Jose Lopez’s Woeful 2010

About a month ago, Matthew Carruth wrote up Jose Lopez’s odd season. Summarizing his accomplishments to date with:

It’s not all cheery news however. While Lopez may pace the entire league in defensive rankings at the moment, he also trails the entire league in hitting value. Seriously. According to wRAA, Jose Lopez has been the least valuable hitter in baseball. We have all heard the term ‘all glove, no bat’ before, but this is insane.

June has nary treated Lopez the Batter with any more kindness than April and May did. Yet that .280 monthly wOBA is actually a season best, as insane as that sounds. Lopez’ .127 ISO is nearly higher than his first two month’s wOBA added together. He’s no longer walking (only one the entire month; his 10th of the season, not so good for a guy who wanted to walk at least 50 times this year) but he’s also sharply cut his strike outs down too.

There’s something else weird about Lopez’s season, too: he’s hitting better at home than on the road. Most of that has to do with an elevated BABIP, but anytime you hear of a right-handed batter who plays his home games in Safeco Field the expectation is robbery via ballpark. Not the case here. And to his credit, Lopez is mauling left-handed pitchers with an above average wOBA; the issues has been righties. Another tally to Lopez’s credit is that he’s playing pretty impressive defense at third base to date despite only changing positions in the spring.

Chone Figgins isn’t fairing too much better than Lopez, but with his contract and history of success he’s probably not going anywhere anytime soon. Meanwhile Lopez is in the final season of a four year extension with a $4.5 million club option for 2011. If Lopez’s BABIP induced woes continue, his likely exit will probably be through the declining of that option (which would mean a quarter of a million buyout) and hitting the free agent market rather than a trade. That seemed positively unlikely just three months ago.

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10 Responses to “Jose Lopez’s Woeful 2010”

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  1. supermets says:

    higher than his first two month’s ISOs, not wOBAs.

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  2. rrowell says:

    There absolutely has to be regression to the mean for this guy, in the most positive way. The guy could not have lost his batting skill so dramatically simply by shifting positions on the diamond. I’ve always waited for this guy to breakout, and while he shows signs of it from time to time, he’s never really put it all together. All I can say is, he’d better have an above average second half, or people are going to wonder if he’s a wash. At least he’s playing great D.

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  3. pft says:

    When I have 2 struggling hitters, both of whom were subject to position changes, I would consider switching them back, just for the heck of it. While it seems unlikely this could be it, some baseball players are funny that way. Hitting is as much mental as anything. The Mariners can afford to give up a few more runs on defense, their problem is scoring.

    Once they trade Lopez or let him go as a FA, look for him to do a Beltre and tear the league up. Maybe they need to spend money on better coaches and scouts.

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    • Gio says:

      Chone Figgins got paid, so he’s obviously stopped trying.

      Casey Kotchman’s previous struggles were the result of his mother’s health issues.

      Adrian Beltre only produces in contract years.

      Explanations for why a player is or is not producing are rarely this simple.

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      • TerryMc says:

        If the early return on his fielding holds up then he has added value that did not exist as a second baseman. I just have to think his bat will come back to his career norms. Couple that with defensive value and some team may get a cheap value pick-up this off season, and have a small chance of an offensive break out. He previously had a bad rep of a player that “didn’t put in the work” but his fine transition to 3B is a definite display of putting in the work.

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  4. Dan in Japan says:

    Your New York Mets starting 2B for 2011?

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  5. mowill says:

    If Lopez option is bought out the Mariners would have to non tender him for him to become a free agent. Do you really think this is a possibility? His defense alone at 3B seems to be worth the 4.5 million dollars.

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  6. Randall says:

    As an M’s fan, I really think there is NO WAY that the M’s pick up his option. Not GMZs type of guy.

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    • ROC says:

      I’m not quite sure about “Not GMZs type of guy.” the league leader in D, that sound exactly like his type of guy. Can you tell me what you think are his types, we seem to have different ideas.

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      • Professional Editor says:

        Yes, but considering this is JoLo’s third position in the past few years — and he was at best “slothlike” at the other two — I’d suggest his defense this year is the result of luck plus fairly solid coaching (and groundskeeping). He’s been a bit of an enigma in Seattle forever, and fingers are crossed here’s merely keeping the seat warm for Liddi or Triunfel.

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