Over the off-season, most projections, analysis, writers, and bloggers, assumed that last season was Jose's peak, and that his future projections must regress from there. The severity of that regression was the topic of debate, with his body type and such things as the issues at hand. Assuming last season was his peak and he regressed normally from there, his contract would still likely have provided a minor value for the Jays.
Now, even if we assume that last season was his peak, this season is an outlier, and that he'll come crashing back down to Earth any minute, you can't argue with his defense. Defensive stats don't even stabalize over the course of a whole season, so a couple months isn't something to bank on, but it's interesting nonetheless. Jose has increased his defense by a full 10.6 runs already this season. If he continues at this pace, he could increase it by nearly 20 runs over last season. Even if he provides purely league average defense the rest of the way, that 10 run swing is 1 full WAR that I don't think anybody took into account during their projections. Adding an extra WAR to each season of his deal via his defense makes Jose worth $25 million more to us than most people realized, and is a very positive sign should he ever return to mere mortal hitting levels.
Maybe it's just a product of him getting to play RF every day, I dunno. I think seeing him put up positive defensive numbers is more reassuring than any batting line he could put up this season, it bodes very well for the future, and his value to the Jays over the life of his deal.
I think it's a legit improvement. Do you think he'll continue to be a plus defender in right this season, and over the course of his contract?
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