by John Viril—
Alcides Escobar is an offensive liability.
There’s really no way to sugar-coat it. Long considered a “glove-first” player, Escobar raised hopes by hitting a solid .293/.331/.390 line last season. One of the key questions coming into the 2013 season was whether Escobar could maintain his improvement at the plate.
The answer is a resounding NO.
Rather than showing improvement, Alcides Escobar is suffering through his worst season as a hitter. His current .235/.263/.305 line yields a paltry .568 OPS that is considerably worse than his career mark of .645. Analysis of his batted ball data suggests that a changed approach at the plate has led to his steep decline.
The fact that jumps out from Escobar’s statistics is his low .263 Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP). That’s a huge drop from last season’s sky-high .344. One might dismiss this reversal as a particularly sharp case of regression, except that the shift mirrors another significant change. His ground ball ra...