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Over/Under 2021 Preview: Yu Chang

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Will Yu Chang be worth more or less than 0.4 fWAR in 2021?

Cleveland Indians Summer Workouts Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Based on ZiPS projections, Yu Chang is expected to finish 2021 with the following stats:

395 PA, 10 HR, 4 SB, 8.1 BB%, 31.1 K%, .211/.282/.352, 62 wRC+, 0.4 fWAR

Read what our writers think, then vote in the poll below and drop your own opinions in the comments and on the Let’s Go Tribe Discord.

Matt Lyons’s Prediction: UNDER

Even before Cleveland started amassing major-league-ready middle infielders, I would have taken the under on Yu Chang’s projected statline. Now that they have Amed Rosario, Andrés Giménez, Owen Miller, César Hernández, Mike Freeman, Tyler Freeman, Brayan Rocchio, and Gabriel Arias at least potentially competing for the utility role, I wouldn’t be surprised if Yu Chang does not take a single at-bat with Cleveland this season.

Chang came into summer camp last July looking much better than he did in the spring, with adjustments to his hips helping him get to the ball quicker. Corrected hips matched with his quick hands, manager Terry Francona thought for sure the world would start to see some of Chang’s potential shine through once the season got underway. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

Spending most of his time at the team’s alternate site, Chang had just 13 plate appearances in 2020 and he has 97 in his two-year stint with Cleveland. In that time, he has shown none of the power that had him hitting 20 home runs as a 20-year-old shortstop in Double-A — though he has shown that he can draw walks against major-league pitching.

Perhaps that’s a rhythm and comfort issue that could get better with more playing time, but I just don’t think he gets it this year, or maybe ever, in Cleveland. It’s too early to completely give up on his potential, and with one option year left he’s the perfect candidate to ride the bench while Andrés Giménez has his service time manipulated, then get optioned when Giménez is “ready” for the majors again.

I would maybe take the over on ZiPS projected slugging percentage for Chang if his adjustments from last summer can stick over a full season, but that’s probably it. This is one of the players I would be happy to be proven wrong on, though.

Poll

Will Yu Chang finish 2021 with an fWAR over or under 0.4?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Over
    (17 votes)
  • 84%
    Under
    (93 votes)
110 votes total Vote Now