One of the few bright spots early on in the KC Royals season has been Vinnie Pasquantino. Vinnie, or the "Pasquatch," has put up some solid numbers through the first two months of the year, but he has made some key changes from last year while still having a trend that hampered his first season in the Bigs.
The numbers show how the KC Royals Vinnie Pasquantino is growing in 2023.
Starting with the basics, Vinnie has put together a solid slash line of .260/.344/.474 with an OPS of .818. Comparing this season to last, one thing that stands out is his OBP is down nearly 40 points. While that isn't great his slugging this year is up 24 points. The biggest issue is his average dropping 35 points from .295. This leads to one of the things that plagued part of his first season.
In Vinnie's first two months of his MLB career, he was solid at the plate with a couple of things hampering his numbers. One of those numbers was BABIP. From his debut on June 28 to August 22, before his injured list stint, Vinnie had a BABIP of .270, which is slightly below average. That luck has run into this season to start as Vinnie has a BABIP of .261, according to Baseball Savant.
Last year, Vinnie's BABIP started low mainly due to his batted ball profile, where he hit grounders 41% of the time. Vinnie isn't a player who can beat out many grounders, so he needs to live in the air for batted balls. Well, this year he is doing just that as his groundball rate is down 5%, while his line drive and flyball rates have risen evenly. The issue at the moment for Vinnie is that he is hitting baseballs right at people and some other factors that SIS explained in a Twitter post.
Let's get into the big changes from last year. As noted, Vinnie is slugging a little more, while his SLG% is only slightly better than his ISO. Last year Vinnie had an ISO of .155, which is alright but it needed to improve. That is what he has done so far this season, posting an ISO of .214. Once the BABIP rounds out he could be in for an even better season that could see him become a top first baseman/DH in the AL by year's end.
Another change in Vinnie's approach at the plate is that his chase rate is higher this year. Currently, it is at 36.2% which is an increase of 7.3% from last year meaning he is swinging at pitches outside the zone more often. While that isn't great on its own he is making a lot of contact against those pitches at a 74.2% O-contact%. There is one part of Vinnie's approach that has regressed, albeit slightly.
Vinnie's CSW has seen a slight uptick this year, up 2% from last year according to Pitcher List. While it isn't a huge increase it is a little concerning given that he is chasing more often this year. Even with this slight regression, Vinnie is still on pace to be in the conversation of being a top-5 1B/DH in the AL.
One last negative against Vinnie so far is from his run value chart on Baseball Savant. He hits everything well, but for back-to-back seasons he hasn't figured out the changeup. Last year he had a run value of -3, while this year the run value is at -2 for the changeup. That seems to be the pitch Vinnie struggles the most against in his young major-league career.
Early on this season, Vinnie is putting up similar numbers to last year, switching some on-base numbers for more power, and is on his way to becoming a potential All-star for years to come, hopefully in Royals colors.