Five-Tool is proud to have 9 players featured in the 2017 playoffs from 5 different teams. In this article I will recap their regular seasons and foreshadow their playoff performances. All statistics come from www.fangraphs.com
YASIEL PUIG (Dodgers)
- WAR: 2.9
- HR: 28
- wOBA vs RHP: .377
- OBP vs RHP: .355
- wRC+ vs RHP: 136
- wRAA vs RHP: 20.1
Puig had a good season and is a valuable member of the Dodgers team who finished the season with the best record in the MLB. While struggling a little against LHP, Puig has been very good against righties this year posting a .377 wOBA against righties, while being accountable for 20.1 runs above average (wRAA) against RHP. With his love of the spotlight and clutch situations, look for Puig to be a valuable make a splash in the Dodgers playoff run.
FERNANDO ABAD (Red Sox)
- IP: 43.2
- ERA: 3.30
- K/9: 7.63
- K/BB vs LHP: 4.20
Fernando Abad also had a good year for the Sox. Mainly being a platoon lefty reliever, Abad did his job and provided a valuable service for this Red Sox team. Posting a 2.82 xFIP in High Leverage situations this year, he has definitely proven he can be a clutch reliever. Look for Abad to come in some tight spots versus lefties this postseason.
CARLOS SANTANA (Indians)
- WAR: 3.0
- wOBA: .350
- wRC+: 117
- BB%: 13.2%
- wRAA vs RHP: 13.4
- wRC+ vs RHP: 123
Carlos Santana has been one of the most consistent hitters in the MLB for the past 5-7 years. He has been kind of overlooked by most outside Cleveland, but has quietly put together a very nice career. With patience always being his forte, Santana has a career 15.2% walk rate, which with another good year or so, would put him in the top-50 all-time. After having a slow start to the year, Santana was a key part in the Indians second-half dominance and contributed greatly to their AL all-time record of 22 straight wins. Expect Santana to stay hot and mash during the playoffs.
BYRON BUXTON (Twins)
- WAR: 3.5
- OAA (Outs above Average): 24 (best in MLB)
- 4-Star Catch%: 92.9% (best in MLB)
- 3-Star Catch%: 95.5% (best in MLB min. 20 attempts)
- Catch Percentage Added: 6% (best in MLB)
- Sprint Speed (ft./sec): 30.2 (best in MLB)
As you can clearly see by the highlights I’ve provided (defensive statistics provided courtesy of www.baseballsavant.com ), Buxton had a bit of a coming-out party this year by accepting the player he truly is; a defensive mastermind. Leading the MLB in almost all OF defensive metrics, Buxton will more than likely walk away with a Gold Glove in 2017. While the Twins had a disappointing end to the season, they have plenty to be optimistic about with this future star in Byron Buxton. In case you want to know, this is why he is so valuable:
ERVIN SANTANA (Twins)
- IP: 211.1(2nd in AL)
- ERA: 3.28 (5th in AL)
- WAR: 2.9
- Soft-Contact%: 22.3% (2nd in AL among SP)
- Hard-Contact%: 27.9% (2nd lowest % in AL)
- wSL (weighted Slider rating): 21.6 (best in AL SP)
Santana had one of his best years in his career in 2017. Eating 211.1 innings and making those innings productive with only putting up a 3.28 ERA, Ervin Santana was the definition of a workhorse ace. While Santana did not strike out a lot of batters, he did an excellent job of producing soft-contact while limiting the amount of hard-hit balls in play. Boasting one of the best sliders among SP in the AL, Santana should finish in the Top-10 in the Cy Young voting.
MIGUEL SANÓ (Twins)
- wRC+: 124
- OBP: .352
- wOBA: .361
- HR/FB: 27.5% (3rd in AL)
- Hard-Contact%: 44.8% (3rd in AL)
Miguel Sanó was terrific for the Twins in 2017. One of the faces of the Three True Outcomes revolution, Sanó produced at a solid level this year. While dealing with nagging injuries, he still managed to hit 28 HR, and produce a 124 wRC+. When he hits the ball, he hits it hard, and most of the time, it goes over the fence as demonstrated by the 27.5 HR/FB%. Sanó will continue to be a power force throughout his career, and look for him to be a centerpiece in the future of the Twins franchise along with Byron Buxton.
JAVIER BAEZ (Cubs)
- HR: 23
- SLG: .480
- wOBA: .326
- WAR: 2.3
In 2017, Javy Baez proved he is going to be consistent in the MLB. But, it’s a different type of consistent than normal. He has been and is going to be a very good defensive utility man who can play almost every position on the field; he is going to hit 20-30 HR a year, but is going to swing-and-miss a lot; he is going to give you good speed as well. Add all that up, and you have a very productive everyday player for the Cubs who are looking to repeat. Look for Baez’s flashy glove, electric energy, and all-or-nothing swing in the playoffs.
ADDISON RUSSELL (Cubs)
- WAR: 1.4
- SLG: .418 (best of career)
Dealing with injuries for a good portion of 2017, Russell had a bit of a down year at the plate. Still playing a good defensive shortstop, Russell managed to be productive while on the field this year, and will continue to appear in the Cubs lineup throughout the playoffs. Maybe his injuries were the reason for his struggles? Maybe a hot streak in the playoffs is on the horizon for Russell.
WILSON CONTRERAS (Cubs)
- WAR: 3.2 (5th among Catchers)
- OBP: .356 (5th among Catchers)
- wOBA: .362
- wRC+: 121
- DRS (Defensive Runs Saved): 7 (5th among Catchers)
Wilson Contreras is one of the most underrated players in baseball. He put up Top-5 Catcher numbers in almost every category this year, and was a big part in the Cubs second-half resurgence. Flashing his power with 21 HR this year, look for Contreras to continue to develop and get smarter at the plate and to develop into a Top-3 catcher in the MLB for years to come.
Article by John Sanchez