Omar Infante: A Slightly Better Chris Getz


Here’s a not so fun exercise for your Thursday evening. Take a look at the combined batting line that Chris Getz posted over his four seasons with the Kansas City Royals, and compare them to what Omar Infante has produced this season. Those numbers are actually a lot closer than you would think.

Getz provided many things during his tenure with the Royals. Grit. Scrappiness. Determination. A convenient scapegoat for the Royals struggles offensively. However, one thing that he really did not provide was stellar offensive production, producing an average .248/.305/.295 batting line, worth an OPS+ of 67. In those four years, Getz hit all of one home run, off Kris Medlen on August 16, 2013. However, what Getz lacked in power, he somewhat made up for in speed, stealing 61 bases during his tenure with the Royals.

On the plus side, Infante has been an upgrade over Chris Getz at second. However, he has not nearly been the player that the Royals thought they were going to receive when they signed him to a four year, $30.25 Million contract this past offseason. Thus far in 2014, Infante has posted a .256/.293/.352 batting line, which is worth an OPS+ of 79. Infante’s .645 OPS ranks next to last amongst second basemen that qualify for the batting title, ahead of only the abysmal Gordon Beckham. Are the twelve points in OPS+ really worth that expenditure?

Yes, there are differences between Omar Infante and Chris Getz at the plate. Infante has a bit more pop than Getz, while Getz had more speed. Defensively, both Infante and Getz are essentially the same ballplayer. Getz has a slightly better range factor (4.79 to 4.76 for Infante) and fielding percentage (.985 to .984) over their respective careers. At this point, it may be fiar to wonder if Omar Infante translates into “Chris Getz with more power.”

As Infante has been injured several times this season, it would certainly make sense if his overall numbers were skewed due to a slow start. However, Infante was at one time leading all major league second basemen in RBI during the early going, and was one of the Royals most consistent hitters, posting a .790 OPS through April. Since then, aside from a resurgence in July when he posted a .704 OPS, Infante has failed to even reach the .650 mark. In fact, as Hunter pointed out yesterday, Infante was the Royals worst hitter in August.

At this point, it may behoove the Royals to move Omar Infante down in the lineup. Hitting in the second spot for most of the season, Infante has done virtually nothing since the end of April to justify that spot in the batting order. At least Getz only had 91 career plate appearances in the second spot in the lineup.

Right now, Omar Infante is looking a lot more like Chris Getz than the player the Royals thought they were getting. Hopefully, that can change as the Royals push towards the playoffs.