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The season that was: Daulton Varsho

MLB: SEP 26 Yankees at Blue Jays Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Daulton Varsho came to us in trade from the Diamondbacks for Lourdes Gurriel and Gabriel Moreno. We knew they would be trading a catcher last off-season, and we were likely to want to get a left-handed hitting outfielder and likely one with a good glove.

Varsho was coming off a pretty good season (4.9 bWAR), with 27 home runs and a 108 OPS+. We hoped he would show a little more of the bat that had him on the top 100 prospect lists, and we were looking forward to having a Gold Glove-level outfielder after a few years of (how to put it) corner outfielders who, though they may have had their moments, were not great with the glove.

Varsho was entering his age 26 season, the start of prime years for baseball players. Maybe we’d see a step up offensively.

Standard Batting
26 158 581 527 65 116 23 3 20 61 16 7 45 135 .220 .285 .389 .674 85 5 4 1 3
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/31/2023.

It didn’t happen.

Baseball Reference has him at a 3.9 WAR. FanGraphs 2.1, giving him a value of $17.1 million to the team. That’s a pretty big gap between the two WAR values.

Daulton had a .293 wOBA (much the same as last year) and an 89 wRC+ (down from 107 last year).

His BABIP was .256 (.269 last year).

Varsho’s walk rate was 7.7% (close to his 7.8 last year), and his strikeout rate was 23.5% (slightly down from 24.5).

His line drive rate was up (20.3% up from 15.3). The ground ball rate was down as well (32.5% from 35.9). And fly ball rate was up (47.2% from 44.3). 11.2% of his fly balls left the park (down from 16.1).

Soft contact was up a bit (19.7% from 19.1). Hard contact was down (29.3% from 33.8).

Varsho hit LHP (.293/.345/.377) much better than RHP (.202/270/.392).

Like most guys on the team, he hit better on the road (.255/.313/.448) than on at home (.182/.254/.323). His BABIP was much better on the Road (.295) than at home (.211).

Daulton hit better in the second half of the season (.230/.297/.421) than in the first half (.214/.277/.368).

Chapman by month:

  • April: .194/.292/.296 with 2 home runs, 12 walks and 28 strikeouts in 27 games.
  • May: .229/.261/.440 with 6 home runs, 5 walks and 18 strikeouts in 28 games.
  • June: .256/.323/.442 with 4 home runs, 9 walks and 26 strikeouts in 26 games.
  • July: .171/.227/.214 with 0 home runs, 4 walks and 24 strikeouts in 24 games.
  • August: .247/.304/.471 with 4 home runs, 7 walks and 19 strikeouts in 27 games.
  • September: .215/.296/.443 4 home runs, 8 walks and 20 strikeouts in 26 games.

With runners in scoring position, Daulton hit .218/.289/.354. In high leverage spots, hitting .243/.297/.427.

On defense? Well, his defense was much better than his bat.

In left field, he played 817.2 innings, making 1 throwing error for a .988 FA. He had a 4.2 UZR/150.

In center, he played 462.1 innings with no errors. He had a 28.3 UZR/150.

In the outfield, as a whole, he was 11 outs above average, which would make him the 4th best outfielder in the AL.

He’s a finalist for a Gold Glove in left field.

Fangraphs had him at 2.8 runs above average as a base runner. He was 16 for 23 as a base stealer, a bit above break even.

Varsho’s spot in the batting order:

2nd: 2 times.

3rd: 9 times.

4th: 25 times.

5th: 19 times.

6th: 24 times.

7th: 43 times.

8th: 8 times.

9th: 11 times.

The Jays were 76-65 in games he started. His longest hitting streak was 10 games. His longest on-base streak was 12 games. The longest he went without a home run was 35 games.

His favourite team to face? He hit .375/.409/.800 with 4 home runs (and 2 triples) in 13 games against the Red Sox.

Least favourite? He hit .053/.143/.053 in 6 games against the White Sox.

I’d imagine the front office will be spending a fair bit of time trying to figure out why we couldn’t hit at home. The fences come in, and not one could hit. It seems strange. If Varsho had hit as well at home as on the road, we would have been much happier with him.

If the team doesn’t bring Kevin Kiermaier back, Varsho will be in center field full-time, making his bat seem better. I’d like to see the team pick up a left fielder with a better bat. Of course, I’d also like to see Daulton hit better.

Watching Daulton’s defense and watching him run the bases (when he could get on base) was great.

Daulton isn’t a free agent until 2027, so he has time to figure things out with the bat, before looking for a big contract.

Before the season, we asked:

  • If the over/under on Varsho’s home runs is 26 I’d take the.. Only 17% were right taking the under.
  • If the over/under on Varsho’s bWAR is 4.9 I’d take the... 32% were right taking the under.
  • Other than left field, Varsho will see most of his defensive innings at.... 70% were right picking CF (over catcher or right field). He didn’t catch at all. I didn’t think he would catch, unless he was needed for an inning or two at the end of a game, sort of like Vlad and third base. It won’t happen unless there is an emergency.


For his 2023 season I would grade Daulton Varsho an

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