The omission of Jesus Aguilar from our Top 15 first baseman (click here to view) may have drawn the most attention, and it makes sense. When you look at his overall production from last season it seems obvious that he belongs:
492 At Bats
.274 Batting Average (135 Hits)
35 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.352 On Base Percentage
.539 Slugging Percentage
.309 Batting Average on Balls in Play
However, when you start to look at the splits you have to wonder which Jesus Aguilar was the real one:
So it all fell apart, to an extent. No one is going to question his power potential, though can he maintain his first half 27.0% HR/FB mark? Maybe not, and while he may be better than the 19.0% he posted in the second half it may be closer to the truth. That would put him on pace more for a 26-29 HR season, as opposed to last season’s monster numbers.
Aguilar also benefited from a .331 BABIP in the first half, and while he does hit the ball hard (44.0% Hard%) any type of regression is going to have a significant impact on his average when coupled with a drop in power and the risk of strikeouts. As it is he showed a poor approach, with a 12.4% SwStr% and 35.6% O-Swing, and what’s going to happen when he starts seeing fewer fastballs?
Last season opposing pitchers threw him hard pitches 59.26% of the time. Now consider his Whiff%:
- Hard – 7.78%
- Breaking Ball – 20.19%
- Offspeed – 22.36%
He hit .188 against changeups, .186 against sliders and .242 against curveballs. Just look no further than his second half numbers if you think he’s locked in to thrive.
Could Aguilar make the necessary adjustments? Absolutely, but it’s hardly a given. I wouldn’t argue with anyone who wanted to put him anywhere from #10 and below, but go in with your eyes open and know the risks.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball