In 2016, it was a tale of two seasons for Josh Reddick. Starting the year in Oakland, he was on pace for his best year yet, slashing .296/.368/.449 with an OPS+ of 127. Looking like he would be an absolute splash for teams trying to make a deep postseason run, the Dodgers took a chance.
Instead of being a splash, he was a major bust, turning in a slash line of .258/.307/.335 with an OPS+ of 76, well below average. Despite his second half, he still put up a solid year, and looking for an outfielder this offseason, the Houston Astros invested in him through a four year, $52 million deal.
As it is starting to look like George Springer is going to end up in center field, that will help make a smooth transition to slot Reddick in right. Based on the way most people speak about Reddick, it seems he is a well above average right fielder defensively. While this definitely could be said about him in 2013, that just is not the case anymore.
That year, he had a 16.4 UZR in right field and 13 Defensive Runs Saved, and that was a tad worse than his season in 2012. Since then, he has been on the decline in the corner. Last year, he had 6 Defensive Runs Saved, which isn’t bad at all, but had a -1.4 UZR, which is not a positive. This is coming off a year where he was just as bad in right field.
I’m not here to be negative though, because he was playing in O.co Stadium and Dodgers Stadium for his home games, where there is a lot more room to cover. So let’s not expect him to be in 2013 form in right field, but I definitely see room for improvement, and I would not be surprised to see a small jump in UZR and DRS from him this upcoming season.
Switching to the offensive side, there is optimism for Reddick to put up similar number to his final stat line last year, where his slash was .281/.345/.405 and a 107 OPS+. For one, he is going to play in the AL West, where he played really well against the Rangers, Angels, and Mariners in the past two seasons (Yes, small sample size, as he has started a total of 58 games in two years against those teams, process it how you want to).
Next, if he does not get injured, he will be playing around 81 games in Minute Maid Park, where there is a short porch in right field and a much shorter center field wall that will help the case for him to hit more home runs in 2017.
While it is fair to somewhat criticize the contract, there is reason to be excited for Reddick in 2017. He is not going to be the star on this team, nor does he have to be. He will be in a comfortable position hitting 6th or 7th in the lineup and there is enough depth in position players to where he is not overplayed or exposed too much to left-handed pitching.
Based on previous seasons, and dimensions of his new home ballpark, I think a fair, productive season from Reddick would be in the ballpark of a .270/.345/.450 slash line, a 110-115 OPS+, at least 15 home runs, and at least a WAR of 3.
This is not a prediction, I will not take slander if I’m wrong, this is just what I think would be considered a successful year based on his role with the team, while being very conservative with what I think he will do this year.