We all share that same smirk when Javy Baez hits a ball over 110 MPH and follows up with a play pulled straight from gymnastic floor routine. Then our smiles fade when the ballyhooed Boricua chases sliders that would have hit a left-handed batter in the ankle.
And therein lies the unfortunate dichotomy of Javy’s game, nudging me to ponder — as I’m sure you all have — what just a tad more patience would actually do to his value. Like editing a video game player’s ratings, I did the same to Javy’s 2016 statistics. But I made only one specific change.
I lowered his outside-zone swing rate (o-swing%) from 42.5 percent to 37 percent, just slightly below his rookie rate of 39.2 percent. Doing so means Javy would have swung at 93 fewer balls and, in theory, added three more walks and two homers.
Just these seemingly insignificant tweaks add a significant amount of value. Javy would’ve had a .326 wOBA, 10 points higher than what was already a pretty respectable mark. Still not seeing much difference? Well, this sole change created enough runs to produce 0.5 more WAR.
What do you think about that, Javy?