The Holy Powers of Ryan Schimpf
The following words are from Ryan Schimpf’s greatest fan. He is biased, but the statistics are true…
Ryan Schimpf is the greatest baseball player of all time. You probably haven’t realized it yet, but it is true. Last year, in his impressive 28-year-old rookie season, he blasted 20 homers in 330 PA. Meanwhile he posted a very strong 12.7% walk rate, and an unsightly 31.8% strikeout rate. His BABIP was a poor .260 as too boot.
Now those numbers may not be on fire to the level that forces you to stop, drop, and roll, but some of his other stats force me to put a disclaimer on this article and demand you wear fire retardant clothing before continuing down this page.
Very few players can manage a .217 or worse average and still drop an .869 or higher OPS in the same season. For reference, legendary slugger Adam Dunn, listed at 95 lbs. heavier, and 9 inches taller than Schimpf, never achieved those two combined rates. This is because the squirrely by comparison Dunn never fully committed to pulverizing bombs like Ryan Schimpf did in his rookie year.
When Schimpf stepped to the plate, pitchers cowered in fear as he mentally pointed towards the bleachers in a Ruthian manner. When compared to everyone with over 300 PA’s last year, Schimpf easily lead the field in fly ball rate with a 64.9% rate. Second went to Brandon Moss, with a 52.6% rate. The 12.3 percentage points that separate Schimpf and Brandon Moss, are equal to the 12.3 points that separate Moss and the 66th most prolific fly ball hitter, Jedd Gyorko. Now with a certified lean back and launch mentality, you’d expect large chunks of his balls in play to be poorly hit, but his 15% infield fly rate is only 22nd. High, but nowhere near the top of the list. His line drive, and fly balls were actually hit hard 44.3%, good for 101st out of the 301 players who hit over 90 liners and flies, allowing them to qualify for the leaderboard.
So Ryan Schimpf was hell bent on hitting the ball in the air, and when he did he sported a 1.429 OPS in the process, which made him the 40th highest out of the 301 qualifiers, and a 272 wRC+ (49th) for you lovers of deeper and more reflective statistics. Similar to peak Barry Bonds, he was the sort that when he hit them, they stayed hit.
So you may now be at the point where you’ve skipped the rest of this article, and are insulting me ruthlessly because I’m writing way too many positive words about Schimpf. You are likely saying things like “dood sux”, “28-year-old rookie crap”, or “Jack, you should consider ending it all.” But now I have you right where I want you, because while you may have thought, he is incredibly lucky, I would argue, that there is potential for an even stronger season in 2017.
Schimpf has adapted to an old mans style of play, before actually becoming old. You cannot shift against bombs, and you also cannot stop very strong plate discipline, something the Padres second sacker has in spades. Last year Schimpf chased pitches less that notorious walkers Brandon Belt, and Mookie Betts. In an effort to teach all children what the best way to hit is, on pitches in the zone, he swung at an above average rate. He swings at strikes, and takes balls, it sounds simple, but it is hard to find these days. The one problem that holds Schimpf back from godlike statistics is his contact rate. In all likelihood, this also held him back from the MLB until 2016, but last year Schimpf made contact 4.2% less than league average. For context, that means he makes contact like he’s Addison Russell, Ian Desmond, Mitch Moreland, and Trevor Story combined (not uber great).
Going forward, what does this all mean you may ask? Schimpf could prove to be a very valuable bat as a second and third baseman on many fantasy rosters. A guy that was smoking line drives and fly balls, compared to the rest of the league, should not have a lower babip on those line drives and fly balls combined than the rest of the league. Some of this accounts for him hitting more homers than most, but in general his air ball approach did not benefit him in the form of babip last year. His plate discipline is where I really become intrigued. Schimpf really knew what to swing at and what to take, something that puts him in a very advantageous position. If Schimpf can simply put a few more balls in play in exchange for all those strikeouts with literally zero improvement in babip, we may have a 30 HR 2B/3B on our hands. Also, the disgraceful Padres team is mostly a disgrace because of the pitching staff, and not the lineup. Schimpf has a good shot at 70R/70RBI, and could be a threat to up those numbers to the 80s. The fact that he’s going to be a below average batting average guy is what hurts his value, and he doesn’t run, but man can this guy slug some dingers. All in all, his 340 ADP in NFBC leagues is pretty low, and this presents a strong potential buy low opportunity for teams looking to contend and in need of some cheap pop.
*Editor’s note (Jack Cecil edits his own work), the first sentence of the second paragraph was supposed to read “Ryan Schimpf is only moderately good at hitting, sorry if you were misled