Good day Razzballers, and Happy Mothers Day to all you mothers out there:
We are watching history. While 2022 isn’t exactly the Dead-Ball Era that Babe Ruth revolutionized, the league-wide batting average is around .230, the implementation of the DH in the National League seemingly has no positive effect on slugging percentage yet (Brandon Drury is the primary DH for the Cincinnati Reds), and balls that would normally be home runs are falling short of warning tracks.
Now that we are a month into the season, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at some shortstops around the league and assess whether their starts to their season are fact or fiction.
Note: Player stats are current entering play Sunday, 5/8/22.
Bo Bichette – Toronto Blue Jays – Bo is slashing 14/3/14/.244/.226. For those who invested a first round pick in Bichette, have no fear. Bichette is rocking career high average exit velocity and hard hit rates. Once he starts hitting less grounders, his stats will start looking like last year’s.
Bichette’s slow start? Fiction
Tim Anderson – Chicago White Sox – The injuries the White Sox have dealt with have put more pressure on Anderson to be the lineup catalyst he usually is. Tim is showing no signs of slowing down, batting 15/4/9/.337/.365, while leading shortstops in barrel rate at 11%.
Anderson’s hot start? Fact
Corey Seager – Texas Rangers – Although Corey was intentionally walked with the bases loaded earlier this year, Kyle’s younger brother is no Barry Bonds, owning a 10/4/12/.258/.314 line. Will he rebound to his career norms and be a productive player for 2022? Sure, his Savant page gives me confidence. If I were Rangers management, I wouldn’t have given him a $325 million deal though.
Seager’s slow start? Fiction
Eugenio Suarez – Seattle Mariners – Eugenio has escaped the disaster that is the 4-23 Cincinnati Reds, and owns a 15/6/17/.210/.307 line. When Suarez makes contact, he is making hard contact. The problem is, he’s striking out almost 30% of the time. The power can be valuable if you can take the batting average hit, but in 2022, can anyone really take the average hit? Suarez seems to be the modern-day Adam Dunn.
Suarez’s slow start? Fact
Willy Adames – Milwaukee Brewers – Checking in on Razzball’s favorite shortstop sleeper entering the year, Adames owns a respectable 21/8/22/.236/.341 line. Even better news: Per Statcast, his expected numbers all outpace his current stats (xBA of .292, xSLG of .642, and an xWOBA of .428). As the weather heats up, so will Adames.
Is Adames legit? Fact
Francisco Lindor – New York Mets – Lindor’s been slumping this past week, slashing 16/5/17/.241/.322 on the season. However, the counting stats are there. Met fans would surely like to see that batting average higher – his xBA is .269, so the .241 average on the season seems to be a product of Lindor’s recent slump, magnified due to only a month of games being played. In the few Met games I’ve seen this year, Lindor looks a lot more loose and comfortable during his second year in New York. A cursory glance at his Savant plate discipline numbers indicates he has more control of the strike zone and is being more selective with regards to searching for his pitch to hit – check out the difference between 2021 and 2022. When we look back at the 2022 season, I think we’ll see a typical season Lindor enjoyed with the Indians.
Is Lindor legit? Fact
Jazz Chisholm Jr – Miami Marlins – Would it even be a Razzball shortstops post without the mention of Jazz Chisholm? Jazz is still hot, slashing 15/4/20/.313/.359, chipping in 6 steals, and showing no signs of slowing down. His Statcast page is all red, except for the K’s, Walks, and Whiff%. If I had to quibble, his xBA is .241, but Jazz owners have to be thrilled that he’s exceeding expectations. A fun player – ride the wave, and hopefully, it doesn’t all fall apart in the second half.
Is Jazz legit? So far
Have a great week!
If Donaldson, Rendon, Chapman, Turner and Muncy are all hitting under 220 at 3B, is 210 really a bad average in 2022?
Hey Bob – I think you might have cherrypicked some the most over-the-hill group of 3B you could draft this year haha
rendon/muncy/chapman are all 29-31 (muncy/rendon will hit 32 during season). turner and donaldson are both at least 5 years older than the other 3.
As a Marlins fan I watch a lot of games. Jazz had completely reduced his K rate and doesn’t swing at bad pitches as much. I think he’s K’d around 22 times in almost 100 at bats to around 7-10 BB. Why does he get so much shit? When I read write ups you never hear much about K rates from guys like Baez or Kelenic for instance but people always seem to be hard on Jazz as if he’s going to be a fluke 2 years after a breakout and being a top prospect. I get he’s a Marlin and no matter what a Marlin does they get shit (except for Miggy, Charles Johnson, and a select few guys) but I bet you dollars to donuts if he were a Dodger we wouldn’t hear the constant “he’s lucky, he has swing and miss stuff, the wheels will fall off.”
I’m just curious. Should we simply look at sabermetrics? I ask because I watch a lot of Jazz at Bats and he makes a lot of contact, same with Zeus.
Oh, if you want to see a guy who Strikes out more than possibly anyone ever, watch Griffin Conine LOL. If that kid could fix his swing and miss atuff and plate approach he’d have something, but it’s bad. He’s the porotypical Adam Dunn/Cris Carter. 40 HR .150/.250 lol. His dad needs to have a serious conversation with him LOL.
Hey Mr. Marlin!
Yes Jazz is definitely showing gains this year. I’ve heard about Baez’s K rate and low OBP but he still manages to be a productive player. With Kelenic, I think the industry assumes once he gets adjusted to the league, the K’s will figure themselves out.
Looking at the sabermetrics in Jazz’s case certainly has merit, although there are certainly instances where sabermetrics or other random stats don’t tell the entire story. Chisholm actually has a very red Savant page, with exception to the Whiff%, K%, and BB% rates, which tend to undo a player’s season if they don’t have those rates in control.
That being said, there have been plenty of players who have performed above their expected numbers, and as we know speed players usually are able to maintain high BABIPs.
Right now, I don’t think the Marlins are getting too much bias, I think they are getting props at least for their pitching development. It would be interesting to see what Jazz’s career development would be like if he were on the Dodgers.
I remember the Adam Dunn/Cris Carter days – prolonged slumps and stranding many men on base! Glad to see the league is trying to devalue the one-dimensional slugger.
Thanks for reading!
ok, everybody’s talked about kelenic’s in the last 2 years. baez’s K rate has been well known for like a half dozen years.
Thanks Scar, how about Semien and Story? Think they’ll turn it around?
I’m not too optimistic right now on both. Semien’s underlying stats look worse than Story’s, as pretty much all of Semien’s contact has been poor quality. I think Story is definitely pressing – the expectations as we know in Boston are definitely greater than Colorado. I wouldn’t be surprised if Story is playing through an injury though. I think both guys deserve a little more leash if you do own them. Thanks for reading Ben!