Raul Diaz Has The Best Rookie Season Since 1934

This post is related to the 2020 Best Baseball League series. If you missed it, check out the series kick-off article.

The 2020 Best Baseball League

With my 3rd round pick (I picked 11th in the snake draft, so this was pick #71), I selected 22-year-old short stop Raul “Bump” Diaz, a Venezuelan prospect that, in my eyes, showed a lot of upside, 2-3 years in the future. When drafted, he was scouted as a 52, with a potential rating of 69 (reminder that these ratings are out of 80). He projected to have elite contact ability at the plate, with above average gap power, average overall power, and while he wouldn’t walk a lot, he also wouldn’t strike out a lot, so he should get on base at a high clip. Combine that with his good wheels and solid range at short, I thought we had a prospect that showed significant upside, 1-3 years in the future. And, while I knew he could be serviceable as a young starter in 2020, I drafted Diaz banking on All-Star-level play in the future. Raul had other plans.

He started the year off hot, extending a 22-game hitting streak into the first days of May. He entered the game in which his streak ended hitting .362, to go along 5 doubles, 3 home runs and 13 RBIs.

According to Baseball Reference’s Play Index, not since 1934 has a rookie produced a season like Diaz’s. In 615 at bats, Raul hit .333 with 205 hits, 44 doubles, 5 triples, 15 home runs and scored 111 runs. That resulted in 5.6 WAR. Check out his real-life company, the only 3 players to have 200 hits, with at least 40 of them doubles, and an average of .330 or above in their rookie season:

Hal Trosky19342168520645935142.330.388.598.98730.6
Benny Kauff1914246692114413895.370.447.534.98129
Dale Alexander192926701215431525137.343.397.580.97714
RAUL DIAZ2020226762054451580.333.388.494.992???

One interesting tidbit. All 4 of these players had at least 17 errors in their rookie years (the most was 22 by Trosky – Diaz had 20).

Only one other time in history has Raul’s stat line been matched (149 games or less, 200+ hits, 40+ doubles, .330+ average) at a younger age (A-Rod in 1996 – who would have been in the list above had he not been a rookie at age 19). And every other time it was matched, regardless of age, it was done by a very noteworthy player. If you can be on a list that includes Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby and Shoeless Joe, you’re likely in OK company.

Alex Rodriguez36146215.35854199620SEAAL677601141112359104.414.6311.045
RAUL DIAZ15149215.33344202022LFTAL6766151115805679.388.494.882
Shoeless Joe Jackson7147233.40845191123CLEAL64157112619835642.468.5901.058
Ty Cobb8146248.41947191124DETAL656592148241274442.466.6201.086
Rogers Hornsby9149218.37044192024STLNL6605899620946050.431.559.990
Chuck Klein43149219.35645192924PHINL67961612661455461.407.6571.065
Nap Lajoie14131232.42648190126PHAAL58254414514125249.463.6431.106
Tip O’Neill14124225.43552188727STLAA572517167191235020.490.6911.180
Hugh Duffy18125237.44051189427BSNNL616539160161456615.502.6941.196
Mickey Vernon8148207.35351194628WSHAL638587888854964.403.508.910
Wade Boggs8149207.35747198628BOSAL69358010727110544.453.486.939
Johnny Frederick17142206.33444193028BRONL67361612011764634.383.524.908
Harry Heilmann18144211.40344192328DETAL627524121111157440.481.6321.113
Nap Lajoie5140208.37649190429CLEAL59555392151022719.413.546.959
Lew Fonseca6148209.36944192930CLEAL64556697151035023.427.532.959
Ed Delahanty9146238.41055189931PHINL64558113591375522.464.5821.046
Paul Waner5148218.37353193633PITNL6665851079947429.446.520.965
Sam Thompson18119211.39245189535PHINL576538131211653111.430.6541.085
Tony Gwynn17149220.37249199737SDPNL6515929721194328.409.547.957

Had Raul been the brightest spot on the Laval Flying Tigers, I would have been happy. But it turned out that Diaz finished 4th in batting WAR on the team.

Low Leverage3221122937215528391010.3480.4010.5220.922
Medium Leverage212691015314423231000.3250.3900.4530.843
High Leverage792451328125172000.3040.3370.5060.844
Stats by Leverage
Versus Left12545904182610211000.3600.4040.5280.932
Versus Right49016035511628546583010.3270.3830.4860.869
Lefty/rRghty Splits
Monthly Stats
Inning 1-3225561103213624292010.2490.3210.3380.659
Inning 4-6203761939384418252000.3740.4220.6311.052
Inning 7-9176721323213014220000.4090.4530.5571.009
Extra Innings11110001030000.0910.0910.1820.273
0 Outs216721227185224280000.3330.4000.5050.905
1 Outs234782216264115264010.3330.3700.5130.883
2 Outs165551022361817250000.3330.3960.4550.850
Situational Stats (1)
Scoring Position12641612562218144000.3250.3990.4370.835
Bases Empty357122283995930460010.3420.3940.5130.907
Runner on 1st13242101415308190000.3180.3570.5000.857
Runner on 2nd40141021113730000.3500.4470.5250.972
Runner on 3rd12411061230000.3330.4290.5831.012
Runner on 1st & 2nd38820086550000.2110.3020.2630.565
Runner on 1st & 3rd14400050210000.2860.3750.2860.661
Runner on 2nd & 3rd6200060023000.3330.2220.3330.556
Bases Loaded169200202201000.5630.5790.6881.266
Situational Stats (2)
Two Strikes220571525153119790010.2590.3210.4140.734
First Pitch1214713151921201000.3880.3950.6361.032
Count 0-1451821047000000.4000.4000.4890.889
Count 0-2388202460200000.2110.2110.4210.632
Count 1-058174021111000000.2930.2930.4660.759
Count 1-172314021116001000.4310.4250.5690.994
Count 1-27616610060290000.2110.2110.3160.526
Count 2-0221020073000000.4550.4550.5451.000
Count 2-1561830177001000.3210.3160.4290.744
Count 2-26919212260220010.2750.2860.4200.706
Count 3-032010351401000.6670.8891.3332.222
Count 3-11851003102100000.2780.6670.3331.000
Full Count37145019131980000.3780.5890.5951.184
Behind in Count1594210228190490000.2640.2640.3900.654
Ahead in Count15752101331363502000.3310.4480.4650.913
Stats by Count
Batting Leadoff39710127560000.1790.2730.2820.555
Batting 2nd3961383147487032463010.3480.3960.5000.896
Batting 6th21600142030000.2860.2860.4290.714
Batting 7th142501116263016211000.3520.4150.5700.986
Batting 8th5000000010000.0000.0000.0000.000
Batting 9th12410002320000.3330.4670.4170.883
Stats by Batting Position

Categories: 2020 Best Baseball League, OOTP Simulation

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