Oh the ‘Goins’ puns. So easy, plentiful, and hard to resist.
The fan in me wants Ryan Goins to succeed. Everyone loves the idea of a homegrown player coming working their way up through the system and making it in the bigs.
I was actually even at his major league debut at a road game in Houston. He went 2-4, his family was there, he doubled – it was all gumdrops and rainbows.
So, believe me when I say I really want to like the idea of Ryan Goins. A great, glove-first guy at the two bag, and he’s had some pretty serviceable numbers at stops in the minors.
But if the Toronto Blue Jays are going to start Goins at second base in the 2014 season, then there better be a contingency plan in place, because right now, the signs don’t really point to him being a major league-caliber starter.
I’m pretty patient when it comes to prospects. I am more than happy for the Jays to make a start with Goins, the reality though is that’s a little reckless.
Let’s take a look at some key stats on the kid from Round Rock:
With the Jays – 34G, 121PA, with a .252/.264/.345 line. (AVG/OBP/SLG)
Where things really got fugly though was with the walk and K rate. Walk rate was a horrific 1.7% and K rate and equally frightening 23.1%. I mean, that is approaching Arencibia territory (3.6%/29.8%). *shudders*
The masses have preached “small sample size”, and they are, by all means, correct. The concerning part is that for some numbers he did put up, particularly the K and walk rates, is where Fangraphs claim those start to normalize. But for things like average, and OBP, etc, we’ll really need to see an extended look.
The good stuff:
His numbers from AA were actually not so bad.
136G, 618PA, and a .289/.342/.403 line… Honestly, if Goins can replicate that at the MLB level, I can get down on that. The slugging is a bit shit, but a .342 OBP (or.336 wOBA) is fine by me.
Lump that in with a 7.6% walk rate, and 12.6% K rate when he was with the Fisher Cats? Granted those are basically the best numbers he posted in those fields in his pro career – and it’s double A – but that’s actually pretty alright. Or at least it’s mostly average. But mix in the sexy defense and you’re looking a useful major leaguer.
Speaking of defense:
In his brief look at the MLB level, his UZR was a fantastic 6.2, and UZR/150 was 33.1 – for perspective, the uber-talented Manny Machado had a UZR/150 of 31.2. The best second baseman? Darwin Barney at 15.5. Of course, they played all year, not just as a September call-up like Goins.
My guess is that number would go down, but hey, who knows? I mean Gibby likes what he sees, so why shouldn’t we?
Where can he improve?
Base running. This seems like the best, and most obvious thing Goins can improve on. Brooks Baseball gives a pretty unfavourable take on his track record as a hitter, so when he does get on base, he better be smart about it.
Goins seems like a pretty good athlete, and can obviously run somewhat if you consider his range. (I picture him as the anti-Troy Glaus) So why he hasn’t done better in this regard is beyond me. His BsR (Base Runs Above Average) was -2.1 in his stint with the Jays. Not great. In the minors he had 30 stolen bases, and 29 caught stealing. So… what gives?
My thinking is if he can work on his timing, try and figure out some of the pitchers, and get smarter about base running, then he’ll be able to at least work his way back up to average levels, and improve his overall value.
Long story short. He kinda looks like the second coming of Johnny Mac, just at a less important position, where it will be even harder for his weak bat to play. Maybe that’s nothing you didn’t already know, but now it’s all laid out here.
Maybe Goins is one of those guys who figures out how to hit at the major league level… but if not, I hope Anthopoulous has a plan B.
Good luck, Goins. I’ll be pulling for you.