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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