Splitsville: Brad Emaus Inside The Numbers

You can call this a companion post to Jim Mancari’s earlier post on Brad Emaus. I want to touch on another few concerns I have with Brad Emaus and this fan-wide enthusiasm that he was the steal of the Rule 5 Draft and that he’ll win the second base job this spring. Not so fast.

In addition to the points Jim laid out, I found some troubling information from looking at his splits.

Sometimes you can look at a players stats for an entire season or career and you come away with a certain perception of that player. But it’s amazing how dramatically that perception can change once you look at that players home/road or left/right splits.

Rule 5 selection Brad Emaus, is the perfect example.

Emaus has garnered most of the attention this offseason mostly because he has the most upside among the few low-key signings on offense this winter. Many fans, bloggers and beat writers alike seem to have him pegged as the favorite at second base, but I’m still very skeptical. As most of you know by now, I’m very high on Daniel Murphy.

Home/Road Splits

Last season, Emaus split his time between Double-A and Triple-A for the Toronto Blue Jays. His stats were very promising to say the very least.

AAA-AA 125 534 79 15 75 13 81 69 .290 .397 .476 .874

The first thing that jumps out at you is his very high .397 OBP and even more impressive is his BB/K ratio. Anytime you have a hitter who can walk more than he strikes out, you know you might have someone special on your hands. Both marks indicate a player who knows how to get on base, but also exhibits great patience at the plate 0 a selective hitter. His SLG and OPS also show he has some pop in his bat. So far, Emaus looks like a prototypical number two hitter to me.

However, we have to be aware of two important things that these stats don’t tell us:

1. The fact he put up most of these numbers in one of the most hitter-friendly environments in the minor leagues.

2. His home/road splits leave plenty of room for doubt.

Last season in Triple-A, Emaus hit .298/.395/.495 with 25 doubles, 10 HR and 50 BB and 50 K in 309 AB in 87 games. 

Check out his home and road splits.

Home: .338/.408/.609 – 12 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 17 BB, 27 K – 41 G, 151 AB
Road: .259/.383/.386 – 13 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 33 BB, 23 K – 46 G, 158 AB

Look at his home run split of 9 vs 1, as well as his disparaging stat line which shows his OPS to be almost 300 points higher at home in the thin air of Las Vegas.

Now imagine him playing half his games at the gargantuan Citi Field.

Left/Right Splits

Even more troubling are the lefty/righty splits which give me even more cause for concern.

Emaus opted to play winter ball this offseason for the Tors del Este in the Dominican Republic.

Versus LHP 29 AB - 13 H - 4 BB - 0 K - .448 BA - .515 OBP - .690 SLG - 1.205 OPS
Versus RHP 98 AB - 21 H - 9 BB - 29K - .214 BA - .294 OBP - .378 SLG - .671 OPS

Those 98 at-bats against right-handed pitching scream PLATOON! Small sample size? Possible, even though it represents a full season of winter ball. If anyone else has minor league splits for his career, I invite you to post them on this thread.

All I’m saying is don’t discount the fact that Daniel Murphy will get the majority of at-bats at second base this season. It can, and I believe will happen.

Not much has been made of this because minor league splits are very difficult and almost impossible to come by, but I just happened to get lucky and came across these splits via his Dominican Winter League profile.

It’s not just the splits!

FanGraphs posted that “his defense is below average for second base”, while Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, threw another log into the fire and said:

Emaus didn’t make the Jays’ protected roster because of a roster room issue most likely. He had a reputation at time of being a baseball rat – and at other times of not always giving 110%. I’ve heard various running times at first base when talking to scouts. He was much better this year, but his numbers at Triple-A were highly inflated because of the park.

I said it before and I’ll say it again – Emaus might be the favorite for the second base job going into spring training, but I’m betting Daniel Murphy actually wins the job when all is said and done. At the very least, Murphy will win the lion’s share of playing time in a platoon.