As the All-Star break approaches, the Miami Marlins sit in last place in the NL East, nine games behind the New York Mets.
For starters, Aguilar’s standard statistics are not bad by any means. He is currently sporting an OPS+ of 113, putting him 13% above the league-average OPS. However, when examining his statcast numbers, it becomes apparent that his offensive stats are due to increase dramatically.
For example, Aguilar’s expected batting average this season is .283, sitting 23 points above his actual batting average of .260. Similarly, the 30-year-old first baseman’s .452 slugging percentage is 37 points lower than his expected slugging percentage of .489, and his expected WOBA (Weighted On-Base Average) of .351 is 24 points higher than his actual WOBA of .327.
These expected stats are based on Aguilar’s batted balls throughout the season, and that’s all well and good. However, it’s the underlying fundamental statistics that really drive home (pun intended) the point that Aguilar, who already has the second-highest OPS among Marlins batters with at least 100 at-bats, is poised for even better numbers after the All-Star break.
Miami Marlins first baseman Jesus Aguilar is set for a breakout second half.
For a power-hitting first baseman, Aguilar does a surprisingly good job of avoiding strikeouts, as his K% lies in the 75% among all major-league batters. This ability to avoid striking out gives Aguilar more opportunities to get on base as he keeps at-bats alive.
But like most hitters, Aguilar really rakes when he’s ahead in the count. This season alone, Aguilar’s OPS when he is ahead in the count is well above that when he is behind in the count, posting a .802 and a .618, respectively. He makes good on these opportunities with an average exit velocity of 90.4 miles per hour, putting Aguilar on pace for a career-high in that category.
Although Aguilar has historically been a better hitter before the All-Star break, he has been turning that trend around in the past couple of seasons. Between 2017 and 2019, the veteran has closed the gap between his pre and post All-Star break batting average splits, going from a 72-point drop in 2017 to a 27-boost in 2019.
Given that the last-place Marlins have the same run differential as the division-leading Mets so far this season, it shouldn’t take much for Miami to start winning baseball games. For a lineup that places 27th in the major leagues in OPS, an increase in production at the plate from a player like Aguilar would be welcome with open arms as the Marlins try to stay competitive in the NL East.