Covering baseball’s biggest overachievers has slowly become as much fun as monthly underachievers. As always, sample size plays a part in how lucky or unlucky a player is. Sometimes, however, a player’s stats are just too ridiculous to overlook. These are the guys we are going to cover today.
Eloy Jimenez – DE – Chicago White Sox
(.303 / 7 HR / 28 RBI)
While guys like Donovan Solano and Jeff McNeil lead the league at BABIP for August, Eloy isn’t far behind. To .452 currently, Jimenez’s BABIP says he’s having arguably the luckiest month of his career. Especially when you break it down.
Jimenez’s batted ball profile for the month is a bit odd for him. As a mostly fly ball hitter, Jimenez actually reduced his fly ball rate (28.1%) and increased his ground ball rate (53.1%) for the month. Yes, ground balls and line workouts definitely help increase a player’s BABIP. When you’re in the 20th percentile in sprint speed, ground balls should actually be a hindrance. Additionally, Jimenez’s 6.3% barrel rate is less than half of his current season number (14%).
For someone posting elite numbers this month, Jimenez fits the bill as a guy who is one of baseball’s biggest overachievers. Expect his batting average to come down to earth sooner rather than later.
Eloy Jimenez grabs a double 💣 pic.twitter.com/ahzvpQqE5M
— Sox the 35th (@SoxOn35th) August 23, 2022
Adolis Garcia – DE – Texas Rangers
(.256 / 20 HR / 78 RBI / 20 SB)
All in all, Garcia is having a fantastic 2022 season. The first player this season to 20 homers and 20 interceptions. Career-best .258 batting average. Although it’s been an exciting season so far, it hasn’t been without some overly lucky moments.
Take the month of August for example. Through Aug. 25, Garcia has a .403 BABIP while not seeing much positive change in batted ball profile. In fact, his profile for August looks worse. His online drive rate of 12.1% is almost 10% below his season average. His ground ball rate of 56.3% is 12% higher. He made better hard contact (56.3%) but his barrel rate is essentially the same and he hasn’t seen that hard contact translate into positive power numbers. His two home runs and .413 hitting percentage for the month leaves a lot to be desired.
Adolis is a fast guy and seeing your line engines start to turn into hard hit soloists isn’t always the worst thing. But when you hit close to 60% ground balls and have a BABIP over .400, that’s still a sure sign that you’ve been one of baseball’s greatest players. Expect him to regress to average at some point, but take advantage of the increased batting average while you can.
Christian Arroyo – 2B/OF/SS – Boston Red Sox
(.286 / 5 HR / 22 RBI)
Much like Garcia, the BABIP in August just doesn’t seem like anything lasting for Arroyo. Through the 25th, Arroyo has a BABIP of 0.400, just under 100 points above his career average. While it packs a bit of punch behind its bat (90 MPH average output bike), it really doesn’t offer much else in the way of a batted ball profile that suggests it’s durable.
Unlike Garcia, Arroyo actually saw a slight increase in his online drive rate, which is always good. He has been an 18.7% airline pilot for his career, but in August that number jumped to 22%. He also saw his hit rate rise from 33% to 39.4% this month. What he hasn’t seen rising, however, are things like the barrel rate (7.6% in 2022, down to 4.5% in August). When it comes to a player’s BABIP, you can often see a correlation between a high barrel and a high BABIP. At least in these small samples. Seeing a player’s BABIP spike as their barrel rate halves isn’t…good.
As a player who shoots the ball less and hits more balls on the ground, it’s hard to argue that Arroyo’s major leap in BABIP is something he can continue. He’s had a pretty great season so far by his standards, but he’s still been one of baseball’s biggest overachievers this month.
Christian Arroyo still managed 3 hits last night.
He’s now had 3 hits in 3 of his last 4 games.
He’s 9-15 with 2 2G, 3 R, 5 RBI in that span and reduced .382/.417/.946 in 68 AB since returning from IL.pic.twitter.com/TBid9RSWW0
— The Big Sox Guy (@BigSoxGuy) August 21, 2022
Alex Verdugo – OF – Boston Red Sox
(.284 / 7 HR / 59 RBI)
I swear I’m not going after the Red Sox, but when it comes to a list of baseball’s greatest overachievers for the month, it’s hard to leave Verdugo out. The double-hitter savant has had a stellar season, but everything he does in August just doesn’t seem to add up.
What he lacks in home run power (seven on the year), he makes up for in doubles. Verdugo’s 32 this season is good for 15th in baseball. His .397 August BABIP, on the other hand, is good for 12th best. That says a lot for a guy who is only .319 for his career. The interesting part is that much of Verdugo’s BABIP high came… out of nowhere. His line drive rate went up from 20.5% to 23.4% which is good, but his fly ball rate also saw a pretty big increase. This went from 33.7% to 42.2%. Normally you could negate this if he had a strong surge for the month, but with a single home run, that increase in flyball should have had a negative impact.
For the month, Verdugo showed the rare ability to swing into a home run hitter without actually hitting home runs. While that may one day lead to Verdugo becoming a 25 home run guy, it certainly won’t lead to him having a BABIP near .400 consistently. Whatever he does this month is fine, but to say he’s anything other than one of baseball’s greatest players of the month is crazy.