Edgar Renteria has had a half season that everybody would probably like to forget. The.259 batting average looks great compared to the .301 OBP and .326 slugging percentage. Couple this with the fact that Jair Jurrjens is pitching well and the Tigers are a long shot for the playoffs at this point, and the trade that brought Renteria here looks awful. Given all that, is there any hope left for Renteria? There may be.
One thing going for Renteria is that he has a 22.4% line drive rate. That’s right in line with his career number of 22.8%. The Hardball Times has a measure called PrOPS which is a predicted value for OPS based on batted ball characteristics and other offensive measures. JC Bradbury recently posted the top 3 PrOPS leaders for the first half by position. Renteria actually ranks third among AL shortstops (it’s a really bad year) with a PrOPS of .751. Even if he achieved that number it’s not All Star caliber, but it would qualify as productive.
The difference between Renteria’s actual OPS and PrOPS is the 5th greatest negative difference meaning he’s probably hitting into some bad luck.
So there is hope that Renteria is better in the second half, but what is a reasonable expectation for his final line even if he gets some breaks and manages to maintain his line drive rate? THT put together a spreadsheet that combines Marcel projections with season to date performance to project a final line. Luckily for me, someone else has already run Renteria’s numbers.
His projection for the remainder of the season is 282/342/402 which would be a pretty dramatic improvement. But his horrendous start means that if he achieves that line over the balance of the season, that still leaves him with a .680 OPS when all is said and done.
In addition, despite the career level line drive rate, there are some other red flags (as if we needed more). His walk rate of 6.7% is his lowest since the 6.2% he posted in 2004 and significantly below his 8.2% career rate. The drop in walks is probably in part due to a tendency to chase more pitches. He’s swinging at 27.86% of pitches outside the strike zone. In past years his number has been closer to 20%.
Renteria should be better in the second half. He was pretty awful in the first half. He chased too many pitches, and it was probably compounded by some bad luck. It’s hard to imagine Renteria or the trade looking much worse in the second half. Of course a nice little surge by Edgar and the team that leaves them in the playoffs and everyone feels a little better.