Evaluating 4 Pittsburgh Pirates Batters And Predicting Their Future Performance Through DRC+

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Pittsburgh Pirates, Kevin Newman
(Photo by Joe Mahoney/Getty Images) /

Kevin Newman

Newman had a fairly good rookie season in 2019. The middle infielder hit .300/.353/.446 with 12 home runs, and 16 stolen bases. Newman was also one of the better offensive shortstops throughout the MLB. His 110 wRC+ was just below Javier Baez (113), and still ranked higher than that of Paul DeJong. He also posted a solid 2.4 fWAR and .339 wOBA. Newman’s most valuable asset was his ability to avoid the strikeout. His 11.7 K% was the 5th lowest in the MLB, although his 5.3% walk rate was well below average.

However, DRC+ doesn’t paint Kevin Newman in as good of a light as wRC+ did. DRC+ placed him at 107, which is 2% higher than where I would predict his 2020 wRC+ to be. This is understandable given the circumstances Newman’s effectiveness against good teams fell well short of his effectiveness vs bad teams. When the Bucs faced teams with a record of .500 or better, Newman hit just .290/.321/.401. When they faced teams with a record below .500, his productivity increased to .341/.408/.528.

Plus I’m sure it is also taking into consideration the quality of contact Newman had. Newman only made hard contact 27% of the time, which was the 4th lowest in the MLB. His soft contact rate of 20.3% ranked as the 13th highest. Newman’s average exit velocity of 84.7 MPH was the 14th lowest in the MLB. His batted ball profile according to Baseball Savant places him with the likes of 2019 Andrelton Simmons, and Hanser Alberto.

DRC+, taking into account these factors, sees Newman as someone who could regress next year, which is understandable, and even likely. Although I do not think he’s going to regress to an unusable state, a wRC+ between 100 (or league average) to 105 is closer to what he’ll produce next year.