Players have bad seasons. It’s part of baseball. Manny Machado is having a bad year, Andrew McCutchen is having a bad year. Players also have really bad years. Kyle Schwarber, Ryan Schimpf and Alex Gordon fall into that category.
Then there’s the year that Alcides Escobar is having. It’s not bad, it’s not even really bad. Escobar’s season is absolutely horrible by every sense of the word. Escobar’s batting average is currently .179, and that is his best stat as of right now.
How can that be possible? Just look through the rest of the numbers. Escobar’s OBP is .204 and his SLG is .226 which gives him an absolutely woeful .430 OPS, far and away the worst in the league. Escobar has never had power, so it’s not a surprise the slugging percentage is low but he’s usually been capable of at least a serviceable OBP.
This year, he’s barely getting on base 20 percent of his at-bats. He’s not hitting the ball at all, and he’s not walking or reaching other ways either.
His sabermetrics are even more shudder-worthy. Escobar’s 2.2 BB % is the lowest in the league, and his 19.1 K % certainly isn’t helping his case whatsoever. His BABIP is actually .222 though, so if he could limit his strikeouts he may be able to make his season at least mediocre enough for Royals fans to stomach.
No stats are worse thought than his wOBA and wRC+, which currently stand at .190 and an absolutely embarrassing 8. His wRC+ is nearly 35 points worst than the next worst player, teammate Alex Gordon.
Some of the worst seasons in memory belong to Mike Zunino, Chone Figgins and the infamous Mario Mendoza, but Escobar’s numbers make those guys look like MVP’s. The only thing keeping Escobar in the majors right now is his tremendous glove. His 7.7 Defensive War is good for the fifth highest in baseball, and his 5.2 UZR is the best in the league among shortstops.
If it weren’t for those numbers right there, Escobar would likely find himself out of a job because a player with those offensive numbers clearly is not a big league hitter.