Logan Forsythe has not only emerged as one of the Rays best overall players, but as one of the best second basemen in all of Major League Baseball.
When the Rays traded for Logan Forsythe back in 2014, they were hoping he would flourish into a “Ben Zobrist” caliber of player. Having all the intangibles to do so (versatility!), it took a year for him to get comfortable with his new team.
Then 2015 came, and things started to click for him.
A season that saw Forsythe slash .281/.359/.444 and lead all 2nd baseman in wRC+ (weighted runs created) with 126, he was deemed Team MVP by both his teammates and coaches alike. With that, he’s undoubtedly carried over his stellar play to this season.
In 25 games, he’s slashed .312/.402/.548 with 4 home runs and 8 doubles (3rd in AL among 2B). He’s also walking more than in previous years, having drawn ball four 13 times (4th in AL among 2B).
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He has thrived as Kevin Cash’s newly-minted leadoff hitter. With a .333 batting average as the team’s leadoff hitter (24 AB’s), an overall .402 on-base percentage, and a 13% walk percentage against right handed pitchers (whom he’s faced 78% of the time), he is a manager’s dream at the leadoff spot.
In fact, he sees himself among the growing trend of teams moving away from what was thought as the typical leadoff hitter – someone with speed who’s job is to work the count to give teammates later in the order a better look at the pitcher’s “stuff” that day.
"“There seems like there’s more and more contact guys at the leadoff spot, guys who can put the ball in play. Very good with pitch-recognition,” Forsythe said. “They give you that quality at-bat. I’ve noticed it not necessarily being that speedster. (It’s) maybe even a power guy.”"
Avoiding bad pitches, swinging at good ones, and hitting the ball extremely hard is a recipe for success in baseball. For now, it clearly looks like Forsythe has that recipe memorized down to a core.
For the analytic junkies of the world, Forsythe ranks 13th among all position players in fWAR (1.5) and 11th in wRC+ (175). At his position, he’s currently 3rd in both of those categories just behind Jose Altuve and Daniel Murphy.
It’s truly hard to imagine this is the level of player we could have reasonably expected coming over from the Padres. And even after his superb 2015 season raised the expectations, so far, Forsythe has been exceeding all bars set out for him.
If Forsythe is able to sustain this kind of production throughout the season, it will go a long way in the Rays returning to the postseason for the first time since 2013.