Right Field – Jack Suwinski
Jack Suwinski was a surprise rookie in 2022, providing both plus power and great fielding for the Bucs. Suwinski has underlying numbers that help support that he can be a productive bat next season. Even if he’s only a league average hitter once again, his ability to play defense will make him a valuable contributor.
Suwinski collected 372 plate appearances last season, slashing .202/.298/.411 with a .311 wOBA and 100 wRC+. Suwinski was pretty much league average on the dot. The league average OPS, wOBA, and wRC+ clocked in at .706, .310, and 100. Suwinski also had an above-average 11% walk rate but a sub-par 30.6% strikeout rate. But in terms of walk-to-strikeout ratio, Suwinski’s .36 rate was exactly league average, once again.
Suwinski provided very good power, slugging 19 home runs, and was one of four rookies with an isolated slugging percentage over .200 (min. 350 plate appearances). Suwinski ranked 4th among all newcomers and third in the National League. Fellow rookie teammate Oneil Cruz and Rookie Of The Year winner Michael Harris II ranked just above Suwinski.
On the defensive side of the ball, Suwinski saw time at all three outfield spots. All told, he had +2 defensive runs saved, +1 out above average, and a +7.8 UZR/150. Between his solid hitting and great defense, Suwinski was worth +1.8 fWAR in just over 100 games and 372 PAs. That’s a pace of +2.6 fWAR in 150 games and +2.9 fWAR in 600 plate appearances.
So what can help Suwinski become better in 2022? His barrel rate was in the 86th percentile of qualified hitters last year. He was one of the few batters to have an 85+ percentile barrel rate yet have a sub-110 wRC+. The difference between league average and 10% above average might not seem like a massive jump. Still, while Suwinski may have been the most league-average batter last season, the players with a 110 wRC+ in 350+ PAs included Rowdy Tellez, Tim Anderson, Luis Urias, Jurickson Profar, and Jake Cronenworth. Tellez is the closest offensive comparison you could make, and he hit 35 home runs.
Regardless if Suwinski improves upon his 100 wRC+ to become a much better hitter, a league-average bat from the outfielder will suffice, given his defensive ability. The outfield alignment of Reynolds, Bae, and Suwinski could prove to be one of the more underrated in 2023.