Looking at Player X the best positional free agent signed for 2019

Coming out of an off-season where some free agent contracts had lots of zeroes in them and we are talking TONS of them, lets take a look at the positional player who has been the best (So Far) for his new team. For the moment we will call him Player X and we will look at his numbers against a bunch of the other top free agents signed this season. (All stats through Tuesday 5-14-19).

Player X – 55 hits (tied for 1st in his league), .335 BA (1st), .379 OBP (16th),.964 OPS (7th), 26 runs (Tied for 15th), 10 HRs (Tied for 13th) 31 RBIs (9th). Signed for 2 years/ $32 million

Bryce Harper – .219 BA / .370 OBP (17th)/ .802 OPS / 32 hits / 25 runs / 7 HRs / 25 RBIs – only his .370 OBP is in the top 20 in the NL. Signed for 13 yrs/ $330 MM

Manny Machado – .265 BA / .335 OBP/ .806 OPS / 41 hits / 23 runs / 9 HRs (19th) / 23 RBIs – only his 9 HRs is in the top 20 in the NL. Signed for 10 yrs / $300 MM

Yasmani Grandal – .265 BA / .353 OBP / .807 OPS / 35 hits / 21 runs / 7 HRs / 19 RBIs – none in the top 20 in his league (but solid numbers for a catcher). Signed for 1 yr / $18.25 MM

A.J. Pollock –  .223 BA / .287 OBP /  .617 OPS / 23 hits / 15 runs / 2 HR / 14 RBIs – Nothing in the top 20 in his league and on the IL. Signed for 4 yrs / $55 MM

Andrew McCutchen – .232 BA / .363 OBP / .751 OPS / 36 hits / 28 runs (14th) / 5 HR / 14 RBIs – Only runs scored is in the top 20 in the NL – Signed for 3 yrs / $50 MM

Josh Donaldson – .254 BA / .379 OBP (15th) / .849 OPS / 34 hits / 22 runs / 6 HRs / 19 RBIs – Only his OBP is in the top 20 in the NL – Signed for 1 yr / $23 MM

Wilson Ramos – .231 BA / .299 OBP / .604 OPS / 28 hits / 15 runs / 2 HRs / 23 RBIs – None in the Top 20 in the NL – Signed for 2 yrs / $19 MM

Marwin Gonzalez – .232 BA / .314 OBP / .666 OPS / 29 hits / 14 runs / 4 HRs / 13 RBIs – None in the top 20 in his league –  Signed for 2 yrs / $21 MM

Nelson Cruz – .270 BA / .354 OBP / .862 OPS / 34 hits / 19 runs / 7 HRs / 22 RBIs – None in the top 20 in his league – Currently sitting out a few games with a wrist injury – Signed for 1 yr / $14.3 MM

Jed Lowrie – .Has not played yet with a knee injury – Expected back in June – Signed for 3 yrs / $30 MM

Daniel Murphy – .200 BA / .269 OBP / .652 OPS / 12 hits / 10 runs / 2 HRs / 13 RBIs – None in the top 20 in his league – Missed time with a broken finger – Signed for 2 yrs / $24 MM

Brian Dozier – .192 BA / . 295 OBP / .618 OPS / 25 hits / 12 runs / 5 HRs / 7 RBIs – None in the top 20 in his league – Signed for 1 yr / $9 MM

D.J. LeMahieu – .333 BA (2nd in AL) / .384 OBP (13th) / . 836 OPS / 45 hits (16th) / 22 runs / 2 HRs / 21 RBIs – Top 20 in BA, OBP and hits in AL – Signed for 2 yrs / $21 MM

Mike Moustakas – .248 BA / .315 OBP / .825 OPS / 38 hits / 22 runs / 10 HR (13th) / 27 RBIs (18th) – Top 20 in HRs and RBIs in NL – Signed for 1 yr / $10 MM

Nick Markakis – .293 BA (18th) / .388 OBP (13th) / .841 OPS / 44 hits / 26 runs (18th) / 4 HRs / 23 RBIs – Top 20 in BA, OBP and runs in the NL – Signed for 1 yr / $6 MM

Adam Jones – .276 BA / .341 OBP / .850 OPS / 45 hits (18th) / 21runs / 9 HRs (19th) / 25 RBIs – Top 20 in hits and HRs in the NL – Signed for 1 yr / $3 MM

While most of these players have been solid or at least decent, while someone like LeMahieu has been very good in an injury ravaged Yankees’ lineup, and while guys like Markakis and Jones have been real bargains, the new positional free agent, who has really shown in every category is Player X. And Player X is ……the Astros’ Michael Brantley. Player X is probably a good nickname for a guy who has been good to very good throughout his career, but usually overshadowed by teammates.

He has been a critical cog in an Astros’ lineup that is returning to the beast days of 2017. He is making the players ahead and behind him better hitters and gives the team the middle of the order left handed bat they have been lacking. The Astros have 3 of the top 9 BAs in the AL (Brantley, Josh Reddick and George Springer) and 4 of the top 10 in OPS (Brantley, Springer, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa).

YIE (Yes, It’s Early) but a big chunk of the Astros MLB best 29-15 record is resting on an offensive explosion led by their new left fielder. Brantley will no doubt cool off along the way, but don’t be surprised if he surpasses his career best 20 HRs and 97 RBIs in the middle of this lineup. Especially if Jose Altuve comes back healthy and comes back as the 2017 MVP Jose Altuve.

Player X may not be an under the radar star after this season.





53 comments on “Looking at Player X the best positional free agent signed for 2019

  1. Player “X” is a big reason for this year’s success as you pointed out. I seem to remember that I said he was going to be a big contributor in a previous post early in the year (but I might be wrong). Anyway, how’s SD and Philly feeling about their high priced off season acquisitions. Maybe this insanity will stop due to that. I know Springer will command a high price but I trust JL will do the right thing. And I would think, George would much rather stay here then play elsewhere. After all, money isn’t everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. According to the stats at Fangraphs, these are the players and their positions that comprise the best lineup in baseball:
    Springer RF
    Altuve 2B
    Bregman 3B
    Brantley DH
    Correa SS
    Reddick LF
    Diaz 1B
    Chirinos C
    Marisnick CF
    The lowest wRC+ in that group is Diaz who sits at 112 in that particular stat. That means he has been 12% better than the average major leaguer at the plate. He also has the best defensive stats at 1B this season of the 3 players who have played there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just looked up Diaz on baseball reference and they say he’s (6′-1″) tall. Does that seem right?
      He started off slow but really has been a spark plug lately.


      • I think Diaz is close to 6″-1″ because when you watch him run he has a nice long stride, which we didn’t notice for the first week or two because he wasn’t running the bases much.
        My take on Player X, Player Y(as in Y not make me your catcher?) and Player Z(as in DiaZZ) is they are having so much fun playing for this team, that it is affecting their abilities to the positive. They are all playing better than last season.


    • What he [George Springer] said: “I think it’s an honor to wear an Astros jersey. To play on the road and see Astros fans everywhere in all different walks of life is something special to me. I know the guys in this clubhouse are very close with the community. This is the best place to play. I love it here.”

      What he [George Springer] meant: “I think it’s an honor to wear an Astros jersey. To play on the road and see Astros fans everywhere in all different walks of life is something special to me. I know the guys in this clubhouse are very close with the community. This is the best place to play. I love it here.”


  3. There was a long article about Player X and his father in paper couple weeks ago. They’re tight. Everybody is different but I like his seriousness and way he keeps his head down. That quality can only play well against some of the more boisterous personalities on the team. This is Houston after all, so let’s hope the ‘Stros are just one more chemical plant, without the pollution.


  4. If Brantley stays healthy, he’s a great deal. Next year about this time, we might be looking to tack on a couple of additional years. It’s hard to say who exactly will be playing the outfield for our Astros in 2021. George? Alvarez? Brantley? Straw? Tucker? Jake? Beer Man? I think figuring out a way to keep Springer is paramount. Assuming Reddick is gone, losing George would leave us with a significantly less athletic outfield.

    Every time I revisit the Harper lifetime deal, I smile. If he’s not Babe Ruth, that Philly crowd will eventually turn on him. But that dumb club was not forced to give all that money to a guy who averages 26 homers a year, has only reached 100 RBI’s once, who hits .276 lifetime and has an OPS under .900. All good numbers sure, but not a third of a billion worth.

    Same thing for Macado. An .821 lifetime OPS. 100 RBI’s once. .336 OBP.
    Based on these numbers, George’s agent will be looking for a lot more than we’ll be able to afford. I know Springer is a joyful guy who loves playing baseball with the guys he’s playing with. But at the end of the day, I don’t think we’re going to get a significant hometown discount for his services down the road.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I watched “Moneyball” again this week. I would love to see the algorithm (or whatever) that JL uses to determine the dollar value of players. And before someone pipes up from the cheap seats. “NO, I would not understand it.”

    And that would go for Player X, and Y and Z and probably AA, AB, etc.


  6. -Porcello’s own efficiency might have led to his demise. If not for the low pitch count, Cora wouldn’t have left him in there.
    -It’s the little things that count. Martinez is no longer an average outfielder and he looked terrible on Reddick’s short sac fly. He did not set himself up for a throw because he didn’t think Brantley would try to score. Sometimes you can outsmart yourself by thinking you can get away with sticking a bad outfielder out there. If Betts is in RF that run doesn’t score.
    – So, This Good Jake has lasted through spring training, through April and half of May. A good hitting Jake Marisnick changes a lot.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I gotta admit I had to go outside when Asuna walked Benintendi. He was waiting for Betts to come to the plate to get them in. I exhaled when my husband told me we got out of it. I have a feeling Corbin is going to get worn out tomorrow night. The one guy who really needs to step up is Correa, he’s hitting clean up for a reason. Forgot to tell ya’ll Springer’s sister couldn’t pronounce George, so she gave him his nick name….”Geeg”!


  8. It’s nice seeing J.D. out in right. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to exploit him again over the weekend. The Sox are trying to find nine live bats to put in the line up, but they’ve got Jackie Bradley hitting .153 on the season, so he sat. They used Nunez at DH last night. He came in hitting .191 and finished at .181. Their other two bench guys are hitting .111 and .200. They’ve got holes, at least for now. Conversely, our fourth outfielder is arguably the best defensive outfielder in the league, and is hitting.

    But what I find most remarkable is that the Sox have already used 21 pitchers in this young season. Hector Velazquez, the guy starting tonight threw 63 pitches last time out, his longest outing of the season. I think we can get to him and give our young guy some breathing room.


    • For the first time in his life, he’s getting his ass kicked. Maybe, at age 21, he’s not yet ready to face quality hitting.


      • But he really has not been entirely untouchable throughout his minor league career. We should not be considering him an automatic at this point regardless of what the experts say.


  9. Someone mentioned yesterday that Teoscar Hernandez has been sent down. I was checking up on Ramon Laureano a bit ago. He’s hitting .228 with a .285 OBP with 10 walks and 51 K’s. Has the real Ramon stood up?


  10. Pressly set the MLB record with 39 consecutive appearances against the team that originally drafted him. Kimbrel who used to be the Red Sox closer held the record – but I think he set it with the Braves


  11. How ’bout that Josh James!! Corbin Martin had a bad case of nerves, but still he didn’t let the game get away from him. *10* games in a row sure does feel good! They left waaay too many on base….daveb nephew had a pretty good game tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This team is spoiling old Dan P. I love the early scoring – puts the other team on their heels and in a big hole.
    Nice to see James get the win after another solid appearance.


  13. I loved what Corbin Martin did tonight. From the very beginning of the game the umpire was squeezing both pitchers. After the Astros got the lead he kept squeezing Martin and gave an extra three inches of strike zone to the Red Sox. Still, the Astros beat the Red Sox and the ump.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I got a kick out of the Fox announcers in the first inning of Saturday night’s game. With the Astros knocking the ball off the wall, all we were hearing about was how great the outfield of the Red Sox was.
    If the Astros were ever to make a big statement, it would be today, with Miley going against Sale.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes – the Astros were “lucky” the Red Sox weren’t catching those lasers.
      You mean how the Red Sox were lucky catching OF lasers in the playoffs last year? Or not even catching one but being rewarded for it?

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Josh James gets my game MVP. Corbin got a whole lot of experience last night. And he hung in there too. Just has to be a bit more careful at expressing his exasperation with the guy calling balls and strikes. Nice to get a win in Boston on a night when our guys were not very tidy on the bases. I’ve never seen Stassi look dumb before, although he does not have a lot of experience standing on third base. I was feeling pretty good about watching the game on FOX last night. Cable went out in the 7th inning. I don’t expect to have it back on today. Out in this neck of the woods, faults are dealt with Monday to Friday only, if you’ve lucky.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Stat of the day, only 2 teams in the history of baseball have 2 10 game winning streaks before the end of MAY . 2019 Astro’s and the 1955 Dodgers!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Some thoughts:
    – Player X quietly did what he does – three hits, scored a run, knocked in a run.
    – James has turned things around and could be a very important multi-inning weapon during the season
    – I was expecting Stassi to try and score on the fly to center (did not see if he had a stop sign), but Marisnick shouldn’t be headed for an occupied base
    – Even with that out on the bases it was nice to see him get a couple hits and he almost had a monster HR one time AB, just a little too quick
    – What the heck is this offense like if White starts stroking and Altuve comes back and is Altuve once agains?
    – It’s hard to comprehend Sale getting 17 Ks in only 7 innings (last time out). I hope our team is able to do a better job of getting contact off him
    – The announcers were sure hoping the Red Sox would get back in that game, but the Astros would let them score and then come back to extend it a run again
    – Maybe the Astros can work Sale, get him out of the game by the 6th inning and beat up on the Sox bullpen

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Dan, speaking of “quietly,” you were “quite” on target with your last two features, George Springer and “X.” Do you have a pipeline?


  19. You know me. I am not one of those guys who lament players moving on to other teams. So this is not one of those “I told you so” moments. I just was looking at today’s schedule and probable starting pitchers.
    Fiers, Thornton, Folty, Musgrove and Morton are all starting today.
    Go, Astros!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. The good news is that Sale should be done after 6. But we’ve given the Sox 2 of their 3 runs today. I guess it makes keeping the streak going a bit more interesting.


  21. In other news…
    My 85 year old father-in-law who was married for 62 years and has been a widower for 2 years is engaged!!!
    Not sure what to say other than we love his fiancée.


    • That’s great Dan!

      Separately, Jake kind of looked like the real Jake this weekend. Totally flummoxed by the breaking staff, even when it was getting ready to hit him. Oh well.


  22. Not surprised that Springer left the game with back stiffness. He looked like he over torqued it a few games ago and has looked uncomfortable a few times since


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