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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Witt becomes first Royal in 30-30 club: ‘No one like him’

Witt became the first Royal with a 30-30 season, but his 49 steals this season make him just the fifth player in Major League history to have 30-plus homers and 49 or more stolen bases in a season, joining Eric Davis (1987), Barry Bonds (‘90), Mike Trout (‘12) and Ronald Acuña Jr. this year.

“Pretty special,” Witt said. “It was great. First inning was fun to get things going. Nine-run lead, I haven’t seen that ever really. … Special anytime you get to be the first.”

Witt is just the second player in Major League history with 30 home runs and 49 steals at age 23 or younger, joining Trout in 2012, who did it at age 20.

The closest call for a Royal to join the 30-30 club actually did achieve the feat, but he was traded midseason—Carlos Beltrán in 2004, when he was traded from the Royals to the Astros. He came close in ‘02 as a Royal, when he hit 29 homers and stole 35 bases.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2023 at 09:33 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bobby witt jr., royals

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   1. ReggieThomasLives Posted: September 30, 2023 at 10:17 PM (#6142912)
And he’s the only player in MLB history named Witt to have a 30-49 season.
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 30, 2023 at 10:51 PM (#6142918)
Bobby Witt Sr. pitched 16 years in the majors, *3* of which he was above average (>100 ERA+). He was exactly average in a fourth year. The other 12, subpar.

That’s kind of impressive, in its own way.
   3. Booey Posted: September 30, 2023 at 11:40 PM (#6142924)
Bobby Witt Sr. pitched 16 years in the majors, *3* of which he was above average (>100 ERA+). He was exactly average in a fourth year. The other 12, subpar.

That’s kind of impressive, in its own way.


2-3 more seasons and Jr will surpass Dad (14.6) in WAR! He's no Bo Bichette though, who had more WAR in his first full season (5.8) than his dad Dante did in his entire 14 year career (5.6), a career that featured 4 All Star appearances and an MVP runner up!
   4. Booey Posted: September 30, 2023 at 11:53 PM (#6142927)
Regarding Witt Jr, what do y'all think his future in MLB will be now? I remember he entered the league with a lot of hype but seemed to lose some of his luster after his rookie season, despite hitting 20 homers and stealing 30 bases (a .294 OBP and poor defense). But now in addition to the expected jump in offense, his defense has really improved to the point where it looks like sticking at shortstop might be a viable long term option. So where does that leave Witt amongst the leagues best young up-and-comers (25 and under)? Is he in the same tier as Julio Rodriguez, Corbin Carroll, and Gunnar Henderson, who look like surefire superstars for the next decade and potential MVP candidates*? Is he a step lower but still a perennial All Star? Or something less than that?


* I'd have put Wander Franco in that group too, but...well, you know.
   5. Zach Posted: October 01, 2023 at 12:15 AM (#6142933)
I think a lot of the original projections are back in the picture. It's very encouraging to see that he was able to fix what were major gaps in his game last year without sacrificing the parts that got everybody excited in the first place.
   6. chisoxcollector Posted: October 01, 2023 at 08:43 AM (#6142957)
Ha, I read that as "No one likes him".
   7. Tony S Posted: October 01, 2023 at 08:53 AM (#6142958)
I now have the Scorpions in my head.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: October 01, 2023 at 03:49 PM (#6143016)
Is he in the same tier as Julio Rodriguez, Corbin Carroll, and Gunnar Henderson, who look like surefire superstars for the next decade and potential MVP candidates*?

I think he's still a step below those guys. This season still came to just 4.4 bWAR which is really good but about 1+ WAR behind what those guys did this year. An obvious comp is Bo Bichette! :-)

Age 21
BB 311/358/577, 144 OPS+, 2.4 WAR in 212 PA
BW DNP in MLB

Age 22
BB 301/328/512, 127 OPS+, 1.1 WAR in 125 PA
BW 254/294/428, 102 OPS+, 0.9 WAR in 632 PA

Age 23
BB 298/343/484, 121 OPS+, 5.8 WAR
BW 275/317/493, 118 OPS+, 4.4 WAR

At ages 24-25, Bichette has put up 8.3 WAR. A projection for Witt would still have him regressing a bit or holding steady. JRod, a year younger, had 5.5 WAR this year, 6 last year. Carroll, a year younger, had 5.5 this year and produced at the same rate in his stint last year. Gunnar, a year younger, had 6 WAR this year and about a 4.5 WAR pace last year. Witt needs to take at least one step up to match these guys, assuming they don't also take a step up. Taking a step up probably means adding 20 points of BA or taking more walks or discovering that he unexpectedly excels at 2B or 3B.

Some other (not perfect) comps off the top of my head and their age 24-26 WAR: Albies (9, missed a lot of 2022), Gleyber (8 with a lousy 2021), Baez (15.5, 11.5 oWAR), Adames (10.5 but incl 2020), K Marte (13 but incl 2020), Bogaerts (13.5). He's probably a better runner than any of those guys, a worse defender than Baez and Adames, makes better contact than a lot of those guys, etc. He was much, much better at 22-23 than Marte but they seem to have fairly similar skill sets and Marte became the sort of player Witt is now.

Kind of amazing that Albies and Gleyber still aren't 27 yet. But they are also reminders that baseball trajectories are rarely smooth. Albies put up 4.1 and 4.9 WAR at 21-22 and has put up "just" 10 WAR over the last 4 seasons (incl 2020). Gleyber put up 3.6 and 3.0 WAR 15 21-22, was replacment level at 23, 1 WAR at 24 and now back to where he was for 25-26 (7 WAR).
   9. A triple short of the cycle Posted: October 03, 2023 at 04:57 PM (#6143367)
Sub-par is good, yes?
   10. Lars6788 Posted: October 03, 2023 at 11:01 PM (#6143445)
He fixes his on-base and that may not even matter to
most, but I think people are wishcasting him to be something like Mike Trout.
   11. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 04, 2023 at 12:25 AM (#6143450)
Regarding Witt Jr, what do y'all think his future in MLB will be now? I remember he entered the league with a lot of hype but seemed to lose some of his luster after his rookie season, despite hitting 20 homers and stealing 30 bases (a .294 OBP and poor defense).

I don't want to hijack this thread, but this made me think of Anthony Volpe -- another guy who had a lot of hype but seemed to be viewed as a disappointment this year.

Both were 21-year-old shortstops and Top 10 ranked prospects in their rookie years. Witt had 20 HR/30 SB last year, Volpe had 21 HR/24 SB this year. Witt apparently played horrible defense last year so his bWAR was just 0.9 (oWAR 3.3). Volpe was torpedoed by a bad batting average, but the advanced stats like his defense so he had a very solid 3.2 bWAR this year (1.7 oWAR).

For those who watched him play, do you expect a Witt-ian breakout for Volpe next year? Or are there too many holes in his (offensive) game? He walks at a reasonable rate but still had a .283 OBP.
   12. Lars6788 Posted: October 04, 2023 at 01:13 AM (#6143452)
Volpe - more likely Alex Gonzalez or Álex González or Ha-Seong Kim leap than a superstar one.
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 04, 2023 at 01:14 AM (#6143453)
Volpe only had 99 AAA PA before 2023 - that may have slowed his development a bit. If his power & defense hold up, just hitting .250 would likely make him a 4-5 WAR player. There are reasons to be optimistic, but as Yogi Berra sagely noted, its difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.
   14. Cowboy Popup Posted: October 04, 2023 at 10:49 AM (#6143475)
For those who watched him play, do you expect a Witt-ian breakout for Volpe next year? Or are there too many holes in his (offensive) game? He walks at a reasonable rate but still had a .283 OBP.

For all of Witt's value, he "only" posted a 115 RC+. Could Volpe conceivably do that? I think so. His scouting profile raves about his hit tool, so I think we can expect to see some improvement in terms of contact. His statcast suggests he hit the ball a bit better than his results suggest (.307 vs .290). His ISO (.174) is the same as Witt's in his rookie year. But Witt hit the ball a full MPH harder as a rookie and another MPH on top of that as a second year player. IDK if Volpe has the same kind of power projection but that might not matter as much if we are looking at just next year.

He Ks and BBs more than Witt, somewhat cancelling out each distinction.

So do I think he could maybe have a similar breakthrough in terms of rate stats? I think its possible, but probably mostly by adding more singles, doubles, and BBs. But I think Witt has a lot more ceiling going forward and I doubt Volpe puts up the gaudy HR/SB totals Witt did this year at any point in his career. I'm also wrong just about every time I write down my thoughts about the future of baseball players.

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