17 June 2014

Some Play Index Fun With Hardy's Homerless Streak

It's peculiar that J.J. Hardy still hasn't homered yet in 2014. In his last three seasons with the O's, he hit 30, 22, and 25 home runs, respectively. But right now, in 245 plate appearances, he has none.

Last week, Jon made an interesting observation on Twitter:
Hardy is currently batting .285/.313/.355 (.296 wOBA). His .332 BABIP is certainly helping (career .276) to inflate those numbers somewhat, but considering he hasn't hit for much power at all, his batting line could look a whole lot worse. (He's also definitely still valuable defensively at shortstop.)

He's currently just one of three qualified major leaguers who haven't homered yet (the other two are Adeiny Hechavarria and Norichika Aoki). His homerless streak is also up to 83 games. His previous high before that was 42 games in 2005. Hardy is likely to hit at least one home run in the next few weeks, or at least hit just one before the end of the season. But what if he doesn't?

Since the expansion era (1961), only six players have had seasons in which they received at least 600 plate appearances, didn't hit a single homer, yet still had an on-base percentage over .300 and a slugging percentage over .350. Here they are:

Rk Player HR PA OBP SLG Year Age Tm Lg G BB BA OPS
1 Juan Pierre 0 729 .331 .353 2007 29 LAD NL 162 33 .293 .685
2 Harold Reynolds 0 677 .359 .369 1989 28 SEA AL 153 55 .300 .728
3 Ozzie Smith 0 706 .392 .383 1987 32 STL NL 158 89 .303 .775
4 Frank Taveras 0 702 .313 .353 1978 28 PIT NL 157 29 .278 .666
5 Dave Cash 0 709 .343 .375 1977 29 MON NL 153 52 .289 .719
6 Greg Gross 0 676 .393 .377 1974 21 HOU NL 156 76 .314 .770
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/16/2014.

The most recent was Juan Pierre in 2007. And it didn't happen a single time in the 1990s.

Unless something goes horribly wrong, Hardy will hit a home run at some point in 2014. But there are some things to be concerned about, especially when it comes to deciding whether to re-sign him. If he's no longer the same player who can hit 20-25 home runs, he may not be in Baltimore in 2015.


Ryan Solonche said...

This season has been something of an anomaly for J.J. -- on both sides of the ball really. The production is way down; and has 4 throwing errors (7 total) through 540 innings compared to 3 throwing errors over 2500 innings in 2011 and 2012. Not horrible, but on pace to be this player's worst defensive season.

Given the big drop off in production, unsustainable BABIP, career low BB%, coupled with the questionable back, age, etc. how does this team proceed?

Trading him at a low-point in his value seems like a mistake, unless of course a contender had an immediate need at SS.

Is there any realistic way the O's can get him for less than 3 years? And would they still want to?

If this club is not ready for the Machado to SS transition would a 2yr/15m kind of deal for Hardy be a consideration? Fan Graphs has his relative value at 6.1m per year (based on this year). For a year or so, it seems to make sense to hang on; but, the direction of his production and age has to provide pause for thought.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

I'm not sure why Hardy would take a two-year deal instead of hitting the open market. The best course of action for the O's may just be to extend him the qualifying offer after the season and see what happens.

If they really don't want to move Machado to shortstop, then perhaps that changes things.

He's having a similar year to 2012. He's not as good defensively, but he's about the same with the bat. I think another three-year deal would be a gamble.