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The season that was: Lourdes Gurriel

A look at Lourdes’s 2019 season

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the season the biggest question we had about Lourdes Gurriel was ‘what position would he play?’

The Blue Jays had cut ties with Troy Tulowitzki, so, for a few moments, we figured he would play short. But then Freddy Galvis was signed. Galvis had a long consecutive games play streak going, so there was the question of whether Freddy was going to play short or if he was going to be a utility guy.

I felt that Gurriel had played well enough at short that he deserved the spot. But then I didn’t think Bo Bichette was going to be call up this season.

Lourdes started the season at second base, but that didn’t last there long.

He had a pretty good season with the bat:

Standard Batting
84 343 52 87 19 2 20 50 6 4 20 86 .277 .327 .541 .869 127 5
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 11/9/2019.

Baseball Reference has him at a 1.9 WAR. FanGraphs 1.8, making him worth $14.6 million to the Blue Jays.

He had a .358 wOBA and a 124 wRC+.

Compared to 2018, Lourdes walk rate up 5.8% (from 3.4%), and his strikeout rate up a bit too 25.1% (22.4%).

Hit rates, line drive was way down, 17.7% (23.7), ground ball rate down 37.4% (43.2) and fly ball up 42.9% (33.2). 20.2% of his fly balls left the park (17.5).

Gurriel’s hard contact rate was way up 43.5% (from 30.6) and soft contact was up a bit too 19.5% ( from 15.5).

His BABIP was .318 down from .326 last year.

Lourdes hit left-handers (.300/.350/.664) much better than right-handers (.265/.326/.475).

He didn’t do great with RISP (.267/.326/.387).

He was much better in the first half (.303/.355/.626) than the second half (.235/.281/.403).

Lourdes by month:

  • April: .175/.250/.275 with 0 home runs, 3 walks and 12 strikeouts in 13 games.
  • May: .393/.414/.964 with 4 home runs, 1 walks and 6 strikeouts in 7 games.
  • June: .337/.381/.683 with 10 home runs, 7 walks and 30 strikeouts in 27 games.
  • July: .255/.317/.457 with 4 home runs, 7 walks and 20 strikeouts in 25 games.
  • August: .179/.233/.321 with 1 home run, 2 walks and 11 strikeouts in 7 games.
  • September: .250/.273/.450 with 1 home run, 0 walks and 7 strikeouts in 5 games.

May and June made his season. He was one of a handle who went down to Buffalo and came back with a hot bat.

Defense? Lourdes started the season at second base and had troubles with the throw from second to first. Between that, and the .175 batting average, he was sent to Buffalo having played only 9 games at second. In those 9 games he made 2 throwing errors, but seemed to be overthinking every throw. And he seemed to be carrying his fielding troubles to the plate with him. Down to Buffalo.

When he came back we moved him to left field. In left, he was, by UZR, almost perfectly average, -0.5 UZR/150. Surprisingly, the guy who couldn’t make the throw from second to first, showed off a very good arm from left field. He had 9 assists from left. He made no errors in left. Personally, I think the plan they had of playing him very deep in left hurt his UZR numbers.

FanGraphs has him at 0.6 runs better than average as a base runner. He had 6 steals, caught 4 times, so basically a wash as a base stealer.

The Jays were 31-48 in game Lourdes started.

His longest hitting streak was 9 games, longest on base streak 11 games. The longest he went without a home run was 13 games.

Where Lourdes hit in the lineup, he started:

1st: 1 game.

2nd: 2 games.

3rd: 53 games.

4th: 2 games.

5th: 6 game.

6th: 9 games.

7th: 4 games.

8th: 1 games.

9th: 1 games.

He hit in every spot in the order.

His favorite team to face? Lourdes hit .421/.542/.789 in 7 games vs. the Royals.

Least Favorite? He hit .067/.222/.067 in 6 games against Cleveland.

I didn’t expect Lourdes end up in the outfield, but some of you did:

We also had a poll asking if Lourdes would have a WAR above or below 1.5 and 71% of us were right. Steamer seems to think he’ll have a 1.5 WAR next year. I’m thinking/hoping that is way lose.

For the second year in a row, Lourdes missed time at the end of the season due to injury. He went on the IL in August with a quad strain and then went on the IL at the end of September after an appendectomy. At least that last one won’t happen again.

The media keeps talking about the team having a surplus of outfielders, but, to me we have a surplus of not quite good enough outfielders. There aren’t many who appear to be potentially stars. I think Gurriel could be a star in the outfield.

Buck and Pat seem to think he’s going to end up in center field. I’m not sure that’s in the cards. I think the team hurt his outfield stats (and hurt team defense) by having him play so deep, but he’d have to show he can play good defense in left before I’d talk about trying him in center.

I’m hoping that this is the year that Gurriel get a full season and show what he can do with a full season. He had a slow start to this season and had a 1.7 bWAR in 84 games. With a better start, no time at second base and less injury time, he could be a 4 WAR player without too much trouble.

He’s just turned 26, and should be moving into his prime. He’s one of those guys I’m very happy that I to get to watch his career. My favorite part of being a baseball fan is getting to watch players grow, seeing the ebbs and flows of their careers. We are lucky we have a number of young players who we get to watch grow and develop.

He seems the king of the sliding catch.

And, of course, the arm is pretty amazing:


For his 2019 season I’d grade Lourdes Gurriel a

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365 votes total Vote Now