Breaking Down Logan Forsythe's Breakout Season
Entering the fifth season of his career, Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Logan Forsythe had mostly been a platoon player, owning a career .281/.351/.480 slash line against left-handed pitching. He didn’t provide much against right-handers or in the field, as he recorded a total of 0.4 dWAR over his first four years.
Fast-forward to the end of the 2015 season and Logan Forsythe is arguably the best player for the Tampa Bay Rays. He has set career highs in nearly every category, including 28 doubles and 15 home runs. Forsythe is slashing .287/.361/.448 with a team-leading 125 OPS+ and .353 wOBA in over 500 plate appearances. Additionally, Forsythe ranks second on the team in WAR at 4.6, trailing just Kevin Kiermaier (who owns an incredible 6.6!), but ahead of Rays’ stars Chris Archer (-0.1) and Evan Longoria (3.2).
Forsythe is still destroying left-handing pitching, with an OPS of 1.008. But, he has also found new success against right-handers, hitting for a .279 batting average and a .353 on-base percentage this season.
Registering a nERD of 1.72 this year puts Forsythe in good company among hitters. The nERD measurement shows how many runs a batter would contribute compared to a league-average game of 27 plate appearances. After three negative nERD scores in his first four seasons, Forsythe’s breakout season is quite a surprise.
Some of Forsythe’s success can be attributed to his lower strikeout percentage. After striking out at 21.1% and 22.2% clips the past two seasons, Forsythe is at just 17.8% this season. He is also being more selective at the plate, swinging at just 40.2% of pitches this year, the lowest since his 62-game rookie campaign (39.5%).
In addition to his great offensive season, Forsythe has been a plus in the field as well. In just over 900 innings at second base this year, he owns a 4.4 UZR/150, meaning Forsythe is about 4 to 5 runs above average per 150 games played.
After trading away second baseman Ben Zobrist in the offseason, the Rays needed a guy to step up and fill that hole in the infield. Forsythe has done that and more, improving both at the plate and in the field, and helping to keep Tampa Bay competitive, as they rank seventh in our power rankings this year.