As mentioned many times in the past, there’s different types of fantasy baseball sleepers. They can’t all be, “Who the H-E-double hockey sticks are you talking about?” Some guys are going to be no dur sleepers. Jake McCarthy is interesting because I think he might be both, depending on what kind of league you’re in. I could see him being a “What the H-E-double hockey sticks” in some leagues with people who are immersed in fantasy baseball all year long. There’s others though, who don’t follow fantasy baseball year-round. and these people are the real freaks. They have lives six months of the year when there’s no baseball? That sounds nuts, to be honest. For those absolute freaks, they might not realize how good Jake McCarthy was last year, and could let him slip in drafts. The slightly hilarious thing is the big box sites like ESPN are in this group, as they also cater to the freaks. I have no idea at this point, as I write this in October, and you read it in December, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jake McCarthy ranked around 275 overall at ESPN, if at all. He’s the kind of guy that is just completely overlooked. Therefore, ergo, vis-a-vie, if you’re seeing Jake McCarthy 2023 fantasy baseball sleeper and thinking, “No dur.” You’re right, he should be no dur, but he won’t be no dur for all people. If you’re thinking, “Okay, if you’re writing this for freaks, and I’m reading it, does it make me a freak?” No, you’re reading this in December. You’re no freak. Unless you read this in March. Then you be a freak. So, what can we expect from Jake McCarthy for 2023 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
Psyche! Before we get into the Jake McCarthy sleeper post, just wanted to announce that I’ve begun to roll out my 2023 fantasy baseball rankings on our Patreon. It’s an early Hanukkah miracle! Or late Hanukah miracle, depending on when Hanukkah is this year. The Jews should really decide on one day to start Hanukah each year, and stick with it. It’s better for branding. Anyway II, the Jake McCarthy sleeper:
In 230 at-bats in the 2nd half, Jake McCarthy stole 21 bags and was caught only three times (and one of those was a steal of home). Oh, and he hit five homers. Hey, not to grab a random top 15 overall player from back in the day, but is his full name Jacoby Ellsbury McCarthy? Can we get eyes on his birth certificate? Also, is Jacoby Ellsbury a time traveler? Has he returned as a Diamondback? I got questions, y’all! So, with Jacoby Ellsbury–excuse me Jake McCarthy, or so he says he is, he absolutely hot schmotato’d in the 2nd half, right? We can’t just prorate that out…*devilishly looks both ways*…can we? But he stole 21 bags in 63 games. That’s elite speed, right? Yeah, Broseph Jonas, I’m interested. Could he steal 50 bags? That’s what Grey said!
Okay, that’s my thoughts on his speed, which is the most obvious aspect to his game, so onto to the more interesting and less obvious elements to his game. Call them the unobtainium elements to his game. His Launch Angle (8) and 28.6% fly ball rate are a little “Larry David making the meh face.” You don’t really want someone with his speed hitting lots of fly balls, but I don’t think he was cheated with his eight homers. He had a 4.8% Barrel rate and 87.4 MPH exit velocity, which honestly might be some of the worst numbers I’ve seen in a sleeper. If homeboy didn’t have 200 horsepower and go gallop-gallop, I might not be here with a sleeper post.
Also, I’m a little concerned about his home/away splits. The DumbBacks made their once-great-hitting park a bit of a nightmare for guys with warning track power. The three-year rolling average for Arizona puts it around 25th in the league with PNC, another crap stadium, and last year Arizona was 29th in the league, only better than the Oakland Coliseum. Return humidors to cigar stores and get them out of baseball parks! Jake McCarthy is only 25 years of age, and has shown power at the last few stages of the minors, but he feels like a guy who we’d more likely see a 5/35 season from than 20/40. So, McCarthy is more “every year of Ellsbury” than that one random year when Ellsbury hit 32 homers. Usually Steamer is pretty conservative with projections, but giving McCarthy 16 homers in 150-ish games feels way more like a ceiling projection than realistic. Hey, Steamer, you been hanging out with Mr. Prorater? “If you were to teach your dog how to poop into plastic bags, you’d save 47.5 hours in your lifetime.” Oh, shut up, Mr. Prorater!
Finally, Jake McCarthy makes decent contact (21.5% strikeout rate, 74.4% contact rate). They’re near-league averages. His BABIP should be a bit inflated, maybe .325, and his walk rate will sit around 8-9.5%. It’s a .260-ish average with neutral luck. Maybe .265 if the BABIP can stay a little high based on the speed. He hits a lot of ground balls, so the lack of the shift might benefit him even if his exit velocity is kinda bleh. ACKSHUALLY, the dribblers he hits might help his average. Hit doinkers, and run, Forrest, run. For 2023, I’ll give Jake McCarthy projections of 86/11/71/.263/33 in 561 ABs with a chance for more.