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The season that was: Lourdes Gurriel

A look at Lourdes’s 2021 season

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. coming into this season had played with the Blue Jays for three seasons after escaping from Cuba and spending a season and a half in the minors.

He didn't hit great in the minors, but in the three seasons with the Jays, he hit .287/.327/.508 with 42 home runs in 206 games.

So coming into this season, we had expectations. Considering it would be Lourdes, age 27 season, coming into this prime, maybe we expected a slight bump in the numbers, but mostly more of the same.

We didn't get the bump, but we did get more of the same.

Standard Batting
141 541 500 62 138 28 2 21 84 1 3 32 102 .276 .319 .466 .785 111 233 8 2 1 6 1
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/29/2021.

Baseball Reference has him at a 2.8 WAR. FanGraphs likes him a little less, 1.5 WAR, giving him a value of $12.4 million to the Blue Jays.

He had a .333 wOBA and a 107 wRC+.

Compared to 2020, Lourdes's walk rate was down 5.9% (from 6.3%), and his strikeout rate was down 18.9% (from 21.4).

His line drive was down, 20.8% ( from25.9), ground ball rate up 45.2% (from 40.7) and fly balls up slightly 34.0% (from 33.3). Fewer of his fly balls left the park, 15.3% (from 20.4).

Lourdes soft contact up a bit (12.8% from 11.1), but hard contact was up a bit (32.6% from 30.2).

His BABIP was down .305 from .351 last year.

Gurriel had reverse splits again, hitting .279/.326/.476 against RHP and .269/.301/.441 against LHP. So that two seasons in a row, after having normal splits in his first two seasons.

He was excellent with RISP, .368/.395/.614. It seems we had a lot of guys who did.

Gurriel was slightly better on the road (.276/.326/.476) than in our various home parks (.276/.311/.457).

And I think you all know that he hit much better in the second half (.296/.360/.529) than in the first half (.262/.288/.422).

Lourdes by month:

  • April: .224/.256/.316 with 2 home runs, 3 walks, and 19 strikeouts in 21 games.
  • May: .267/.272/.406 with 2 home runs, 1 walk, and 19 strikeouts in 26 games.
  • June: .302/.326/.547 with 5 home runs, 4 walks, and 18 strikeouts in 23 games.
  • July: .235/.316/.368 with 2 home runs, 7 walks, and 14 strikeouts in 21 games.
  • August: ..316/.381/.487 with 3 home runs, 8 walks, and 14 strikeouts in 24 games.
  • September: .301/.359/.634 with 7 home runs, 9 walks, and 18 strikeouts in 26 games.

On defense, he played 943.2 innings in left field. He made 4 errors (3 throwing, one fielding). FanGraphs has him at a -0.5 UZR/150.

He also played 68.1 innings at first base and didn't make an error. I thought he looked good at the position.

FanGraphs has him at a -2.0 runs compared to the average base runner. He stole 1 base and was caught 3 times. He seems to have decent speed but doesn't always make the best decisions on the bases.

Where Lourdes hit in the batting order:

  • 5th: 8 games.
  • 6th: 57 games.
  • 7th: 54 games.
  • 8th: 17 games.

His favourite team to face? He hit .368/.446/.754 with 6 home runs, in 16 games, against the Orioles.

Least favourite? He hit just .100/.174/.100 against the Astros in 6 games.

The Jays were 78-58 in his starts. His longest hitting streak was 7 games. The longest on-base streak was 17 games.

Lourdes is a finalist for a Gold Glove. It seems weird that the outfielder we took out of the game for a defensive replacement would be the outfielder picked as a Gold Glove finalist, but what do I know.

He did have 12 outfield assists, putting him fourth in the AL (considering the three guys above him have at least 200 more innings played, that's pretty good). But I don't see him as one of the best defensive outfielders in the league.

He's also the guy that doesn't play any other outfield spot than left. Hernandez would play right and left field. Springer played center and some right. Grichuk played center and right. Lourdes, well, I think they feel he shouldn't move, that comfort is more important for him. But it does seem that first base is an excellent second position for him.

And he was the reverse of Randal Grichuk. He started cold and finished strong. But, as always, it is smarter to go the other way around. Lourdes ended up being the odd man out, a fair bit, when we had extra outfielders. Lourdes sat a fair bit even after he was no longer cold and Randal was no longer hot.

He seems, at least to me, to be a leader on the team. I guess one of a few leaders, but he seems to be head cheerleader, took the job of the covid boss, and seemed to have a hard in getting the home run jacket going.

Gurriel is under contract for two more seasons (at very team-friendly numbers). But he also seems to be a trade target, or he's talked about as a trade target. I can see why another team would want him. There seems to be some more potential there. And I can see why the Jays would use him as a trade chip. But I would hate to see him go. I've enjoyed watching his progression from prospect to veteran.

And I think his best is yet to come too.


For his 2021 season, I would grade Lourdes Gurriel an

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329 votes total Vote Now

He does make some good plays:

This was one fantastic throw.