Though we hardly knew the man from Kalamazoo, Brad Emaus is no longer a New York Metropolitan. According to Adam Rubin, the second baseman was designated for assignment this morning. After Emaus clears Rule Five waivers, the team will have ten days to offer Emaus back to the Toronto Blue Jays for $25,000 or work out a trade in order to send him down to their own minor league system. As fans of a studied approach of the new front office, it may seem like the decision was made too quickly. Let's unpack the decision to see if that impression holds.
Emaus was hitting .162/.262/.162, which is unsightly at best. He had six hits, and all of them were singles. He did get on base some - his 9.5% walk rate was fifth on the team. Not shabby, but striking out in a quarter of his at-bats (24.3%) did not help him curry favor. Still, it seems like a small sample size.
Let's add in spring training in order to beef up the sample. Adding those 59 plate appearances to his 42 major league ones gets us closer to some of the bench marks for statistical reliability. To recap, those benchmarks are:
50 PA: Swing %
100 PA: Contact Rate
150 PA: Strikeout Rate, Line Drive Rate, Pitches/PA
200 PA: Walk Rate, Groundball Rate, GB/FB
So, we can look at his strikeout rate with some predictive success if we also include his spring training numbers. In those 101 PAs, he struck out 19 times for a 18.8% strikeout rate. That's not terrible, but it is worse than his minor league rate, which hovered closer to 14%. We don't know how many line drives he hit in spring training, but his 14.8% line drive rate was well below average (usually around 19%).
Add in some inconsistent offense to some mostly decent defense, and you don't really have a major league starter right now.
But you have to wonder if the current atmosphere in New York was some of the impetus for the change as well. The team is scuffling, and fans and media alike are already grumbling that the new administration feels much to familiar for their liking. If that pressure led to shrinking the sample size for this decision, that's a shame. Just another fifty plate appearances and we might have known more about his strikeout rate and ability to handle major league pitchers.
Right now, we know that Brad Emaus can take a walk and play second base. Unfortunately, that's not enough to keep him on the team, it seems. Now it's time to welcome Justin Turner, who was hitting .300 in the minor leagues but hasn't hit in his 40 major league appearances. Hopefully he'll get a little more time to prove he can stick.