Chone Figgins, average draft position: 101.
5×5 rank: 916
9/60, four runs, one HR, three RBIs, one SB.
Even modest projections for Figgins coming off a down 2010 had him stealing 35-40 bases and outpacing last year’s .259 average.
Now, if you look at ZiPS Updated projections, we’ve got a .243 average and 30 steals. Yikes.
So is he hitting a signed Babe Ruth ball over the fence when Denis Leary is your step-father bad?
Not quite yet.
Clearly, his dwindling walk rate is a concern, but I can’t imagine it stays mired below 5%. So he will get on base more via the base on balls and presumably run.
Further, he isn’t swinging and missing a ton: 10% K rate and 4.2% swinging strikes (totally comparable to other seasons in his career). He is actually making more contact this year than last year (albeit in a tiny sample and only by 0.1% more).
Figgins is just doing horrible on balls in play (.148). He has been around .300 before, but never below that mark. I do worry that he is hitting more fly balls for some reason (38.5% this year compared to 33.8% for his career). He owns a career 1.27 GB/FB rate, yet his line drive and ground ball percentages are down this year. Combine that with more fly balls and you have a 2011 GB/FB rate of 1.10.
I’m going to side more with the ZiPS (ROS) projection, a .255/.342 line with 30 SBs. I think there is a bit of upside going forward if he can correct his fly ball hitting ways. I also wouldn’t be shocked with a .265 average and 35 stolen bases.
Obviously, it’s a far cry from two years ago (and, to some extent, last season), but he isn’t killing you…yet.