I often wonder why baseball fans and especially sabermatricians do not factor injury into individual player analysis more. Particullary nagging injuries that affect players that still play.
Kearns was an obvious example the last few seasons. We are now seeing him at his best again. Another Nat, Willingham has been an obvious player as well. He played most of his career in Florida with serious back pain that now seems to be a thing of the past. Look at him now. This is probably his true healthy talent level.
Hardly a career revival. Kearns had a .978 OPS last year through 53 PA. Guess what, he regressed back to his mean (sucking). He finished the season by batting under .200. Don’t be surprised if he is hovering around the mendoza line by the end of the season.
Expect a lot of regression because his BABIP is inordinately high. Also, for god’s sake, please at least preface the article with a small sample size warning. The guy has 51 plate appearances.
As PM rightly points out, Kearns had a .954 OPS on May 4th last year, and that was after 76 PA.
This is nothing more than a hot streak, which just so happens to occur at the beginning of the season, so his numbers look better. I’m confident he cannot sustain this level of play, and I have 8 seasons of data to back this up.
I wouldn’t think people need to be told that any analysis based on the current season, at this point….holds a small sample size.
If Kearns can stay healthy, he’ll probably be average or above. But as we’ve seen, if something nags him….his hot start will turn into another poor season. The point stands, this was a small risk for Cleveland that is working out so far…and may continue to do so.
The ZiPS projections take BABIP into account, so that point isn’t ignored in the article. And as other people in this thread have pointed out, you need to consider injury history along with those 8 seasons of data (although only 3 of the 8 really agree with what you’re suggesting). If you do that, it seems reasonable to think that Kearns could be an average or above average player for the rest of the season.