Based on ZiPS projections, Andrés Giménez is expected to finish 2023 with the following stats:
151 G, 578 PA, 15 HR, 20 SB, 5.9% BB%, 20.6% K%, .266/.336/.416, 115 wRC+, 4.7 fWAR
Read what our writers think, then vote in the poll below and drop your own opinions in the comments and on the Covering the Corner Discord.
Merritt Rohlfing’s prediction: OVER
There were 25 players in 2022 that exceeded the 4.7 fWAR mark Giménez is projected to hit in 2023. He topped out at 6.1, which was second-best among second basemen and 14th in the game, a shade behind his teammate José Ramírez. If we zoom out a bit more but keep the focus just on Cleveland, we’ve seen just three second baseman seasons in the last decade that crested 4.7 WAR. Zooming even further out to 1975 — an utterly arbitrary date but before myself and most of you readers were born — astoundingly only seven times has a Cleveland second baseman achieved or bettered that mark. That includes one of the great second basemen of all time in Robby Alomar (who hit that mark three times in a Cleveland uniform and six times in his illustrious on-field career) a couple of Carlos Baerga seasons, Jason Kipnis twice, and of course Ramírez.
All this to say, 4.7 fWAR is a big number for a player period, and for a second baseman in particular. Historically it’s not an offensively focused position in the greater picture of the game, so on that front alone, Giménez was sterling. There have only been 44 better offensive player seasons at second anywhere in baseball since ‘75 than the 141 wRC+ he posted last year. That mark specifically is why I think he’ll regress a bit. The thing about Giménez last year was, he was pretty lucky. He led the AL in hit-by-pitches with 25 in 2022 and posted an almost uncomfortably high .353 BABIP. ZIPS has accounted for this, projecting him to see a BABIP drop to .318 — it should stay high because of his speed and spray chart — though it still thinks he’ll be hit 22 times.
While getting hit is “lucky” in some sense, perhaps it sees trends. Just look at Brandon Guyer a few years ago. Some guys just stand in the right (or wrong) place. All that is fine, but Giménez was also uncommon in how many of his poorly hit batted balls found grass last year, along with many of his teammates. Thirty-eight times he recorded a single on a batted ball with an expected batting average under .250 according to Statcast’s calculations involving launch angle and exit velocity. That’s good for a tie for third in all of baseball, with only his teammate Steven Kwan and Xander Boegarts ahead of him.
I’m not saying that all these hits will disappear. Especially with the new shift rules (though that might be less impactful than we think) and other changes, there are a lot of weird new variables we didn’t have to consider before. Will he steal more than 20 bases now that second base is bigger? How many times on base in that 58 I listed (HBP and those sub-.250 xBA hits) will he lose, or will he gain, and how will that impact his overall offense? Will the ball be more juiced this year? To some degree, it has to. I think it’ll pull him down into the low 5’s, if not the high 4’s in WAR. With the improvements he made in contact from 2021 to ‘22 though, a continued marginal increase in walking, and likely a few more homers as he fills out, I think that’ll all offset any lost bloopers or missed-by-pitches.
And the defense plays, any day of the week.
Will Andrés Giménez finish with an fWAR over or under 4.7?
This poll is closed
Tomorrow’s player: Myles Straw