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Bridges of Fantasy County: Why You Should Own Ryon Healy

Ryon Healy by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Bridges of Fantasy County: Why You Should Own Ryon Healy

Estimated Reading Time: 7 Minutes

Today is June 10th, and I am officially giving you all permission to start taking a good long look at your team and where you are in the standing. It’s time to be ruthless and make some hard decisions. That guy you’ve been waiting on all season to wake up? It’s not happening. You can cut him. Move on. Now is the time to right the ship.

*Surfs the web and sees what Brian Dozier did after the All Star Break last year*

OK, obviously there will always be exceptions.

*Continues to surf the web. Sees how many homeruns Matt Kemp had after he got traded to Atlanta in 2016*

You know…ok…sometimes maybe patience does pay off. June isn’t a time to panic all things considered. But how about that Jay Bruce guy, though! What a season! At least he’s on my roster. What could possibly go wrong???

*Pulls up Jay Bruce’s player page. Sees that Bruce is historically a 1st half player*

Forget it! Whatever. It’s like this fantasy thing is unpredictable and changes on a dime, and we really know nothing moving forward. After all, aren’t we all just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks? That’s an analogy one of my actor friends used once to describe showbiz, and I think it’s pretty applicable to the fantasy game.

All rash generalizations aside, there is one guy in particular I want to focus on this week. One particular spaghetti noodle I was really high on throwing against the wall before the season. Really trying it on this spaghetti analogy, guys. Anyways, I mentioned him in my first article this season previewing what I was looking for heading into 2017. That guy is A’s 3B Ryon Healy, and I cannot believe I’m saying this, but he still may be unowned in your league. Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-check it. On the mic one two.

Ryon Healy Ownership Percentages:




And here’s why that’s crazy.

As of this writing, Healy has 25 R/13 HR/34 RBI with a .276/.306/.516 triple slash. That’s usable, yeah? That’s a good noodle! Unfortunately for Healy homers like myself, a lot of corner men are having good years. In fact, he’s only the #19 third baseman on the ESPN Player Rater. That’s horrible, you may be thinking. This pasta is not al dente, you may be saying to yourself. But, when we consider that the likes of Travis Shaw, Chris Taylor, Josh Harrison, and Jedd Gyorko are ahead of him on that thing, our minds should be put at ease. Do you really think Chris Taylor and Travis Shaw are going to end with better stats than Healy? Me either.

What’s important to note and really stands out to me goes back to what he did last year. In his brief 283 plate appearances at the major league level last season, he posted 36 R/13 HR/37 RBI with a .305/.337/.524 triple slash. This season he has almost matched all of those numbers in just 235 plate appearances. That makes two stretches of almost 250 at-bats with this kind of production. The BABIP of .322 also sits just slightly under his .339 career average, so it’s not like he’s due for major regression. Starts to make you think this is who he’s going to be, doesn’t it?

So, let’s riff off of those numbers and do a little speculating. If he’s now put up that production in two 250 at bat stretch (give or take), let’s stretch that out to a full season. Assuming health, is it not entirely possible that he could hit 15 more HRs the rest of the way with…let’s say 49 RBIs and 45 runs. Seems reasonable? I think so. In fact, that’s exactly what ZIPS is projecting for him the rest of the way. Steamer and Depth Charts are a little less optimistic, but not by much. Let’s say the optimistic ZIPS projection came true. Healy would end with this stat line:

70 R/28 HR/83 RBI with roughly a .270/.305/.460 triple slash

Any takers for that kind of a season? In an OBP league, that leaves a bit to be desired, but we will get to the issues there. Considering where you drafted him, I’d say that’s a solid season for a small investment on draft day. If he was even drafted at all in your league.

In fact, using that full season projection, he basically gives you the season that Maikel Franco did a year ago (67 R/25 HR/88 RBI with .255 AVG and a .306 OBP). Yasmany Tomas hit slightly more homeruns that Healy’s projections, but again, his 2016 comparison is pretty good too (72 R/31 HR/83 RBI with a .272 AVG and .313 OBP). Obviously, these guys aren’t world beaters, but this is Top 15 3B material right here. AND he’s only 25 this season. There is room to grow. Who knows what kinds of seasons we will have from him once he hits his prime slugging years. This spaghetti noodle is already looking better. This is who Healy was in the minors too. Let’s examine further. Here’s an actual picture of some spaghetti Healy ate when he played for the AA Midland Rock Hounds:

In 2014, a year after he was drafted by the A’s in the third round, he hit a respectable 16 HRs with 73 runs and 83 RBIs in A+ Stockton. I swear I have seen those stats before. Yes, I know it was High A Stockton, but accept my confirmation bias here, please!

2015 was a bit of an outlier for him as he only posted a 63 R/10 HR/62 RBI season but still amassed a decent triple slash of.302/.339/.426. A slight regression in power that season, but nothing to cause major alarm.

It was back to business last year as he smashed 27 taters over the course of three levels (AA, AAA, and MLB) with 13 of those came against big boy pitching. His slugging percentage has usually hung out in the .500 range even through his minor league stops, and there is no evidence to suggest this won’t be possible at the majors. He’s been affectionately nicknamed “Baby Josh Donaldson” by some pundits, and though that is bold, I could see consistent 30 HR,80-90 RBI power with a .270 AVG in his prime years.

Are you not convinced yet?!

Because I’m a fair and just blogger, I will explore a negative or two here. I guess. First of all, the 25.5% K-rate is concerning to me. In the minors he was closer to a 15-19%, so this gives me hope that the more he adjusts to major league pitching, the lower this number will get.

Also, the man hasn’t learned how to take a walk yet. Or like ever. He doesn’t walk. He’s working a 3.8% BB rate, and that explains why he has a paltry .306 OBP so far this season. Take a walk, my man! He’s never been very adept at it considering his minor league stats, so this may be what comes with the territory. Could the strikeouts and lack of walks also mean that he never cracks the Top 10 as a third baseman? Possibly, but shut up and leave me alone. I’m still enamored!

And finally, for lack of a better phrase, he plays for the A’s. The A’s suck to put it delicately. This is not a lineup that puts fear into the hearts of opponents everywhere. They’re 26-34, and considering their division, I think they’re right on par with expectations for the season.

Regardless, he has generally been hitting out of the 6th spot in the order, which usually puts him in front of Stephen Vogt (gag), Trevor Plouffe (yikes), and whoever they trot out to fill in for the oft-injured Rajai Davis. Doesn’t exactly make you think he’s got the potential for Donaldson-esque runs. I get it, I really do. However, this is a guy who still appears to be getting his despite the clown shoes around him. And if Khris Davis and Yonder Alonso would stop mashing all the taters and get on base for him, maybe he would have a 90 RBI season! You can’t have it all, I guess.

Now, what to do with this information? First of all, I’d be ok if you wanted to jump off the Toddfather’s sinking ship. Yes, he has been hotter recently, but I can’t deal with the .215 batting average. Also, if you are tired of waiting on Beltre to get healthy, maybe this is a train you need to hop aboard.

In truth, I think dynasty owners are the ones who would be remiss on not getting shares of Healy. I implore you to acquire him before the price rises. He’s never going to lead the majors in HRs, but this is a solid corner infield and eventual top 10 3rd baseman in the making.

This is a situation where we will all get to October, look back on the season, see Healy’s quiet 25+ HR season and think…wait what? Here I was waiting for the Toddfather to come around, and Healy was doing that? Wasn’t he on the waiver wire until like…May 20th? Yes. Yes, he was, friends. And he’s been my man-crush since March. Now, go spread the good word of Healy! There’s plenty of seats available on this hype train!

Give me a follow on Twitter @jakebridges03!

Jake is an NYC based actor who loves to put off daily responsibilities by writing and researching about all things fantasy baseball and college football. He is a life long Auburn Tigers fan, and yes, he does have the same SEC bias as ESPN. Most days, he can be found reminiscing about the 1990s Braves teams or complaining about their rebuild. Auburn 26 Alabama 14. #WDE

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