Two Part-Timers Ready to Play
Last season Jesus Aguilar was a part-time player with the Milwaukee Brewers. In 279 at-bats he hit 16 home runs, posted a .331 OBP, and was worth 4.7 Offensive WAR. Aguilar’s offensive value fell right between Mike Moustakas’ 4.6, and Xander Bogaerts’ 4.8. Those results suggest that he was ready for an expanded role despite the Milwaukee logjam. Anyone who disregarded his 535 preseason ADP and unclear path to playing time has enjoyed incredible full-time production. Today I’m highlighting two other players who could be worth more than the crippling label of ‘part-time player.’ While these guys might not currently have an everyday job, they are capable contributors ready to go in case a full-time job opens up.
Chad Pinder, UTIL Oakland A’s
26-year-old Chad Pinder has recorded 196 at-bats while having made appearances at six positions: second, third, short, and all three outfield positions. He continues to find playing time because he hits the ball hard. Best of all for fantasy owners: Pinder is hitting the ball harder than ever this season. 49.3% of everything he has hit this year has been classified as hard contact. The charge he has put into baseballs has paid off, as he already has 10 round-trippers his 196 at-bats.
If we look at what Pinder has done in his 526 career at-bats–roughly a full season’s worth–we see that he has compiled a solid 26 HR and an isolated power of .206. That’s great power production for a utility man.
Positives aside, one can’t help but notice that Pinder has an unfavorable BB/K ratio of only 0.23 for his career. Yes, he has improved somewhat this season by posting a 0.28 in 2018, but is that enough to matter? When I went to look for similar profiles, I found a few interesting comps:
|Name||BB/K||ISO||wOBA||Hard Contact %|
I’m not saying Chad Pinder is Gleybor Torres. I’m just saying that he definitely hits the ball well enough to matter. And when one factors in the many paths to playing time Pinder possesses, it becomes clear that this guy is oh-so-close to becoming a legit fantasy asset. I’m really excited to see what Oakland does with him in the second half. He’s hitting the ball better than ever, and I think it will be enough to earn him a full-time job.
Harrison Bader, OF St. Louis Cardinals
While Chad Pinder is an almost “must-add” part-time player, Harrison Bader is a guy to watch. If you’re unfamiliar, Bader is a high-energy player who excels at making exciting things happen on the baseball field. As a defender he’s excellent. As an offensive player, he uses his physical tools to get the most out of a dodgy approach at the plate.
Bader’s BB/K ratio is similar to Pinder’s at 0.26, but unlike Chad Pinder, Bader doesn’t hit for an isolated power of over .200. Instead, he’s hitting for an ISO of .141. This is pretty average. Instead, he relies on his impressive wheels to get the most out of the contact he does make. He uses his speed to become a difference maker on the basepaths as well. In 75 games, Bader already has 9 steals. Put these strengths and weaknesses together, and I still think the result is a player who could start on a number of teams across the league.
Of course, the trouble with a player possessing a plate approach like Harrison Bader is that the floor could always fall out from underneath him. He needs a bit of luck to maximize his value. This is the reason that he’s not currently an everyday player for St. Louis. His offensive value might not consistently be enough to deserve an everyday job. To that, I say remember how valuable above-average defense is in real life.
Because of Bader’s ability to play above-average defense while providing speed, capable power, and energy on the offensive side, I think that a team–be it the Cardinals or someone else–will give Bader the opportunity to play every day. Lord knows the Cardinals have enough outfielders both in the majors and on the farm to replace him on the bench. If he is dealt and does get to play a half-season of baseball to close out the year, I’d be excited to see what he does. The kid has can play, and he should get a full-time look soon.