The Royals won a bidding war against the New York Yankees of all teams to win the services of free agent second baseman Omar Infante last winter, signing the veteran to a four-year, $30 million deal. It gave them their first solid second baseman since the days of Mark Grudzielanek, and the Royals liked that he fit their team philosophy as a low-strike out guy who could put the ball in play.
But injuries struck Omar Infante in 2014. He experienced elbow soreness right out of the gat in spring training. He was hit in the face with a pitch in the first week of the season, causing him to miss a few games, and possibly affecting him the rest of the year. He missed a few weeks in May with a shoulder injury, an injury that would linger and cause him discomfort all season.
The result was a season far below Omar Infante's career averages. His .085 ISO was the lowest he had posted in five seasons. His .295 on-base percentage was his lowest in a decade. If healthy, Infante should rebound to his career norms.
|Career per 162 games||.276||.316||.395||10||59||2.2|
Infante was still an acceptable defender and baserunner, and his walk rate was still right along with his career norms. The injuries seemed to only affect his batting average and power, and some of his batting average dip could be attributable to a low .275 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). He did post one of the highest pop-up rates inhis career, but his line-drive rate and ground-ball rate were still around his career averages. The underlying metrics all look good, its a matter of Infante hitting for the kind of power he flashed in the World Series.
Omar Infante suffered from a number of aches and pains in 2014, so an off-season of recovery should do him some good. Regression to the mean works both ways, so we can expect Infante to bounce back after a pretty disappointing season last year. However, he is 33 years old, and there is a conventional wisdom that second baseman do not age particularly well, although the data is unclear on that.
What do you expect out of Omar Infante in 2015?