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The season that was: Lourdes Gurriel

A look at Lourdes’s 2020 season

MLB: New York Mets at Toronto Blue Jays Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Lourdes Gurriel has had an interesting few years.

Signed, by the Blue Jays, in 2016 after escaping Cuba (apparently he is still paying smugglers), Lourdes had a disappointing 2017 in the minors. In 2018 he was called up to the majors in mid-April. Gift Ngoepe started the year as the utility infielder but ended up playing too much and hitting too little. Lourdes didn’t hit great, either, and was optioned out mid-May. Up again in June, played one game and back down again. He was up and down again in July. Up again and then on to the DL with an ‘high ankle sprain’ in late July (which ended a 11-game muli-hit streak). Back in late-August, he managed to finish out the season in the majors.

2019 had just one trip to the minors, in search of a position. And he missed some time with injuries. But, by the end of it all, he had a position and all was good. We just hoped he could get through a season without injury.

And he did, unfortunately it was a shortened season.

Standard Batting
57 224 28 64 14 0 11 33 3 1 14 48 .308 .348 .534 .882 138
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/15/2020.

Baseball Reference has him at a 1.0 WAR and FanGraphs 1.2.

He had a .372 wOBA and a 138 wRC+.

Compared to 2019, Lourdes walk rate was up 6.3% (from 5.8%), and his strikeout rate down 21.4% (25.1%).

Hit rates, line drive was way up, 25.9% (17.7), ground ball rate up a bit 40.7% (39.4) and fly balls down 33.3% (42.9). 20.4% of his fly balls left the park, much the same as last year’s rate (20.2).

Lourdes soft contact was way down, 11.1% (19.0), but hard contact was also down, 30.2 (from 43.1), so you can figure it out (medium contact up 58.6, from 38.9).

His BABIP was up .351 (.318 last year).

Lourdes had reverse splits hitting .317/.359/.545 against right-handers and .286/.324/.508 against lefties. Last year he had more normal splits.

He did well with RISP .306/.333/.408.

He’s one of the few Jays who hit much better on the road (.350/.383/.610) than in Buffalo (.247/.297/.424).

Lourdes by month:

  • July: .318/.304/.500 with 1 home run in 6 games.
  • August: .242/.314/.418 with 3 home runs in 25 games.
  • September: .368/.394/.653 with 7 home runs in 26 games.

He is a streak hitter. I guess everyone is a streak hitter.

Defense? He played 53 game in left (and 1 inning at first base). He made 1 error (.990 FA) and had 3 assists (I think teams learned to stop running on him). FanGraphs has him at a 3.5 UZR/150. Put in the usual caveat that UZR needs a larger sample to really get it right.

Outs above average has him has him at -2. That might be a bit closer to what my eye test says.

My complaint is that he doesn’t always go after balls with any urgency. He and Teoscar tend to let a ball get through to the wall and then pick it up, instead of cutting it off before it gets to the wall. We seem to allow too many unnecessary extra bases. But then, we saw far less of the throws to the wrong base, as the season went on. I’ll take little improvements. He is the master of the sliding catch.

FanGraphs has him at -2.2 runs on the base paths. Last year he was better than average on the bases.

Where Lourdes hit in the lineup in games he started:

  • 1st: 2 times.
  • 3rd: 10 times.
  • 4th: 6 times
  • 5th: 15 times.
  • 6th: 14 times.
  • 7th: 5 times.

I tend to think he is warm weather hitter, which might explain his home/road splits this season. But it might just be something that I’ve decided that isn’t actually true.

We keep wanting to see him get full 162 game season in, but then I just want to see a full 162 game season. I’ll be curious to see what happens if he gets through a full season without missing time with injuries. He has took a few more walks and struck out a little less this season, if he can improve a bit more in both, we’d be happy.

A year ago, Buck and Pat talked about Lourdes being a future center fielder. I didn’t heard it this season. I’m thinking he is where he is going to stay now. At one time the plan seemed to be that Lourdes would play all over the field, but it looks like Biggio has that job now. And I think we are better off having Lourdes stick to left.

Lourdes just turned 27 last week. He’s signed for the next three seasons, at very low dollar amounts for a full time player. He can use those three seasons to show us if he’s going to be a star or just another outfielder.

I liked that he seemed to take on the role of Covid marshal.


For his 2020 season, I would grade Lourdes Gurriel a

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