Thoughts on Jarrod Dyson
the second King of Spalding in as many offseasons


Q.  Is Wily Mo correct that Dr. D is in a sour mood?

A.  Bah humbug.  More of the Elias-Carson and Leonydas type trades.  :: shrug :: whatever, dude.  If it brings Wily Mo back to the conversation threads, that's some consolation, at least.


Q.  Where does Dyson play?

A.  The website says:


Dipoto expects Dyson to play "fairly regularly" with some combination of him and Martin in left and center field most nights, with Haniger in right field and Gamel and Guillermo Heredia "fighting it out" for additional time. Haniger, Gamel and Heredia all have Minor League options as well, giving the club roster flexibility.

"We feel we have five legitimate center fielders to man our three outfield positions," Dipoto said.


I DID enjoy thoroughly that bit about "some combination of him and Martin most nights."  In theory that should signal a diminished role for Martin, never a Mainframe favorite. 


Q.  Is Dyson a plus leadoff hitter?

A.  Not as a HITTER, he is not.   He cobbles together 2.5, 3.0 WAR per season based on a legitimate +10, +15 runs defensively, +7 runs with his legs, and a sub-Aoki batting line (.260 with mediocre walks and minus power).

He's a defensive specialist who can manufacture you a run in a Paxton-Sale game.


Q.  What are the comps?

A.  If you take Billy Hamilton and slide a notch of speed into --- > a notch of bat, we're not far off.  That might give us a feel for the situation.

Leonys Martin actually shows up as one of Dyson's reasonable comps.  Martin's got more potential power, Dyson more productivity on the bases, but they are both .260-hitting, 90-OPS defensive wizards in the outfield.  I've got to say I like Dyson better than Martin.  He's more solid, has a higher REL score.

Jon Jay has been hitting .280/.350/.360 the last three years with plus defense.  He's not as fast as Dyson, but probably gives you a little better AB.

If you want a big name, Jacoby Ellsbury has been clocking in with a similar slash line and quality defense.  All told, we get the idea:  Jarrod Dyson is a Leonydas King of Spalding type idea.  Since he's been consistent with the 2, 3 WAR per season, we've got to allow that Dyson has been a quality player.


Q.  Where does that leave us on the platoons?

A.  The Royals haven't been playing Dyson against lefties, which is the same problem that Martin has, but one has to play CF unless they're going to get crazy by benching both of 'em.


Q.  Is there upside?

A.  No.  Dyson is who he is.

BUT he might gain 0.5 WAR from moving to Safeco.  The flurries of groundballs, and the passels of stolen bases, are not suppressed by the park (whereas other hitters' skills ARE suppressed by Safeco).


Q.  Overall grok?

A.  The Mainframe says that the closer you look at the deal(s), the more frustrating they are.  But!  If you back up to 80,000 feet there is some context to like here.

(1) The Mariners seem to have a genuine 4.5-to-make-3 situation in the outfield, and I don't remember ever seeing that in my life.  Do you?  The whole idea of Stars & Scrubs is that you can discard and draw at the deck.  Kudos.

(2) Dipoto does have his "athletic" outfield now, and in spades.  So this is a club he'll own.  He's got a monster infield and a Dipoto(TM) outfield, so I've got to allow that it's dynamic.  From my standpoint as a fan, the fact that he added Jean Segura gives him the "right" to noodle around with pet theories in the outfield.

Overall it's a distintive and stylistic roster.  It should be fascinating to watch it unfold.

Go Mitch,

Dr D




into the OF, paired with +10 defense essentially across the board.  In that sense, you're right: it's a stylish OF (though not a very sexy one--it seems to be designed to capture the Chone Figgins Effect via Stars & Scrubs rather than remaining content to enjoy the blips provided by such soft-skill players while anchoring the position gropu around hard-skill players).

I sincerely hope the 5-to-make-3 talk is just that: talk.  As a fallback plan it's not terrible, but in my not-so-humble opinion this *shouldn't* have been JeDi's desired outcome.

Then again I make a living writing about *pew-pew-pew* laser fire and cat people in space, so what do I know?


Knew you had something valuable coming.  Here it is.

DiPoto's new Moneyball is that you put 4 CF's in the OF mix and live with the 80-90-90-100 OPS+.  Take your pick on who is whom. Or on whom is who.  Just take your pick.

My first thought was the '82 Cards.  Lonnie Smith and Willie McGee, but Hendrick (in RF) was a 20 HR guy.  Is that Haniger?  And Smith/McGee were both .300 hitter-types.  Gamel has a better chance of that than Dyson or Martin.  So the '82 Cards don't really compare.  They did win a WS without a lot of power....but were 1st in the league in BA and 2nd in OBP.

The '85 Royas had Smith and they won a WS, too.  Willie Wilson was in CF but by then Smith was not a CF.  And in fact, he wasn't really a good glove OF, even in '82.  "Skates" was his nickname, if you remember.  With Daryl Motley in RF, their principal OF's OPS+ed 89-98-81,  27 home runs from them...and 3 more from the top two subs.  

I"m having a hard time finding a real good team with 3 CF types, and none of them a + offensive performer. There must be one.  St. Louis always had a Hendrick or Clark.

BTW, our "monster" IF depends on Segura hitting like he did last year (worthy of consideration) OR Vogelbach fulfilling promise.  The 2nd bet is no more of a long shot than the first.  But IF that happens and Segura just falls back to 100 OPS+ then we do have that monster IF.

But there's an experimental taste to the OF.  Certainly there is a mix and match process at play.

If this is our OF, anyway. I still think we trade Martin.  Or heck, maybe now we trade Dyson and a prospect for somebody like JD Martinez?

All of that makes much more conventional sense, as the Cruz/Cano window narrows, anyway.

All in all, I would much prefer a Martinez in RF, with two CF's in CF and LF.

Go Mitch, indeed.  25 HR's from him would go along way towards alleviating my concerns.


Hey all. Not sure if anyone besides Doc remembers that I emerged from lurking last summer to moan sourly about the gap between the Mariners and the Rangers. Turns out the Mariners were the better team, but the Rangers got all the wins... maybe call that a push, as far as predictive analysis goes.

At the time, my main gripe was that the Rangers had athletes flying around the outfield, while Seth Smith looked like an average defensive outfielder only so long as he was standing still.  After seeing one too many popup drop 17ft in front of him, my former love for Smith evaporated and I started demaning an outfield whose members were all competent runners, if nothing else. It just looked to me like every offensive run Smith created with his diamond hard at-bats was being given away in the bottom half of the inning with legs made of concrete.

As you might guess, the Smith for Dyson trade appeals to me greatly on this level, as does the plethora of available backup CFs. Remember when the consensus was that Martin needed to play daily, no matter how badly he hit, because it was that or watch Aoki run routes in the big part of the ballpark? That was last year, during the stretch run. Nice to know Ben Gamel is buried 5 deep on the CF depth chart now.

Now, in defense of JeDi's trip to Jarrods: Dyson may look, from afar, like a 2-WAR player. This would make him Leonys Martin v2, more or less. BUT. When you look at plate appearances per season, a different calculation emerges. Turns out Dyson creates his WAR in a little less than 300PAs per year, on average. That is a very low comitment in exchange for a starter's output of value. Jarrod Dyson the benchie is a championship caliber 4th-outfielder/pinch-runner, literally. Just ask the Royals how cool it was when he stole 3rd with one out in the 9th inning of the 2014 wild-card game, representing the tying run. According to Jeff Sullivan, that was the most valuable WPA stolen base in the playoffs on record (since 2002). Point being, Dyson may be able to score the winning run in a Paxton-Sale game... but he doesn't have to be a starter to do it. He just has to trot out towards 1st, high five Nelly, and go swipe a few bags.

For my money, being the best kill-shot pinch runner in the league isn't exactly soft WAR. As Doc is fond of saying, every game you win on your own is worth one win, even if it isn't worth 1WAR. Dyson looks to me like he may rival Boomstick for (# of actual baseball games won) *divided by* (Fangraphs WAR). Seems like a pretty sweet weapon to me.

Karns for Gallardo? That's a much less pleasent question. The only thing grosser than Yovani's trendlines is the scraggly desperado beard he had as a Texas Ranger. You ask me, JeDi accepted the dropoff from the Kkkarnivore to Gallardo in exchange for the upgrade from Heredia to Dyson. Will it pay off? That's above my pay grade...

Taro's picture

Contact improved GREATLY in 2016, which continued a trend that was more subtle over the last few years. I wonder what the reason is for that as its a decent amount of PAs? It coincided with a career high OBP as well (.340).

Is it a short term fluke or is he a late bloomer?

Considering hes even better defensively than Martin..We paid too much, but this is a sneaky good player and great fit for our park.


Have never been a fan of these X to make Y roster compositions beyond isolated positions and only after loading up in other areas.

The problem is that more times than not, you don't have your best matchup on the field because your "player" isn't "a player".

Despite having Lind/Lee hit something like 34 home runs and 107 RBIs, they felt nothing like having a proper 1B standing up there because they were constantly out of position in terms of matchups.

In the end, it just adds more volatility into the equation, making it more difficult to get a consistent product out.


Cammy, Winn and Ichiro was a 3-CF outfield - that also OPS+ed 107, 108 and 112.  We are PRAYING this OF goes 80-85-90 out there.

Martin: 84 OPS+ career, can't hit lefties at all or righties much.

Dyson: 85 OPS+ career, ALSO can't hit lefties.

Haniger: the 25 yo thumper of the group, who's only had a cup o' coffee so far as a hopefully-overlooked prospect.

Heredia: same age and ML experience as Haniger, half the power.

Gamel: same experience and age as Haniger and Heredia, bat's probably in the middle, looks like a minor league start to his campaign.

O'Neill: All the power, not as much of the defense, strikes out like he's trying to stay warm in winter, won't be on the club for at least 2 months.

I remember when Zduriencik put together a team based on defense and I ground my teeth to dust while trying to explain that offense is additive but defense has a peak efficiency tail-off.  Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz both hitting home runs turns the scoreboard, but there's only one ball to catch and if fielding zones overlap too much you're wasting that extra range.

Winn, Cammy and Ichiro all hit.  Their combined range out there was a bonus, not the only design element in their favor.  This shouldn't be like that epic Zduriencik collapse where the offense imploded in a black hole of ineptitude, because this team has the hitting infield.  But I wasn't really looking at Aoki and Smith and wishing I 25% off their OPS+ figures and hope defense made it all up.  It might, and hopefully the additive power of defense shows up in the pitching staff's comfort levels (no need to worry about Aoki taking routes to the ball like a distracted house fly or Smith leaping for something 10 feet beyond his reach).

But being as good as last year isn't enough, and Seattle's main hopes are going to rest on catching the ball and putting the OF offense in the hands of a pair of rookies.  Unless that mysterious 3rd move is still out there anyway.  I never put anything past DiPoto - even when I look at the game of three-card monty he's playing to amuse himself until Spring Training and think it's all a lot of sound and fury, signifying... not much.


I remember when Zduriencik put together a team based on defense and I ground my teeth to dust while trying to explain that offense is additive but defense has a peak efficiency tail-off.

THIS. I could never explain it, but this is it.

I have never been a fan of defense-heavy rosters.

Average~Plus Offense + Plus Defense, sure.
e.g., Ichiro, Olerud, Seager, Boone, Cano, Cameron, Griffey, A-Rod, etc.

But Minus-Minus Offense + Plus Defense?
No thank you!

And I'm not seeing anything to indicate it's the former and not the latter at this point.

The Other Billy Zoom's picture

Agree that DePoet made a Smith for Dyson trade, and the meat identified loosely as Gallardo might have been sneakened in as a side dish.

DePoet got Gamel, because the Yankees were overstocked with OF's.

DePoet got Dyson because4 of the recent KC success which, it turns out, made them not able to afford the ante and face significant roster changes.

While y'all are playing chess, DePoet is playing with a domino theory ... and his initial proclamation of a"more athletic" team  are coming to fruition, and he needs to win, NOW, with a balanced attack.

How many bases did Smith steal, or how often did he go in as a pinch runner. His pinch hitting ability is matched or improved on by the additon of Dyson (and, read about, the KC crowd is not happy with his trade).

Smith has been hung out as a trade chip for a month, and, evidently, no takers in any trade emerged.

I can't imagine DePoet didn't have the Karns/Dyson set to go immediately after Smith was traded for some warm meat in Gallardo who still could be tasty if propertly prepared.  Yeah, I doubt Gallardo gives them anything but "flexibility" at the bottom of the rotation unless the M's know something, and aren't just guessing about.

But the first domino to tumble had to be Smith.

After several different clubs have traded him, you can't wonder but what there are questions about Karns that we are not privy to, as his career is closer to the privy than to starting MOR plumbing which operates properly when you push the handle. It is not just the M's who have traded him.

Recent reports, idle speculation from would-be media types, for the most part, are that there are no takers for Hammel except the M's, and there must be a reson for that on a one year cheapo deal with big incentives. 

DePoet is not done yet, but he has secured a spring training squad with more potential, and far better prospects, than this team had one year ago.

Hey, I've been wrong on MCClutch (though that was possibly close a month or so ago) and Archer (as top Ray SP).

Our trade chips now seem to be L. Martin, Cishek, a young OF (not named O'Neill), or a young pitcher (not named Diaz) in a trade for a Ray with a lesser sting, or, perhaps a Red Bird, or  .... some other vet young mid-rotation starter.

The Astros have loaded up, but, DePoet is still trying to beat them over the moon.



I imagine the M's internal defensive metrics had him at -15 runs per 150 games or somesuch.  And though he's the definition of a professional hitter, it's not like he changes the scoreboard heavily.

Also have little doubt that there was an anti-Karns crowd in the org.  Would be nice to fast forward three years and see 'zackly what has become of Mr. Karns.  I can tell you that he could pitch for my club any time.

Gracias Billy -


When we look at this outfield, we are talking about it as though the 80/85/90 OPS+ we're praying for are the full sum of their offensive abilities.

Haniger, Dyson, and Martin are all plus baserunners.  How many times, in the 2016 season, did we get two on with none out and then fail to score because no one could take an extra base and everyone kept hitting into DPs or flying out with no advances or whiffing.

The whiffing part isn't totally fixed, but the speed component matters to DiPoto (and to me)...that has real offensive value.

When you account for his speed, Dyson is a plus offensive player if his big increase in contact rate is real.  Martin is streaky, but if he hits at all, he can be useful with his wheels.  And Haniger is super-athletic and has a reputation as a good baserunner in much the same way Michael Saunders did before all the injuries. As I've said elsewhere, Haniger is a right handed Michael Saunders, and he could be the version that followed his swing mechanics tweaks.  Wouldn't we like to have that version of Michael Saunders but with his speed and defense back?


There's a pretty decent chance that the Mariners' line-up on any given night could feature four true speed-burners in Segura and three of Dyson/Haniger/Heredia/Martin...wouldn't it be nice to score more guys from first on Cano's doubles?


Dyson started 83 in the OF last season, the most he's ever started.  In '12, the Royals gave him the CF role, then sat him down when it became apparent (then) that he wasn't an everyday player.

A terrible Alex Gordan started ahead of him last season.

In '15, he was the 5th OF.  Paul Orlando got more PA's than he did and Alex Rios, even after his May injury, got all the starts.  Rios was a 73 OPS+ bat that year.

In '14, he had 250 fewer PA's than Aoki who had a -1.3 dWAR.

In '13, he played behind David Lough.

In '12, he was eventually benched for Cain.

He was a valuable bench player on a good team.  I hope that is all he is for us.  As an 85 bat, he better be Paul Blair if he is a starter.  A steady diet of he and Martin vs. LHP is particularly depressing to thing about.

OBF's picture

This was an actual and common complaint.  Seriously the KC blog-o-sphere is quite broken up about this trade, they are all mourning the lose of Dyson.  Also sounds like he is a tremendous clubhouse guy.  So even though he was not treated well by the KC org (as evidenced by you above) he stayed locked in and vibrant.

Kinda like the M's fans yearning for Gar to get playing time back before gar became, well gar :)

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