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Over/Under 2023 Preview: Myles Straw

Will Myles Straw be worth more or less than 2.3 fWAR in 2023?

Wild Card Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Cleveland Guardians - Game Two Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Based on ZiPS projections, Myles Straw is expected to finish 2023 with the following stats:

149 G, 573 PA, 2 HR, 24 SB, 9.4% BB%, 16.2% K%, .251/.322/.313, 85 wRC+, 2.3 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.

Chris D. Davies’s prediction: UNDER

Last year, Myles Straw was a hypothetical come to life, as he was the answer to “How much pathetic offense can you tolerate from the best defender in the league?”

The answer was “a whole lot,” to the tune of run creation 36 percentage points worse than league average and expected weighted on-base average in the 8th percentile. God, it was painful just writing that out. When you’re literally the best defender in the league, though, that hurts a little less. And make no mistake, Straw played the best outfield defense in the world last year.

By Baseball Prospectus’ revamped defensive metric, deserved runs prevented, no one at any position prevented more runs than Straw’s 18.2. The second-best outfielder, Mookie Betts, was five runs behind Straw. There’s no consensus among defensive metrics, but while the leaderboard names vary, Straw is a constant.

Myles Straw defensive statistics and rankings

Metric Total Rank overall Rank among OF
Metric Total Rank overall Rank among OF
Statcast Outs Above Average 13 11 4
Statcast Runs Prevented 12 8 4
FanGraphs Defense Runs Above Average 16.3 7 1
FanGraphs Defensive Runs Saved 17 6 3
FanGraphs Ultimate Zone Rating 13.2 1 1
Baseball Reference Total Zone Runs 13 10 5
Baseball Reference Range Factor/Game 2.52 -- 5
Baseball Prospectus RDA Range 8.6 3 1
Baseball Prospectus RDA Outs 10.4 6 1

With numbers that superlative, the offensive black hole that Straw represented at the bottom of the order was tolerable. Well, tolerable enough for the Guardians’ decision-makers. For us fans, that was rough.

While taking the under on Straw for 2023 seems like I’m prepping for more rough outings, I actually think this season will be much better — if only because it really can’t get worse. While it may be hard to even replicate his defensive output (though I’d say there are decent odds he can do it again), ZiPS projections include a 21-point improvement in wRC+ for Straw, which is a lot. If he even improves by 15 points it will be significantly more tolerable to have him in the lineup.

Last season, Straw had a first percentile barrel rate, which I don’t think is sustainable. Straw is not a power hitter, but I feel like luck alone will increase the number of times he hits the ball squarely. And as some things break his way in 2023 it seems likely that the effect on his confidence could lead to continued improvement over 2022.

However, as much as I’d like to be wrong, I don’t see Straw outperforming his ZiPS projections, but coming really close and falling just under. Having a Straw that is nearly 20% better offensively will be significant for the Guardians. After setting a baseline for how much offensive futility one team can stomach, I think he’s going to be an asset even just under his projections.


Will Myles Straw finish with an fWAR over or under 2.3?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    (99 votes)
  • 41%
    (71 votes)
170 votes total Vote Now

Tomorrow’s player: Enyel De Los Santos