Before he got injured, the best hitter in baseball, Mike Trout, was having his best season of his career. He was (technically still is) averaging one RBI for every 4.5 at-bats this season.
The backup catcher for the Rangers, Robinson Chirinos, has that beat by a country mile.
With three RBIs off the strength of an eleventh-inning, game-winning home run, Chirinios now has an RBI every 3.8 at-bats in 2017. Extrapolate that over a 500-at-bat season and Robinson Chirinos would drive in 131 runs this year. That’s how productive he’s been.
That demonstrates the distortion power of small sample sizes. But it also demonstrates the distortion power of labelling someone a backup player and never removing the label.
Of course, over the entirety of his career, his RBI per at-bat average is one in 6.9. But the man who is ahead of him on the food chain, Jonathan Lucroy, averages driving in one run every 7.2 at-bats over the entirety of his career.
Which means two things.
One, the Rangers are not going to miss a beat behind the plate when they trade Lucroy at the deadline. Of course, Chirinos will level out to his career numbers. That’s why career numbers are career numbers.
Two, when you realize Chirinos has always been just as productive at the plate, and you remember how much the Rangers gave up for Lucroy, and you remember they did so at a time when they desperately did not need a catcher, the Jonathan Lucroy deal looks even worse than ever.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-0, 4.08) vs. Max Scherzer (7-3, 2.35)
Game time: 3:05
How the Rangers hit against Scherzer.
Bibens-Dirkx has never faced the Nationals.