With the Mariners being so boring lately, my mind has wandered to more general baseball thoughts. There are a few things I’ve been pondering, and I figure I’ll share some of them with you. Here’s the first one.
Everyone knows Yuniesky Betancourt is having another terrible offensive season, posting a meager .267/.288/.418 line for a .305 wOBA. It’s interesting, then, to see that Kevin Kouzmanoff, who seemingly has a reputation as at least a decent hitter, is putting up a shockingly similar .260/.295/.391 for a .299 wOBA. On defense, Kouzmanoff makes up for it by being a stellar defensive player, but as hitters, they reach their results in similar ways.
Kouzmanoff has a career 4.6% BB rate, which is not as bad as Betancourt’s laugh-inducing 3.2% rate, but neither of them seem to have any idea how to navigate the strike zone. They also have nearly identical BABIP’s, with Kouzmanoff’s .292 mark besting Yuni’s .287 by a measly five points. They even both have line drive percentages just tenths of a percent away from 19%. The main difference is contact, where Kouzmanoff makes contact in 11% less of his plate appearances than Betancourt, which lends to his higher strikeout rate. Still, the slight difference in walks gives Kouzmanoff a nearly identical slash line and wOBA.
While Kevin Kouzmanoff is certainly a better player than Yuniesky Betancourt, as he is one of the better defensive third basemen in the league. However, he’s really not much better of a hitter than Yuniesky Betancourt, and he takes a strikingly similar path to reach those results. Given that, I see no reason why Kevin Kouzmanoff has a greater reputation as a hitter.