Published on April 20th, 2014 | by Josh Chapdelaine0
Has Ruben Tejada Been Unlucky in 2014?
New York Mets SS Ruben Tejada has been the subject of abject criticism in recent months for his underwhelming performance. The 24-year-old Panamanian is off to a slow start both offensively and defensively, but there may be reason to believe his offensive production has been the result of bad luck.
Tejada entered Sunday’s finale against the Atlanta Braves hitting a meager .184/.286/.204 -Numbers that have people calling for Stephen Drew, Wilmer Flores, or recently-released veteran Alex Gonzalez to step into the starting role for the Amazin’s- but an opposite field pinch-hit on Sunday afternoon brought a keen reminder about Tejada’s potential with the stick.
When one examines Tejada’s results this year, it’s easy to dismiss that the shortstop has much to offer the club. His peripherals tell a much better story, one that will perhaps begin to translate to big league results as he sees more playing time.
Tejada’s struggles this season are different than those he faced in 2013. Many attributed his failures last season to his inability to drive the ball at a high percentage like he did during his successful 2012 campaign in which he hit .289/.333/.351. Tejada was hitting line drives 10.8% less in 2013 compared to 2012, getting away from the spray hitter that many projected he would be most successful as.
Tejada has shifted the peripherals back into his favor in 2014. The enigmatic shortstop is hitting line drives at a career-high 36.1%, and has been successful in cutting back on fly balls (His 34.1% rate has been cut to 25.0% in 2014). So why hasn’t Tejada been successful in 2014? There may be a certain element of bad luck on the shortstop’s side.
Tejada’s BABIP is a mere .250, or 50 points below his career .300 BABIP. He simply isn’t having luck finding open ground in the outfield. Hitters that drive the ball as often as Tejada don’t typically suffer awful results for long, and his offensive production should conceivably improve as he receives more plate appearances moving forward.
It’s easy to get ahead of oneself when judging performance in April, but Tejada’s performance is presenting an interesting case that he may be the victim of bad luck on the offensive side of the diamond.
Photo Credit: Michael Baron