In George Springer’s first season with the Blue Jays, we saw that he was a very special offensive player, a center fielder who goes all out all the time, and someone who looks like a leader on the team.
Unfortunately, we also saw he was also a guy who had a hard time staying healthy. The full out all the time thing comes with a greater chance of injury. We have had the odd player, over the year, who I’ve wished would pick his moments to go full out. Maybe remember that baseball is an everyday game and that saving something for tomorrow might be a good idea, now and then.
Anyway, Springer’s 2021 season had us wondering what a full, injury-free, George Springer season would look like.
George played a good number of games this year, but it wasn’t injury-free by any means.
Baseball Reference has Springer at a 4.0 WAR. FanGraphs has him at 4.2 WAR, giving him a value of $33.7 million to the Jays.
He had a wOBA of .352 (down from .381 in 2021) and a wRC+ of 132 (down from 140 last year).
Compared to 2021, Springer’s walk rate was down slightly (9.3% from 10.8), and his strikeout rate was down a lot (17.2% from 23.1).
His line-drive rate was down (17.9% from 20.8), the ground ball rate was much higher (44.5% from 32.6), and the fly-ball rate was down (37.6% from 46.6). Fewer of his fly balls were leaving the park (15.9% from 21.4).
George’s hard contact rate was down (31.9% from 34.4), and the soft contact rate was also down slightly (18.7% from 19.5).
Springer’s BABIP was .285 (.286 last year).
Like a lot of our right-handed hitters, George hit RHP (.271/.344/.477) better than LHP (.252/.336/.452).
He hit better on the road (.281/.353/.488) than at home (.255/.332/.458).
George hit .256/.338/.470 with RISP.
He was much the same in the first half (.250/.331/.474) as in the second half (.293/.360/.468).
Springer by month:
- April: .300/.360/.588 with 6 home runs, 5 walks and 18 strikeouts in 21 games.
- May: .256/.347/.454 with 3 home runs, 11 walks and 23 strikeouts in 25 games.
- June: .227/.317/.455 with 6 home runs, 11 walks and 29 strikeouts in 22 games.
- July: .225/.296/.375 with 2 home runs, 8 walks and 14 strikeouts in 20 games.
- August: .351/.422/.491 with 1 home run, 7 walks and 6 strikeouts in 15 games.
- September: .271/.338/.475 with 6 home runs, 12 walks and 22 strikeouts in 30 games.
On defense, in center field, George had a 0.1 UZR/150, so pretty much average, which tracks with the eye test. Outs Above Average has him at a +1. Again pretty much average.
He made just 1 error (a throwing error) for a .995 FA (the league average number is .988 in center.
He also played 59.2 innings in right field.
FanGraphs has him at 4.6 runs better than the average baserunner. He stole 14 bases and was only caught 2 times. The 14 steals was the first time he’s been in double digits since his second season in the majors when he stole 16.
He hit leadoff in every game he started.
His favourite team to face? The Astros. He hit .278/.409/.833 with 3 home runs in 5 games.
Least favourite? He hit .050/.050/.100 in 6 games.
His longest hitting streak was 12 games. The longest on-base streak was 24 games. The longest he went without a home run was 14 games.
My personal opinion is that Springer should be moved to one of the corner outfield spots, to take some of the stress off his body. The center fielder gets the most work of the three outfielders, the most balls hit to his area and he has to back up the outfielders on both sides of him.
But it is tough, because we have two other outfielders who are good players, but we don’t want to see either of them in center field. Buck and Pat used to tell us that Lourdes Gurriel would be a center fielder one day, but even they have given up on that one, and I don’t think any of us want to see Teoscar Hernandez in that spot. Raimel Tapia has the speed for the spot but he doesn’t seem to have the instincts.
But, George is 33 now and we are going to have to figure out a way to keep him in the lineup more. We are paying him for four more seasons, and in 2026, when he’s 36, I can’t imagine he’ll be still playing center.
I sometimes question if he should be hitting leadoff. He’d be a great hitting in the middle of the lineup. But then we have several guys who are good in the middle of the lineup. But, leading off the game, he hit .313/.368/.609 so why think about it? Well, other than that .609 slugging line would look great in the four spot. But still, when something is working don’t change it.
The 14 steals (only caught twice) took me by surprise. I didn’t pay much attention to that. With his injury history, I’m not sure stealing is a good use of his talents. Doing that hard slide into second isn’t easy on a body. But I suppose it would be tough to make him stop. And he’s good at it. But I want to keep him in the lineup. And keep the little nagging injuries down to a minimum.
Anyway, let’s have the poll:
For his 2022 season I’d grade George Springer an
This poll is closed