Mirage Or Mainstay?

Hey there folks, it’s been a while. I’m working on trying to get back to be a regular, and this post is a step in that direction.

 

I remember last year when Aledmys Diaz had a slash line of .300/.369/.510 with 17 homers and 65 RBI. Many, including myself, thought he was our shortstop of the future.

Fast forward to this season. Diaz had a line of .260/.293/.396 before being re-assigned to the minors. He appears to have been a bit of a mirage, regressing all around. The problem with such a good rookie season is that it raises expectations for the future. However, even if our expectations had been a bit lower, his season before being re-assigned would’ve still been disappointing, specifically the .293 OBP. Admittedly I’m a bit of an OBP junkie, but an OBP below .300 isn’t acceptable. His slugging percentage, or SLG, had also dropped below .400 making him nothing special this year.

In his place, we have Paul DeJong, who has a line of .284/.308/.550 with 15 homers in 227 plate appearances, or PA’s

On the surface, those are impressive numbers. I don’t know the specific number off hand, but that projects to easily over 30 homers in a full season.

However, I become concerned when I look at that line and see only a 24 point difference between the BA and the OBP. Right now, DeJong is pure contact, so what happens when pitchers get used to him? Do we have, in a sense, another Diaz? His OBP is just above .300, so if that batting average drops 10 points, say to a seemingly respectable .274, his OBP drops below .300.

In a sense, DeJong is doing what Diaz did last year: he’s creating expectations. Next year everyone will expect the guy with the .280 average and 15 homers in less than half a season. The question is, will this season be a mirage, like Diaz’ seemingly was last year, or do we have a new mainstay at SS?

The key, I think, will be having reasonable expectations for both. Pitchers adjusted to Diaz, now he needs to adjust back. The same thing will happen to DeJong.

Personally, I think DeJong will slow down but still be productive. He’d better learn some plate discipline soon though (8 walks, 72 strikeouts in 232 plate appearances. ouch. That’ll be a big part of his adjusting.) I also think Diaz will earn another shot soon.

Time will tell.

 

As always, thanks for reading.

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