Published on April 6th, 2016 | by Josh Chapdelaine0
What did luck have to do with Eric Campbell’s roster spot?
Eric Campbell unceremoniously made the Mets’ Opening Day roster for the first time in his career amid fan backlash that a poor 2015 season will serve as a harbinger of future performance.
The 28-year-old was 12-for-48 (.292), drew 11 walks and produced a .433 on-base percentage this spring, earning the versatile utilityman his first Opening Day assignment.
If Campbell’s meager 2015 results serve as the primary basis for concern about his 25-man roster candidacy, his peripherals serve as reassurance that Sandy Alderson and the Mets brass have superb reason to keep Campbell around for a major-league look in a part-time role.
Campbell hit .263/.322/.358 in 211 major-league plate appearances in 2014, which Fangraphs valued at one half-win above replacement. Part-time players that project to 1.5 fWAR are rare to find at league minimum salary and are the pieces that successful organizations must retain to ensure payroll and roster flexibility.
His luck ran dry in 2015. Campbell’s batting average on balls in play dipped from an above-average rate (.348) in 2014 to a well below-average mark (.230) in 2015. This, despite a hard-hit percentage that dipped from 29.0 percent to 28.8 percent, a near-negligible amount. His contact rate also jumped from 77.1 percent to 80.1 percent
Campbell displayed improved patience and pitch recognition during his second big league season, improving his walk percentage from 8.1 percent in 2014 to 12.6 percent in 2015. If his strong spring showcase is any indiction, this sample was not a fluke. Furthermore, he swung at pitches outside of the strike zone with significantly less frequency in 2015 (21.4 percent) than he did in 2014 (28.3 percent).
Do you believe Eric Campbell can rebound to serve as a quality bench player for the Mets in 2016?