Previously on “2017 in Review”…
Eugenio Suarez
Zack Cozart
Tucker Barnhart

One the surface, looking at Scott Schebler’s 2017 vs 2016, his production appears to be about the same. Some notable similarities include his wRC+, defense, and baserunning. He had a higher WAR, but then, he also saw more playing time, so a higher WAR isn’t unexpected.

If we look deeper, however, we see some significant differences, notably in stats such as AVG, OBP, SLG, BABIP,  ISO, and K%. These, of course, are many of the key components of Schebler’s offensive performance.

Given that Schebler had an increased walk rate, we can attribute the drop in OBP to a similar drop in batting average. The drop in batting average looks to be due to a drop in BABIP. While BABIP can be influenced by luck, there are other factors that can go into the variations from year to year.

His BABIP could have been affected by his performance against the shift. In 2016, Schebler had 124 plate appearances hitting into a shift, and produced a .339 BABIP and a wRC+ of 104. In 2017, in 221 plate appearances, those numbers were .249 BABIP and 44 wRC+. Another factor would be more strikeouts and home runs, which are not balls in play and do not get factored in, and fewer singles, doubles and triples. In 2016, 23% of Schebler’s plate appearances ended with a hit in play, whereas that number was only 17% in 2017, driven mostly by a drop in rate of singles.  At the same time, he hit 21 more home runs and saw his strikeout rate rise by 2.6 percentage points.


Speaking of more home runs and strikeouts, you may have heard over recent years that baseball has been gravitating towards the three true outcomes (walk, strikeout, home run) — here in Cincinnati, we refer to this as The Adam Dunn. The 2017 season was no exception, as we heard  a lot of rumors, claims, and analysis surrounding a different ball leading to a home run spike. We also heard about players taking steps to improve their ability to hit the ball in the air, forcing the term “launch angle” into even a casual baseball fan’s vocabulary. Scott Schebler was pretty clearly invested in these changes and the results showed up in the numbers.



I won’t restate this entire article written in May, but the full-year metrics confirm that Schebler hit the ball in the air much more in 2017. His GB/FB ratio declined from 1.81 to 1.19 (the 12th largest decrease among players with 250 PAs in both 2016 and 2017) and his FB% skyrocketed to 38.2%, well above the league average of 35.5%. Schebler converted more of those fly balls into home runs — 22.4% compared to 15.8% last year — helped by a 39.4% hard-hit rate, which was also well above league average of 31.8%.

Looking at these numbers, it is reasonable to wonder why we didn’t see more overall production from Schebler. After all, his wRC+ was 100, which is exactly average and just below his 2016 production of 101. Unfortunately, another big storyline this year was a shoulder injury that Schebler suffered while making a diving catch on June 3. Schebler himself said he regretted playing through the injury that ultimately landed him on the DL. While it is impossible to know for sure how much this affected his performance, a wRC+ of 20 for the entire month of July took a significant hit on an otherwise productive campaign.


In summary, Schebler clearly made some changes to his offensive approach and the individual metrics bear out some strong improvements. He really improved his power and ended the year with 30 home runs and a .252 ISO, the 21st highest in the league, sandwiched between Joey Votto (18) and Zack Cozart (22). Despite the injury and second-half drop off, Schebler was a key component to the Reds offense for much of the year. The Reds will be hoping for a healthy Schebler to post a breakout year in 2018 during his age-27 season.

11 Responses

  1. cfd3000

    I think with Schebler you can see whatever you want to see. His overall numbers were fine – exactly average in some ways – and likely to get worse. He really struggled hitting into a shift and we can expect that other teams will note this and shift even more often leading to a further decline. But. Throw out the injury month and a WRC+ of 20 and his numbers look pretty good and show an improving trend (when healthy) year to year. Schebler and Duvall are pretty similar offensively but for me I prefer Schebler. He’s younger and his health concerns don’t include a predictable year end fall off. But more importantly I prefer Winker to either Schebler or Duvall. Whichever of Scott or Adam brings the better return this offseason can be traded with no regrets. If not, Winker plays ever day for me, with Schebler, Duvall and Hamilton rotating for the other two spots.

    • Reaganspad

      I think Schebler has replaced Jay Bruce. I think he is using the field better to beat the shift than Jay did. He has power to all fields and I like that takes walks. I think he has upside still in learning the pitchers and strike zone. I saw improvement on when he swings from 2016. A little more improvement there, health and I see him hitting 275. If so, you want him playing every day as all the other numbers will look really good.

      I like him to start many games in CF with Billy being a late inning replacement for Winker. The bad part of that is that you slide all 3 defenders

    • IndyRedMan

      Schebler is younger but Duvall’s defense is far superior! Duvall is also RH and we’re already bad vs lefties with Billy, Scooter, Tucker, etc. Winker is a lefty as well and showed zero power vs lefties in the minors. Schebler would also probably bring more in a trade since he’s 2 years younger. One thing about Schebler though…probably has the best bat speed of anyone on the team. I would try to trade Schebler or Scooter to the Yankees for one of those rocket arms in their bullpen or maybe an average offensive CF from someone?

      Side note….why is baseball so dead right now? Nobody is doing anything?

  2. james garrett

    I am sure you are right because this front office and Price are in love with Billy.Why anybody would want a terrible hitter who gets on base at under a 300 clip with no power is beyond me but that is what will happen.His defense and speed seem to be more important so lets do again for the fifth year in a row as we watch him get the most at bats on the team.We don’t need Schebler’s 30 bombs in GABP at all because Billy is fast and well we need him to run back to the fence and watch while a homer leaves the park and at 5 or 6 million a year.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      The only people on the Reds right now that I would pa money to see are Votto, Suarez, and Castillo. Billy and Duvall? Not a chance.

  3. IndyRedMan

    I think Meso gets 13 mil this season plus Homer. They’re not signing anyone, but bargain basement fringe types. Same old same old:(

  4. TR

    I hope the FO overrules Price and Hamilton is traded. If the Reds are not able to come up with a young centerfielder with good defensive skills and some offensive pop, than Schebler and Erwin could share duties in center. Winker, leading off, would lack speed but his OBP ability would make up for it.

  5. Charlie

    Excellent analysis, Matthew. I love you.

  6. Seadog

    Put Schebler in CF…Play him all day long. Kid can play Cf.

  7. Aaron Bradley

    It took grit for Schebler to finish with 30HR… that was a tough feat for him to pull off but he found a way, and you know he wanted that milestone. He looked pretty fast on the basepaths from what I saw, he should be able to play CF in the friendly confines. They will almost surely overplay Billy unless he gets dealt in the off season. They will be trying to up his trade value for the deadline maybe, although obviously he has hit a ceiling. His batting skills might improve slightly but he can’t get faster. He would be best suited for a west coast team. He would be useful to us too as a role player but we know he will play everyday. I think Schebler’s splits are flukey … I mean home/road that makes no sense, that is just maybe bad luck or pitching match ups or something else. Not sure about the left-right split but I am guessing the home-road is not a career trend that would be odd.

  8. thekidredblog

    I disagree entirely. I am a firm believer in Schebs and believe he should be the future leadoff man and CF/LF. He batted better higher in the lineup, and in the one game he played leadoff, he hit two homers.