that honor belongs to Tomas at 42.3%. This isn't to say that Tomas is better than Lamb, who has a much more favorable walk rate and better soft-hit rate, but the two aren't as far apart as they may seem.
What's even more drool-worthy about Tomas is that he thrashes both right- and left-handed pitchers. Check out his splits below, and while it does show that he is better against lefties, his numbers versus righties are still superb.
|Handedness||Strikeout Rate||Walk Rate||Hard-Hit Rate||Soft-Hit Rate|
|Versus Right-Handed Pitchers||24.5%||4.3%||41.9%||16.8%|
|Versus Left-Handed Pitchers||24.5%||9.6%||43.6%||12.9%|
The only qualified righty with a higher hard-hit rate against same-handed pitchers this year is Josh Donaldson. That's it. This kid is stupid-good.
If we were to provide one criticism of Tomas, it would likely come to his fly-ball rate. At just 29.5%, it's not as conducive to big-time homer numbers as you would get with a player at 35.0% or higher. This year's mark is certainly better than last year's 23.2% showing, but you'd ideally like it to move a bit higher, and Tomas hasn't recently shown a trend in that direction. Even still, when he does loft it, the ball will do some damage.
So, why isn't Tomas already occupying a roster spot in all fantasy leagues yet? Despite the destruction, he does still come with one minor concern, and it's one that could be amplified very quickly.
Last year was great for Tomas because he could float between third base and the outfield, allowing his bat to stay in the order pretty consistently. This year, though, Lamb has shut that door at the hot corner, forcing Tomas to relegate himself to solely outfield duty. That could put him in a squeeze in the not-so-distant future.
Fellow outfielder David Peralta has been on the disabled list since mid-June, but that absence won't last much longer.
#Dbacks Hale say David Peralta will rejoin team Friday.
— Steve Gilbert (@SteveGilbertMLB) July 26, 2016
His return (and Lamb's from a sore hand) would leave Peralta, Tomas, Michael Bourn, Chris Owings, Brandon Drury, and Rickie Weeks all battling for three outfield spots. It seems likely that Drury or Owings would return to Triple-A, but that's still a lot of mouths to feed and not a lot of resources to go around.
Remember that A.J. Pollock guy who hit 20 tanks and swiped 39 bags last year? His season's not done yet, either.
A.J. Pollock taking flips in the cage at SRF. Later, will take BP on the field for the first time in his rehab. pic.twitter.com/zI794xDdT6
— Chris Gabel (@Chris_Gabel) July 27, 2016
Pollock's return clearly isn't imminent, but it'll be a factor at some point. That's another potential ding to Tomas' fantasy value if he can't nail down every-day plate appearances.
All of these are legitimate concerns, but even they don't explain why Tomas is still so widely available. The Diamondbacks backed a truck filled with money up to his crib last year, and he's absolutely crushing the baseball. With the team not pushing for the playoffs, why would they choose guys like Weeks or Bourn over Tomas? There is no logical reason to do so. That doesn't mean they won't do it -- this is the team that traded the first overall pick for Shelby Miller, after all -- but it would seem unlikely that Tomas' playing time would simply evaporate.
With all of this in mind, it's time to go all-in on Tomas as a fantasy asset. If you can pick him up in a league -- no matter how shallow it may be -- you should do so. If he's already owned, it's time to float out a trade offer or two. It may feel as if you're buying high, but this guy has the peripheral stats to back up the hot streak, and his Gucciness isn't leaving this world any time soon.