Jonathan Villar is currently rostered in just 70% of Ottoneu 5x5 leagues. Here’s why you should consider adding him this weekend.
Villar signing with the Mets this offseason was a bit of a surprise, despite a disappointing 2020. In 2019, he turned in an all-star worthy 4.1 fWAR season and seemed poised to find a starting role somewhere. Plus, the Mets had what appeared to be a loaded batting order already in place.
Fast forward 4 months and Villar is an integral part of a depleted Amazin’s lineup that has been ravaged by the historic number of injuries that have happened this year. Villar has started every game since May 3 and he has led off for the last week.
I think we can expect him to remain in the starting lineup for at least the next few weeks. Jeff McNeil’s hamstring strain is reportedly expected to keep him out until late June. Word is J.D. Davis will resume swinging a bat this weekend, but over just the last week he has dealt with neck tightness, been pulled off his minor league rehab assignment for treatment on his left hand, and had an MRI on that hand that showed “inflammation in his joints.”
They would be the only players who would push Villar off of third base, where he has been playing regularly. Plus, Villar qualifies at 2B/3B/SS in Ottoneu and can play the outfield in a pinch. And with Brandon Nimmo, Pete Alonso, and Michael Conforto all far from returning from injury, he could stick atop the lineup as well.
To give you an idea of what he is capable of with this much playing time, ZiPS projects Villar to hit 11 more homers and steal 26 more bases this season (he has 4 HR and 5 SB already). That is much higher than other projection systems, but remember he hit 24 bombs and swiped 40 bags in 2019.
Looking forward, he’s currently sporting a .284 BABIP, so basically the same as the current league average of .287, but far below his career average of .340 coming into the year, so it seems he’s been getting unlucky. His walk rate has been inching up every year since 2017 and now sits at 10.6%. Better luck and continued walks should keep his OBP respectable, leading to more stolen base opportunities.
On Tuesday, he hit his hardest ball of the season so far (108.9 mph) and since May 3, his HardHit% is 36.2%. It was just 18.5% through May 2. Additionally, his launch angle over that time was 11.1, he’s never before been in double digits in his career. The increase in power and a higher launch angle should lead to more home runs.
Quite simply, Jonathan Villar has always had the ability to hit home runs and steal bases and now he has the opportunity, for at least the next several weeks, to do just that.
*All statistics are through May 27.
(Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)