Fangraphs Hitter Contact Series – LAD Infield
Tony Biengino of Fangraphs is doing a fascinating series looking at hitter contact quality, utilizing exit speed, and launch angle data.
We will start by going around the infield horn.
Adrian Gonzalez is another of those lucky ones who can roll out of bed and hit liners, year after year. That said, it’s about all he can do these days. His fly-ball rate dropped precipitously in 2016, and he was fortunate to squeeze out as much long-ball production as he did: his Fly Ball Contact Score dropped from 102 to 75 when adjusted for context. His adjusted liner (97) and grounder (86) marks were both below average, as well. He’s clearly in decline.
Logan Forsythe tends to get lost in this impressive group of AL second sackers. There are no soft spots in his profile; the only shadings in any of his cells are yellow, in the overall-authority and line-drive-rate categories. Remember, the shading is based on relationship to all AL regulars, not just second basemen. Expect his liner rate to regress downward moving forward, but his power to increase. In past years, he hit many more fly balls than in 2016, and a return to form in that category can be expected. His floor is high, and his ceiling is moderate; I’d take Forsythe on my club.
The AL has their Carlos Correa, the NL counters with Corey Seager. Forced to choose, I’d likely select Seager’s present and Correa’s future. Over time, we’ll see whether the Dodger rookie’s extremely high liner rate was for real, but I wouldn’t necessarily bet against it. His pop-up rate was almost nonexistent, and paired an impressively low K rate for a youngster with solid contact authority that stills leaves room for growth. He’s the best of all worlds: a hit-before-power guy who’s developed considerable power. No holes here.
Justin Turner just became a very rich man. He’s also one of the safer, most predictable offensive regulars in the game today. That said, there isn’t much, if any, additional ceiling to his game. Like Carpenter, he is a proven line drive machine, one of the few with a true knack for squaring up the baseball. In 2015-16, he was able to max out his fly ball rate without deflating that liner rate, or inflating his pop up rate. He keeps his Ks in check as well. He’s a fairly safe bet to be at least a league average bat over the duration of his new deal, and a 115-120 Adjusted Production guy over the next year or two.
Whether they planned it this way or not you have to give the LAD FO some credit. The one player in decline is the one position they have the top rated 1st base prospect at.
We all know from watching Corey Seager that he’s brilliant, but it is nice when the data backs it up.
Next up will be the outfield.