Juan LagaresEarly in the year both Ike Davis and Juan Lagares were rotten offensive players. However, right now both are productive members of the Mets. Both are young, homegrown guys who have shown extended stretches of being excellent defensive players. However, these three things are blinding people to the shape of their offensive production and the likelihood that they can produce their current numbers going forward.

Let’s start with the positive. Since his recall from the minors, Davis has a .286/.450/.429 mark for an .879 OPS in his last 100 PA. Meanwhile, since June 20th, Lagares checks in with a .313/.355/.477 slash line for an .832 OPS in his last 139 PA. Since first base and center field were sinkholes in the lineup previously, the Mets have had a drastic turnaround in production from these two spots the past six weeks or so of the season.

But, as the investment people are fond of saying, past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. In both finance and baseball we want to see strong fundamentals. We have seen time and time again how a roughly 100-something stretch of PA can influence the public into thinking a player has arrived or turned a corner – only to have reality rear its ugly head.

In 2010, Rod Barajas had an .858 OPS with 9 HR in his first 99 PA with the Mets. The rest of the year he had a .677 OPS in 240 PA and in the next two seasons, Barajas had a .670 OPS over 698 PA.

In 2011, we saw Justin Turner post a 90-PA stretch where he had a .349/.400/.494 line with 21 RBIs in 25 games. The rest of the year he posted a .648 OPS in 388 PA and over the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Turner has a .682 OPS in 313 PA.

In 2012, Kirk Nieuwenhuis began his Mets career with an .821 OPS over 114 PA. In his next 200 PA that season, Nieuwenhuis had a .618 OPS and in 108 PA this season he has a .615 OPS.

One of the easiest things to do in determining if a player is having a hot streak or is on the verge of a real breakthrough is to check his BABIP in his hot streaks. We expect when a player is playing well that his BABIP will be elevated. But, is it elevated at a reasonable level? If a true-talent .300 BABIP hitter is enjoying a hot stretch where he’s posting a .325 mark in the category – that’s reasonable. But if that same hitter is posting a .400 BABIP, that should be sending warning signs off in all directions.

Last year during his hot stretch, Nieuwenhuis had a .439 BABIP. There simply was no way he was going to continue to keep up that pace. Similarly, Turner had a .389 BABIP in his 2011 hot streak.

So, we need to check in and see how Davis and Lagares are doing in their current streaks.

Since being recalled from the minors, Davis has a .382 BABIP after Thursday’s game. For his career in the majors, Davis has a .287 BABIP, a pretty substantial difference. We can talk all we want about how since his demotion, Ike is drawing more walks and has a better approach at the plate. No one is arguing against that idea. However, there’s simply no way that can explain 95 points of BABIP.

Let’s run some numbers. Let’s be kind to Davis and say that his new approach is responsible for 34 points in BABIP, giving him the same .321 mark he enjoyed in his rookie season of 2010 instead of his .287 lifetime mark. At his current rate of production since his recall, over 600 PA, Davis would have a .242/.417/.385 line for an .802 OPS with a .321 BABIP. If he would regress to his career average BABIP, he would post a .219/.398./361 line for a .759 OPS with a .288 BABIP

And that’s with a career-best 23.0 BB% , nearly twice his career average of 11.7%, and a 21.0 K% (career mark of 24.1%) The walks will drop off and – we hope – the over the fence power will return. No one knows where those numbers will stabilize. What we do know is that if we keep the current levels of non-BABIP production combined with his career average BABIP, he loses 120 points of OPS over 600 PA. And that’s if the BABIP hit only resulted in the loss of singles.

Now let’s look at Lagares. While Davis is still in the midst of his BABIP spike, Lagares has already cooled off from his peak in the category. From June 20th to July 30th, Lagares had a .438 BABIP over a 105-PA stretch and had a .905 OPS in the streak. But in his last eight games, Lagares is 7-for-32, has a .219/.265/.344 slash line for a .609 OPS and has a .269 BABIP in that stretch.

It’s been such a roller coaster ride for Lagares here in his rookie season that no one has any idea of what his BABIP “should” be or what his true talent level actually is. No one thinks a .438 mark is in play. Some may feel that his overall line of .344 is close to what we might expect. And the cynics might point out that he had a .262 BABIP before his 105-PA hot streak and a .269 mark since it ended. Those two spans have 124 PA.

What we do know is that overall for the season Lagares has a .703 OPS with a .344 BABIP. That’s slightly below-average production for his position and the numbers will only look worse if he turns out not to have a BABIP in the top quantile.

Right now Davis and Lagares are posting star-level numbers and we should not overlook or dismiss this production. But the evidence points to this being more of a hot streak than that of sustainable, new expected performance levels. A reasonable hypothesis would be that once you factor in their defense, it’s likely the Mets have two league-average performers at first base and center field.

There’s nothing wrong with league-average performers, as long as you recognize them for what they are and not consider them to be core players. This type of production is necessary to receive, especially if you can get it at cost-controlled prices. League-average production from a center fielder making the MLB minimum is a wonderful thing to have. The same production from a first baseman making $7 million a year is another story entirely.

The Mets have options at first base. Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores and Josh Satin could likely provide a reasonable facsimile of Davis and if used properly could even perform better at a fraction of the cost. Perhaps Matt Den Dekker could achieve similar results as Lagares but since they would both be making the minimum, there’s no reason to force that issue. Meanwhile, it’s not impossible that both players will be starters for the club in 2014.

Regardless of how Sandy Alderson builds next year’s team, he needs to recognize that what Davis and Lagares have done recently is not what we should expect going forward. It’s bad enough when fans confuse a hot streak with a player’s true talent level. We need our general manager not to make the same mistake.

39 comments on “The BABIP hot streaks of Ike Davis and Juan Lagares

  • NormE

    Brian, I’m sure you have the numbers to back up your statement that Ike is an “excellent” defensive player. To my eye he seems to be a competent player whose reputation was built on a few outstanding catches of foul pops. I think his hands are okay but his range is not that
    greatest.

    • steevy

      Not to mention he makes stupid/lazy plays often.I feel bad for Lucas Duda,all he did was get hurt.Fire Terry Collins!

      • Brian Joura

        I agree about Duda. But I would add that he also matched Davis offensively while playing out of position. If one of them gets traded and they both get to put up 140 or more games playing 1B, I’d wager anything that Duda put up the better OPS+

        I also agree about Collins.

    • Brian Joura

      I tried very hard to carefully word that passage.

      In 2010, Davis was an excellent defensive player. The last two years he has not been the same player and my personal opinion is that part of it is just a lack of effort on his part.

  • Chris F

    I admittedly do not follow all the detailed SABR numbers like a lot of people here. I continue to learn a lot about these, and their application to player evaluation (I might add I have reasonably strong math/science skills). I have heard a number of SABR people recently on the radio (mostly MLB channel) saying that its an integrated look at everything, from the stats to old school scouting. In a way that is what makes it difficult for me to fully understand the meaning of this interesting article: can an individual’s team worth be reduced to BAPIP? Do my eyes deceive me completely? Am I seeing a different Juan Lagares than most?

    My eyes see a plus defender who breaks on a ball and takes great lines nearly every time a ball is hit to the outfield. He goes to the left or right with ease. I see him backing up nearly every fly to left and right. He plays shallow enough to be a strong put out threat which is accompanied by a great arm. In doing so he has the range and confidence to chase balls over his head and catch them. Ive seen that on TV and in person. In terms of Mets center fielders Ive seen over recent memory, he is a welcomed sight. I also see a guy that hustles and has contributed in non-box score ways, such as infield hits that he legs out by being a gamer, including the one that scored EYJ the other day. I see a person that looks like a solid team player and not making a negative peep outside the lines. I want guys exactly like that on my team. Baseball is a game of streaks. No one believes Puig will hit .400 as much as no one believes the Braves will win every game until the playoffs. Are those accomplishments worth being skeptical about however? Lagares is on a bit of a run, and Im enjoying every second of it. I see a home grown kid who was promoted after a handful of AAA games, and is making the most of this opportunity. What more can we ask for? With so little long-term data, it is hard to know who the “average” Lagares is, so any assessment is prone to high levels of uncertainty.

    I pulled up some comparative stats for 2013 at B-R for someone who is considered a solid CF, and for which its hard to argue nearly any team wouldnt want patrolling the OF, namely, Austin Jackson.

    Batting:
    AJ (BR/TR) AB: 353, AVG: .263, RBI: 27, BB/K: 36/86, OPS: .732, XBH: 29, BABIP: .327, BAR/BAL: .292/.198

    JL (BR/TR) AB: 214, AVG: .266, RBI: 23, BB/K: 09/53, OPS: .703, XBH: 22, BABIP: .344, BAR/BAL: .264/.271

    I certainly see the BB/K issue. In Jackson’s rookie year, he posted .28 BB/K ratio. Jackson has pretty strong split between RHP and LHP, that Lagares is not presently showing. Lagares is hitting quite a few XBH, or well hit balls, not dunkers or seeing eye hits. Overall, the batting seems reasonably comparable for the whole season. The main issue in the comparison is that Jackson is a 4-yr pro, and Lagares is a rookie.

    Fielding:
    AJ Fld%: .990, DRS: 05, RF/9: 2.33, RF/G: 2.34 (both RF above league avg)
    JL Fld%: .981, DRS: 16, RF/9: 2.87, RF/G: 2.32 (both RF above league avg)

    It’s hard for me not to see the obvious in these numbers, which is that Lagares is having a solid defensive campaign thus far. Again, my eyes have seen that. We all are aware that defensive metrics are a bit squishy and hard to measure, but no one would gets the queasies when Lagares takes CF. With a big out field like Citi, it strikes me that above average range factors would be good news. The defensive runs saved number seems gaudy for JL, so maybe thats something I took out of context, but its 3x what AJax is posting.

    In the end I see a guy in Lagares that is putting up numbers that any team would want. He bats right handed to make it even better. Is he Mike Trout? Clearly not. Considering the parade of people that Alderson has given to TC in the last few years though as options for CF, I’d take Lagares in a NY minute over every person thats been tried. Is Lagares a fixed long-termer at CF? Who knows, but for now given all the obvious gaping wounds around the diamond, Im prepared to let the experiment keep going. After all, we’ve given Ike 4 years and he’s still in there.

    • Brian Joura

      Perhaps the first thing that should be stated is that BABIP stands for Batting Average on Balls in Play. It has nothing to do whatsoever with defense.

      When Lagares has two full seasons of MLB at-bats under his belt, I’ll be happy to compare him to anyone you’d like. Right now, any Lagares comparison that you want to be taken seriously needs to include what the respective players did in the minors and what their reputations were as prospects.

      Three times in his career, Jackson made Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect list. He was widely considered one of the top prospects in the game, one worthy of being a trade target in a blockbuster deal. Lagares has never made that BA list. I don’t mean that as the end-all argument but I hope it adds some clarity to the issue.

      When Jackson struggled in the majors and then put up his fine year in 2012, that wasn’t a surprise. That was a top prospect putting it together. Of course the .371 BABIP Jackson posted in 2012 didn’t hurt any, either.

      What Lagares has done up until this point in the majors has been a surprise. Right now, that’s not an opinion. However, we can disagree why. His proponents can point toward his growth as a player and how he’s getting consistent playing time. His doubters can point to the incredible 105-PA hot streak he enjoyed.

      Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding. No one is suggesting that the Mets bench Lagares so at the very least, we should get 175 or so additional PA here in 2013 in which to judge his performance.

      • Chris F

        I undertand what BABIP means. I think the tone of the article is aimed at only how key offense is in evaluating who Lagares (and Davis) is. I dont buy it for one second. I also am not persuaded that because, as a teenager, Lagares wanst caught by scouts. I suppose Piazza must be in the same boat. All I care about is what I see happening now. And so far I like what he is doing. Is it sustainable? That cannot be answered right now with any metric. As long as he keeps putting MLB level production at a high-defensive value position I cant find a reason to stop it.

        • Brian Joura

          The article focused on offense because that’s where the greatest difference of opinion on Lagares is. While I don’t think Lagares is as good as Gary Cohen is making him out to be defensively, I’m quite willing to say he’s as good as UZR claims he is – which is plenty good.

          I’d add that we disagree that a metric cannot answer whether Lagares’ offensive play right now is sustainable. It’s not.

          Even though I believe the decline has already started, let’s check in at the end of the season and see what Lagares does from today (8/9) through the rest of the year. Currently he has a .344 BABIP and a .703 OPS. I’m willing to wager that both marks from now through the end of the year will be significantly lower, at least 20 points in both categories.

          • Jerry Grote

            Agreed; I think over time he will regress some. And I’m sure everyone of us would take him at that level.

            • Brian Joura

              Lagares should end the year in the neighborhood of 400 PA.

              Currently, Carlos Gomez has 437 PA and a 5.5 fWAR
              Colby Rasmus has 426 PA and a 3.8 fWAR
              Austin Jackson has 394 PA and a 2.6 fWAR

              Currently, Lagares has a 1.4 fWAR in 229 PA.

              Are you willing to go on record with what you think his final fWAR will be? Do you think he’ll match Jackson’s current fWAR?

              • Jerry Grote

                I am willing to say that his UZR will exceed Gold Glove caliber – 15.
                I am willing to say that his OPS+ will sit at 90 or above.
                I am willing to say that his WAR (using BBref) sits at or above 2.8.
                I am willing to say that he improves on both his BB (3.9) and his K (23.1)
                I am willing to say that between here and the end of the year, he steals 8 bases and provides an ISO above 130.

                I do believe that Lagares will, overall, regress between here and the end of the year. Rookies rarely finish strong, they just aren’t ready for grind.

                And ultimately, I believe that Lagares is the solution at CF.

                Are you willing to go on record as saying he won’t? 😉

                • Brian Joura

                  Thank you for this post.

                  I’ll take the under on a UZR of 15, although I think it will be close
                  I’ll take the under on an OPS+ of 90, although it will be difficult for it to be much lower
                  Not comfortable using bWAR due to not fully understanding the changes they’ve made the last year or so. I’ll say his fWAR will be below 2.3
                  I could see both his BB and K rates improving
                  I’ll take the under on 8 steals from here on out. I’ll also take the under on the .130 ISO, although I don’t feel strongly about that one.

                  Because of his pre-arb status, Lagares certainly seems to be the short-term solution in CF. Like I said in the piece, a league-average CF at MLB minimum is a good thing.

                • Jerry Grote

                  See you in October, Brian!

                • Jerry Grote

                  Point by point on my thoughts on Lagares:
                  * His fielding ended at what might be historically good levels. RIGHT
                  * His OPS+ actually fell to 80. WRONG.
                  * His WAR rose by 50% to 3.7 BBr, or by 35% by fangraphs to 2.9. RIGHT.
                  * He did in fact marginally improve both his BB and K ratios. RIGHT. RIGHT.
                  * His ISO fell to 110 and he stole maybe another base or two. WRONG.WRONG.

                  His UZR/150 ended at 34. To put that into perspective, Carlos Gomez was 27 (he’s never hit 30) and Manny Machado was at 31. Very few CFers get to 14 assists at age 24 season, and most of them have distinguished careers.

                  Of course, they don’t ordinarily hit like Lagares, either. What a unique guy.

          • Chris F

            What I meant about metric determination is that simply because the data set is so small we cannot know exactly where his MLB average rests. We might not know that with any confidence (barring injury or other X-factor problem) until 1000 PAs. I agree, any instant value will not likely be representative of the season average. He has logged 79 games and there is 50 left. Season averages will be weighted in favor the values up to now. If he clocked in with a .690 OPS and .320 BABIP while taking away another handful of runs on defense, well, Im ok with that. Those numbers will be better than BJ Upton this year.

            I believe there is only 1 player that is lock for a position in ’14, and thats DW. Behind him the next most secure by my estimate is d’Arnaud, follow by Murph (although with Flores up who knows?). After that no one has a lock on any position, nor am I advocating for that. However, if the season ended this minute, I would be starting Lagares next season.

        • Jerry Grote

          ^ This is well put. Lagares – strictly measured from an offensive standpoint – is above league average. His wRC+ is 94, and although I am not a statistician, even Fangraphs tells me that approaches Good.

          His defensive metrics place him at the very least in the top tier of players. In reading the article, it certainly appears as if Brian is concluding that Lagares is either at or barely above league average. To this point, that isn’t the case … and even if he regresses, he will have to fall considerably to overtake the importance of his defensive abilities.

          • Brian Joura

            This is false.

            Lagares has 229 PA and a 93 wRC+. Looking at CF with a minimum of 200 PA, Lagares ranks 26th.

            http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=cf&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=200&type=8&season=2013&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=18,d

            Even adjusting for position, there’s no way to get Lagares’ output right now – even shortly after the conclusion of his hot streak – to be above average offensively.

            • Jerry Grote

              http://www.fangraphs.com/library/offense/wrc/

              I misread this link, reading the wRC chart as indicating wRC+. My bad; his offensive production is just shy of league average.

            • Chris F

              The rank value of 26th gives a terrible impression that out of 30 teams, Lagares is near the bottom of wRC+, which is not representative of the data.

              There are 41 CFs ranked. The max score is an insane 179 (Trout) and the min score is 52 (Ackley).

              The average MLB CF wRC+ score is 100, with a standard deviation of 24. The median is 97. Lagares is slightly below league average at 93, but comfortably within the standard deviation, in total offensive value. It is quite difficult to tell what represents a significant actual gap in value for wRC+. Is 1 unit a big difference in reality (certainly not statistically based on std dev)? Is 10? To understand the data distribution, I used a conservative 10 wRC+ unit bin (80-89, 90-99, 100-109 and so forth) and plotted a quick histogram to see how all CFs look. The distribution is near normal (slight negative skew, but I havent run the stats yet for the value), and Lagares’ score plots in the main mode of the data. He certainly is posting “league average” value for offensive production.

              Center fielders in the 90-99 cohort are: Saunders, Bourn, Crisp, Amarista, Martin, Pagan, Parra, Kemp, Jay, Revere, and Ozuna. Thats not bad company.

              This tells me he is far from the bottom of the pack on offense. We already know he is a plus defender with a killer arm. With 9 assists in well under 100 games he is tied for third in the NL.

              • Brian Joura

                And Lagares has the next-to-fewest PA in this sample. And just about half of his production has been at an insane, unsustainable level. And even with that, he’s a below-average offensive center fielder.

                We’ll see what happens at the end of the year, when his 105-PA hot streak is one-fourth, rather than one-half of his time in the majors.

                • Chris F

                  Sure, Ive said that all along. However, you pointed out the data set and said he ranked 26th. All I did was look at the central tendency measures to see what a wRC+ of 93 means. I cant predict what he will be by the end of the season. If he plays every day til the end, he has appeared in 61% of his total games as of now, so the total data set will be a bit skewed by the values up to now.

              • Chris F

                The skewness of the distribution is 1.08. With the mean (100), median (97), and mode (99) all close, the incredibly high outlier data of a few (Trout, McCutchen, Choo, Gomez) are mostly balanced by the duds (Ackley, Hicks, BJ Upton), its pretty close to a normal distribution.

      • TexasGusCC

        To add to my response above or clarify, I want players that are hungry. Jeter is still hungry because he relishes where he’s at. Kobe Bryant is still hungry. Ok, these guys are superstars. But, when you have a young player that should be proving himself like Davis and to certain extent Murphy, you should be seeing hunger all the time. Look at David Wright, still plays with hunger and he’s accomplished.

        I added Murphy in the above paragraph because his hitting approach is on of just making contact without necessarily it being good contact. Otherwise, Murphy is another topic.

    • TexasGusCC

      Good job Chris. Further, I agree with the eye test on Lagares. He is a rookie and usually there is a production increase and an execution increase in the second year of a player over their rookie year. When I look at Juan Lagares, I think Gary Maddox; and that’s not too bad. Preventing runs is as important as scoring them. The only concern I have with Lagares is pitch selection. I have often written that what Leyland did with Jay Bell, I want to see the Mets do with Lagares to teach him pitch selection.

      However, on Ike Davis, the problem has been his laziness in the field and in the box. He plays like he deserves something or is entitled to something because of his 32 HRs or what he did in 2010. He doesn’t do a good job digging out throws, he has no range, and is often out of position on cutoffs, standing on first base. In the batter’s box, he has made some adjustments, but the wait for those adjustments has cost the team many bad at bats. I would read him the riot act and give him one year to shape up or ship out at a reduced salary. If he doesn’t like it, he can go now.

    • MikeB

      I agree entirely. BABIP is not a legit stat for Lagares, IMO. He improves game by game. At first, he chased low and away sliders. Good, aggressive young players do this. He’s laying off those now. He’s got 16 doubles, 3 triples in the last week. I see him as a star. He’s got quickness, a great jump on the ball, and at the plate, quick, powerful hands. He can end up with more than 30-35 doubles, a handful more of triples. The HR’s will come. An outstanding player. Who’s the best 24 year old CF in memory on the Mets?

      • NormE

        That’s a very good question!

        • Metsense

          Lee mazilli

      • Brian Joura

        Hands down it was Lee Mazzilli.

  • TexasGusCC

    Sorry, something went wrong there with the placement of the responses, but you guys understand.

  • Jerry Grote

    I’m sure my response comes as no surprise to Brian.

    For my part, I will only point out that in the author points out that the differential for Davis’ BABIP for his career and his current abilities is over 100 points … while failing to note that over the last three years, Lagares’ is right in line with his. Brian has accurately pointed out that there is nothing to suggest that a player’s BABIP will follow him to the majors. There is nothing to indicate that it won’t, either.

    And any look at his stats in the major leagues and his minor league stats shows only one out-lier, and that is his strikeouts. Once he returns to “normal”, I think his upside is on the area of .290/.310/.440. One way or the other, he makes a difference in the lineup with his glove.

    One other thing. On Davis, I believe all his quoted numbers are *aggregate* BABIP. However, Ike Davis’ career BABIP against strictly RHP is … wait for it … .346. Not such a massive dip from where he is right now. Bottom line is you keep him, you limit him to 480 ABs against RHP and he’ll ultimately give you 20-22 HR and a fine OPS. Or drop him and try to find 22 HR elsewhere.

  • NormE

    I agree with Chris F and TexasGus on Lagares. There are certain ballplayers who deliver great joy to fans by the way they play defense. Obviously Mays and Maddox in CF, Keith Hernandez at 1B, Ozzie Smith at SS, and Brooks Robinson at 3B come to mind. From the players I’ve seen these days(I watch the NL mostly) I enjoy watching Brandon Phillips at 2B. I like Andrelton Simmons at SS, but will have to see more of him. Lagares in CF gives me great pleasure. None of the other Mets CFers since Beltran have given me such a feeling. As for his offense, we have to give him more time to make that judgement.

  • Metsense

    I agree with Brian when he says, “There’s nothing wrong with league-average performers, as long as you recognize them for what they are and not consider them to be core players”.
    The BABIP numbers indicate that there should be a regression for both Davis and Lagares.
    Davis next year will be making 3-4M and will probably be tendered a contract. At this point, it is apparent Davis is a platoon player with Satin. Davis is inconsistent and should be traded as Duda is a viable alternative when also platooned with Satin.
    Lagares will regress to a below average offensive player and as long as it isn’t too severe his glove will keep him in the lineup.

    • Chris F

      Why can’t a league avg player be a “core” player. Murph is a <1.5 WAR avg, and hes a core Met. Superstars will not sit in every position. I guess I see a lot more than a player to be reduced to a number that cannot possibly take into account everything. In any event I think Lagares will continue to mature as a hitter and display well above avg defensive skills, and find himself in the middle of key plays again and again.

      Davis is arb eligible and likely to be closer to 6M$, a value I wouldn't to do for a platoon guy!

  • Name

    Lagares is finally putting up numbers I can believe in.
    Last 2 weeks he has a normal BABIP of .298

    In that time he’s posting a .255/.293/.382 and .675 OPS.

    For everyone’s sake, I hope he can just put up a normal BABIP of .300-.320 for the rest of the season so that us fans won’t have to wonder if the Lagares we are seeing is real or fake and we can make a real decision on him.

    • Brian Joura

      To me this sounds about right. If I was to come up with numbers that I thought resembled Lagares’ expected output before this post, I probably would have guessed a few more points of AVG and fewer SLG points but essentially ended up in the same place.

      As of today, the average CF in the NL has a .720 OPS.

      The glove brings it up – God, I hope I’ve made that clear – but 45 points of OPS is not a trivial amount.

      Ben Revere is a nice mini case study for Lagares. Last year he had a .675 OPS but thanks to excellent baserunning and defense (+14.9 UZR) he ended the year with a 3.0 fWAR. This year he’s hitting better – .690 OPS – but the defense and the baserunning have both fallen off and he’s likely to end the year with half the value of 2012.

      We’ve heard a lot about how speed and/or defense doesn’t slump but the top four defensive CFers last year – Bourn, Revere, Trout, Harper – have all fallen off significantly this year.

      Doesn’t mean it’s going to happen to Lagares, just something to keep in mind.

  • Jerry Grote

    Brian and I have gone on a bit about Lagares, so in preparation for MDD’s playing time I did a quick check on JL, Aug 10-Aug27.

    Brian was right on; Lagare’s BABIP fell to around .293, and his overall OPS in the time period ran down to below 625. Measuring his total offensive effectiveness, whether using BBref or Fangraphs, moved down fairly substantially. (He was right around 103 OPS+ by BBref in early August, for example. Today he’s at 93.)

    What surprised me was his WAR. Despite
    1> Already playing defense at an elevated level by 8/9/13
    2> And decreasing his offensive effectiveness

    His overall WAR (by BBref) actually moved up to 3.2. Now he’s showing a UZR/150 approaching 30(!), and even if you were to take out completely his arm, his defensive metrics still look strong.

    It will be an interesting month for MDD and Lagares. Maybe you put Lucas Duda back in LF, play him directly on the foul line, and tell him not to move five feet. Sort of like Little League.

  • Chris Flanders

    WAR at fan graphs shows him to be at 2.2, with a league average of 1.9. In terms of wRC+, JL is a bit below average (88,100 respectively), but still well within the std deviation of the mean.

    • Jerry Grote

      I believe, at the time Brian and I were looking at making a friendly bet, that his fWAR sat at 1.9 … so he’s improved, regardless of who is measuring, on an overall basis even in the face of declining offense.

      That’s not an easy thing to do, I would think.

  • Chris Flanders

    agreed. his value looks good. hitting is streaky…

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