This morning, I received an email from our Great Leader, Chadwick Ulysses Dotson. In it, he pointed me to this post I wrote in December 2016 about Eugenio Suarez. I make some fairly bold predictions in that post for a player who had just finished an overall below average season. Essentially, I said that Suarez had just had the most difficult possible season and was still not terrible and still young and given that and his minor league track record we should expect:
His defense to be very good.
His walk rate to increase.
A production level with a 3.0 WAR floor and a 5.0 WAR ceiling.
Check, check, and check.
According to both Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs, Suarez produced 0.8 WAR with defense this year, making him one of the 3 or 4 best third basemen in the league. His walk rate went from 8.1% to 13.3% and he produced 4.1 WAR according to FanGraphs and 3.7 according to Baseball-Reference, for an average of 3.9.
Let it never be said I’m afraid to admit when I’m right. And I was REALLY right about this.
And now, obviously, Suarez is slated to be a part of the Reds for the foreseeable future. Barring some type of disastrous injury, it’s incredibly unlikely that he won’t be “worth” what the Reds pay him (as Steve pointed out the other day).
Further, none of Suarez’s recent growth seems luck-based. His BABIP is perfectly normal. His defense passes both the eye and the sabrmetrics test, and walk rate is skill where luck has very little influence. He’s for real and he’s yet to have a particularly lucky year. If he has a year, for instance, where he’s able through luck or Joey Votto tutelage to up his BABIP to around .340 (this happens to lots of players once or twice in their careers), then he’s an MVP candidate.
Finally, there have been multiple quotes indicating that he’s willing to move around the diamond in order to help the Reds field the best possible lineup. This is exactly the kind of player you want to sign to an extension. He’s not going to cause tension in the clubhouse, and he’s going to be an excellent player on the field.
Eugenio Suarez is 26 years old. Last year, according to FanGraphs he was the 34th best position player in MLB (remember, there are 30 teams, so that’s REALLY good). There is absolutely no reason to expect any of his numbers to decline substantially for several years and he is already a borderline all-star. In fact, as I close this out, let me make one more prediction:
In at least one of the next three seasons, Eugenio Suarez will have an OPS over .900 and will finish in the top-10 in MVP voting.
Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.