Jarrod Dyson Did the Improbable on Monday and Hit a Home Run
Power versus speed.
It's rare in baseball that a player will possess both traits simultaneously over the course of their career, and such is the case for Kansas City Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson.
Since making his big league debut in 2010, Dyson's speed was apparent from the jump. He swiped nine bags that season despite only playing in 18 games, and although he's played sparingly since -- his career high in games played for a single season is 120 and his career high for plate appearances is 330 -- he's racked up the 14th-most steals since 2010.
Among the 13 hitters ahead of him, all except Dee Gordon have appeared in at least 195 more games than Dyson and none of them (including Gordon) have fewer plate appearances. It's not even close, actually, as Dyson has 681 fewer plate appearances than the next closest player.
Not only does Dyson have a lot of steals under his belt, but he's been proficient at the art form as well. He owns an 85.5% stolen base rate, which, according to Baseball Reference, ranks seventh-best all-time.
Expanding beyond just his traits as a base stealer, according to FanGraphs' base running stat (BsR), Dyson has the 13th-best total from 2010 through this current season. This metric is used to evaluate a player's value on all running plays like, for example, taking an extra base.
For those of you who like visual evidence to back up his stats, here you go.
There aren't many guys who can tag up and score on a popup to the shortstop.
Unfortunately, for as great as Dyson's speed has been, his power has been non-existent. He owns a .090 ISO for his career. For reference, the league average this season is .162.
However, he bucked that trend Monday night as his power that stole the show against the Cleveland Indians. With the Royals down 2-0 entering the bottom of the eighth inning, they had just a 15.9% chance of winning the game.
Things quickly shifted in their favor after three consecutive hits tied the game, and six batters later with Royals now in front 3-2, Dyson stepped to the plate and did the improbable.
This was Dyson's first home run of the season and just the seventh of a career consisting of 1,388 plate appearances. So in other words, Dyson did something that, entering the game, he had done less than 1% percent of the time he walked into the batter's box.
Not only was Dyson going yard completely unexpected, but it was also a first for the Royals this season. Up until that swing, Kansas City didn't yet have an extra-base hit with the bases juiced. And of course it came from their only hitter with at least 150 plate appearances who had yet to hit one out this year.
You gotta love baseball.
Although to give Dyson some credit, when he does happen to hit a home run, they are usually no-doubters. Below is a table of his seven career home runs, with parameters taken from ESPN's Home Run Tracker.
|Date||Type/Luck||TRUE Dist.||Speed Off Bat||# Parks|
Minus the inside the park home run hit on July 8, 2015, all of Dyson's taters would have been home runs in the vast majority of stadiums, hence the "PL" tag, which means plenty.
Even his only just enough (JE) homer came on a ball he hit 413 feet, so despite rarely hitting home runs, the ones he does tend not to be wall-scrapers.
Despite a .364 SLG and .105 ISO this season that are both above his career averages (.346 and .090, respectively), our projections don't expect Dyson's "power surge" to last. We forecast him to post a .331 SLG and just 1 more home run over the remaining course of the season (159 plate appearances).
Although for one night, Dyson's pop was the difference maker, and it helped the Royals seal a much-needed 7-3 win over their division rivals.