Outfielder George Springer and the Toronto Blue Jays are in agreement on a deal, sources familiar with the situation tell ESPN.
Springer is headed to Dunedin for a physical. And if all goes according to plan, Toronto will get the star it’s been looking for all winter.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 20, 2021
Springer, much like many of his former Astros teammates, has been heavily criticized for Houston’s sign-stealing scandal in 2017.
Some fans have labeled him as being ‘overrated’ and question his ability to perform as well when he doesn’t have external help.
‘Overrated’ and ‘underrated’ are very loose terms that fans and media throw around to try and determine whether a player is better or worse than the public perception he has.
But in George Springer’s case, he is far from underrated.
In fact, in any case, some fans underrate him as one of the very best all-around contributors in MLB.
3 Reasons Why George Springer Isn’t Overrated
1. He Is A Well Above-Average Performer Offensively And Defensively
Weighted Runs Created Plus, or wRC+, is one of the best metrics to evaluate offensive performance, and it sets the “average” mark at 100.
Any number below 100 means that the hitter has been below average, and any mark above 100 represents above-average production.
For his career, Springer has a .270/.361/.491 slash line with a 134 wRC+, meaning that he has produced 34% more than the average hitter’s offensive output.
Springer can hit for average and power; and he knows how to take a walk, too.
On top of all that, he is a very good defender at a premium position: center field.
During the 2020 season, he was in the 69th percentile in Outs Above Average and in the 62nd percentile in outfield jump.
He also had +6 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in center field during the abbreviated 2020 campaign.
With well above-average sprint speed (82nd percentile in 2020) he is, without a doubt, the complete package.
2. He Has Been A Model Of Consistency
If one navigates through a player’s statistical profile, it’s very common to find a few seasons of subpar performance, even in great players.
There is no such thing as a subpar season when one takes a peek at Springer’s career stats.
In his absolute worst season with the Astros, in 2018, he hit .265/.346/.434 with 22 home runs, 102 runs, 71 RBI and a 119 wRC+.
Lots of players would kill to play that well in one season.
Springer has hit in the regular season, is a playoff hero in Houston, and is an amazingly consistent performer.
3. He Has Performed At An Elite Level After The Sign-Stealing Scandal
It’s OK to be mad at Houston’s hitters after the 2017 sign-stealing scandal, but it’s not fair to assume that they aren’t talented batters.
Springer, specifically, has proven he can perform without any external help.
Let’s evaluate his performance from 2018 to 2020.
Over that timeframe, Springer is 19th in MLB in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) with 11.4.
He is also 14th in wRC+ with 138, 19th in home runs with 75, and 15th in runs scored with 235.
Springer’s best season came in 2019, two years removed from the whole sign-stealing drama.
He was a monster at the plate, slashing .292/.383/.591 with a .400 wOBA, a 157 wRC+, 39 homers, 96 runs, and 96 RBI.
If there were any doubts, he raked in the 2020 short campaign, with a .265/.359/.540, a 146 wRC+ and 14 home runs in just 51 games.
Springer was 11th in expected wOBA – a stat that evaluates a player’s performance based on quality of and amount of contact, not outcomes – during the 2020 season with .387.
All in all, Springer ranks pretty well among center fielders, according to MLB Network:
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) January 14, 2021
To sum up, George Springer’s track record of offensive and defensive excellence, plus the fact that he performed before and after the 2017 sign-stealing scheme, make him far from overrated.
In fact, there is a very strong argument that he is one of the most underrated stars in the league.