I know what you are thinking, a breakout from this Padres group? However, hear me out for a second on young Manuel Margot. First off, his stat-line from 2017 was .263/.313/.409 with 13 home runs and 17 steals. These aren’t eye-popping numbers, but still are solid stats from a 22-year-old kid in his first full year in the Major Leagues.
His stolen base rate last year was 70.8% – again, not eye-popping, but good enough for him to keep running. So you’ve heard the numbers, but not the argument on why Margot will be a fantasy stud in 2018. Let’s take a trip to the past, back when Margot was still in the Minor Leagues.
Margot has always been known for his speed. In 2015, he stole 20 bases in 46 games for the then-Single-A Red Sox squad. He ended up stealing 39 bases that season at Single-A and Double-A combined. When he first became part of the Padres system, he started in Triple-A and stole 30 bases there in 2016. These numbers suggest he can improve quite a bit from 17 steals. He has a legitimate chance of taking 30 bags in 2018.
Let’s stray from steals for a bit and talk about his power, something that was less impressive in the minors. In fact, his highest home run total was in 2014, when he hit 12 in 115 games. This was impressive from someone who was only 20 years old at the time. He only hit six home runs for the Padres’ Triple-A team in 2016. So where did the 13 home runs come from, and why will he improve upon it? The first answer is pretty simple. He is 22 years old. The power will continue to develop as he ages. That alone is probably not a good enough answer for you on power. You probably expect me to hit you with some extraordinary stat that convinces you that his power will increase. Well, I can tell you his ISO was higher in the minor leagues, but only marginally so. The Padres home, Petco Park, has become more hitter-friendly than it was previously, and I think that will help play into Margot’s hand as well. Most notably, he increased his launch angle from 4.5 in the first half, to 14.3 in the second half. That quantum leap showed in his power, as he hit 8 of his 13 home runs in the second half. I believe with all those factors mixed in, he can be a 20 HR guy.
So that adds up to a potential 20/30 guy this upcoming year. What about his average? He hit .263 last year with a .309 BABIP. He had a .335 BABIP with the Padres Triple-A team in 2016, which I think more accurately reflects the speedster’s true ceiling. I think his BABIP will come up a bit because of his speed and having had more seasoning in the Major Leagues and believe he can hit around .280. The hard contact could use some work, at only 25.4% in 2017, but it was a healthy 40% in his cup of coffee in 2016 with the Friars.
So, let’s count that up: 20 home runs, 30 steals, and a .280 average. Add that all up, and you have an All-Star fantasy outfielder who is going at an ADP of 148.48 according to Fantrax. In my opinion, this is a steal for a guy who can hit for power and speed because other outfielders like Yasiel Puig are gone by that time. So, the next time you’re in a draft, remember the name, Manuel Margot, because he is going to make his mark in the Major Leagues come 2018.
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