Ryan O’Hearn made a big splash in the majors, although he made little ripples. Those ripples seemed to go a long way in the Kansas City Royals gaining confidence in him as his time in the majors went on.
In 2015, with both Wilmington (A+) and Lexington (A), O’Hearn slashed .263/.339/.478/.817 along with 27 dingers and 77 RBIs. Overall, those are very impressive stats for his first year in the minors, while showing a vast amount of power potential.
The next year with Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas (AA) he slashed .275/.351/.478/.829 while adding on 22 long balls and 78 RBI’s. Okay, not it is starting to seem as if this guy might have a bright future. In 2017 with Omaha (AAA) and Northwest Arkansas he slashed .253/.330/.455/.785 adding on 22 home runs and 64 RBI’s. Although his stats decreased a little, his competition increased a lot.
Now lets dive into his first year in the major leagues and what his stats were. In 149 at bats he slashed .262/.353/.597/.950 while also adding on 12 homers, 23 runs and 30 RBI’s. Somehow he increased all of his stats from the year before while facing the highest possible competition. Every 12.4 at bats he averaged a home run, which is astounding.
He is what some would call a “new age” type of player. His strikeout rate was 26.5 percent in 2018, which is pretty much becoming the normal for players, especially power hitting first baseman. He had a nice .398 wOBA, but a lumbering .293 BABIP. Hopefully in the future O’Hearn can hit some more balls in play instead of striking out over a quarter of the time he is up at bat, but I guess we will just have to wait and see.
One of the most comparable players to O’Hearn is Matt Olson of the Oakland Athletics. Both of them are tall first basemen who also hit lefty.
Last year both of them had almost identical strikeout rates and practically the same BABIP. O’Hearn actually had a higher average, OBP, slugging percentage and wOBA than Olson in 2018. Although Olson had about 400 more AB’s than O’Hearn did, and won the Gold Glove at 1B.
In all, hopefully O’Hearn can produce a solid season at 1B this upcoming year, and can solidify his role as one of the key pieces of the Kansas City Royals for years to come.