What on earth? Who knew that instead of drafting Carlos Correa in the first round in 2016, you could have gone with Jonathan Villar off the waiver wire instead and ended up with the much better statistical season. The fact you would have likely been kicked out of your league for taking Villar even as high as Round 8 last season tells you how unexpected his insane five-category bonanza season was. Previously a failed Houston Astros prospect who batted just .243 and .209 his first two years in the majors, the light bulb for Villar seemed to go off in 2015 while he was playing for the team’s Triple-A affiliate. It wasn’t until Villar got a much-needed fresh start with the Milwaukee Brewers (after coming over via trade) for the 2016 season that the speedster’s full potential began to manifest itself. The rest as they say is history as Villar went nuts to the tune of setting career-highs in all five standard league categories. Operating out of the team’s leadoff spot, Villar batted .285, scored 92 runs, and ran all year long to the tune of an MLB-leading 62 stolen bases. Perhaps the most shocking development of all was the fact Villar smacked 19 home runs and collected 63 RBI. Considering that from 2013-15, Villar hit a TOTAL of 26 home runs between the minors and majors, one can see just how spectacular a feat that was. While it may be tough to believe in the totality of his numbers, Villar’s massive speed should never be debated and his pure hitting skills have really come along from his Astros days when you see a BB/9 rate last season of 11.6. With Villar waiting for his pitch like never before, the hits began piling up and the average went northward. Now as far as the power is concerned, yes it might be tough to buy into 19 home runs again but keep in mind last season that Villar was just starting to reach his prime at the age of 25. He won’t turn 26 until this May and so Villar is now just getting into his optimum power years. Yes it would be a better idea to expect 15 home runs this season and to consider anything more than that a nice bonus but the total package of Villar is beyond impressive. We are on the side that says Villar is a legit talent who should be picked during the initial first five rounds of your draft.
2017 PROJECTION: .278 17 HR 56 RBI 90 R 54 SB