The Numbers Do Lie in Fantasy Baseball: Where are the homers for Vladimir Guerrero Jr.?

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s nine home runs are a lie

Nine homers put Guerrero on a 22-HR pace this season, which is 10 fewer than last year and 26 fewer than 2021. This despite his having arguably the best Statcast numbers of his career while dramatically increasing his launch angle. Guerrero has one of the highest percentages of swings producing hard contact in the league — and one of the biggest differences in slugging and expected slugging among all hitters — yet somehow he has zero home runs at home, despite offseason ballpark changes that had beat writers speculating that the new dimensions created a true “launching pad.”

Rogers Centre was the most favorable park for right-handed homers last season, but it has played the opposite way in 2023, despite moving in the fences.

Guerrero is due for major regression at home, even if we miscalculated the new dimensions, as he’s sporting a 72 wRC+ at Rogers Centre this season, compared to 138 last year. Put differently, Vlad has hit one homer per 28 ABs in 2023, but THE BAT X projects him blasting one HR per 14 ABs rest-of-season.

Bobby Witt Jr.’s .698 OPS is a lie

Witt detractors can point to his lowly .237/.276/.422 line and an OPS that ranks outside the top 125 qualified hitters. But his backers can easily counter with his being on pace to hit 27 homers and steal 51 bases. While he hasn’t quite lived up to his ADP in some leagues, Witt has been a fantasy win as a top-40 player this season. And there’s room for much more moving forward.

Witt is the second-fastest player in the league (first among mortals) and has one of the biggest differences in wOBA and expected wOBA among 250-plus qualified hitters. He also has the second-most outs on balls with an xBA > .500.

Witt turns 23 years old Wednesday and will get better along with his luck; THE BAT X projects an .822 OPS (121 wRC+) rest-of-season.

Reid Detmers’ 4.79 ERA is a lie

Being part of a six-man rotation doesn’t help his fantasy value, but Detmers should start earning more wins while drastically lowering his ERA moving forward. Detmers’ 4.79 ERA is accompanied by a 3.39 FIP that would rank top-20 among starters if he qualified. His SwStr% (13.3) would rank top-10. His K% (27.2) is top-15 among starters, while his Barrel% is in the top 15% of the league — over his last 300 pitches thrown, he has allowed the fewest barrels in baseball.

Detmers has a better CSW than Framber Valdez and Gerrit Cole this season. Detmers’ .377 BABIP is 100 points higher than his hit rate last season and 20-plus points higher than the next-highest starter this season, despite the Angels' fielding a top-10 defense.

Detmers has a tough upcoming start in Texas, but he has real fantasy upside and is available in more than 70% of Yahoo leagues.

Randal Grichuk’s one home run is a lie

Grichuk remains stuck on just one homer in 148 plate appearances, thanks to an anemic 2.7 HR/FB%. His career mark is 15.8%. Grichuk somehow has the one lonely homer despite playing in Coors Field and seeing the biggest increase in launch angle among all hitters this season compared to last.

At-bats shouldn’t be an issue even as Nolan Jones breaks out, given Charlie Blackmon recently fracturing his hand and C.J. Cron still without a timetable to return. Grichuk has yet to homer this year at Coors (yet has a .926 OPS), which has increased HRs for right-handed batters by 26% the past three seasons. He's batting .316 and due for a power explosion, yet he remains available in more than 90% of Yahoo leagues.