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Rays Season Preview: Logan Forsythe

The versatile infielder and pinch-hitter looks to regain his form in 2015.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

2014: 336 plate appearances, 6 home runs, .223/.287/.329, 80 wRC+, -0.2 fWAR

2015 Pecota Projections: 305 plate appearances, 6 home runs, .239/.316/.360, 0.8 WARP

Heading into 2015, Logan Forsythe brings more to the table than just being blessed with a great lax-bro name.

If any hitter should be able to adapt to pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field, you would it is Forsythe, who called Petco Park home for three seasons. In 2012, he posted remarkable numbers in San Diego, producing an .874 OPS and 154 wRC+, with 15 extra-base hits in 168 plate appearances.

The Rays traded for Forsythe hoping he could replicate that success after a down season, and admittedly, Forsythe's first season in Tampa Bay was underwhelming.

While he was versatile, logging multiple appearances across five different positions, he hit just .223/.287/.329, with an 80 wRC+. His walk percentage (7.4%) and strikeout percentage (21.1%) were both worse than his career averages. Most significantly, Forsythe struggled in the two areas he previously offered value: hitting versus left-handed pitchers and pinch-hitting.

Vs. Left-Handers

For his career, Forsythe has produced a .760 OPS and 116 wRC+ against left-handers. However, while last season's numbers were well below those career averages (.708 OPS and 104 wRC+), they actually marked an improvement from 2013 (.651 OPS and 81 wRC+). That's the good news. The bad news is that his walk percentage and strikeout percentage against lefties each declined for the second consecutive season. The numbers are worth monitoring throughout the season.

Now, during this period, LHP's have not approached Forsythe that differently from season-to-season. From 2012-2014, lefties threw Forysthe four-seam fastballs 32-34% of the time in each respective season, the most of any pitch. In 2012, he was was pretty successful (.333 BAA and .407 SLG). After regressing significantly in 2013 (.231 BAA and .346 SLG), he saw better results last season (.292 BAA and .625 SLG).

What is troublesome, though, is Forsythe's declining ability to handle "hard" pitches from left-handers:


Hard Pitches(%)















*All information from Brooks Baseball

As you can see, he rebounded slightly in 2014, after a considerable decline in 2013. Left-handers will likely continue to attack Forsythe with hard stuff until he can prove he can hit it consistently.


Last season, in 26 plate appearances as a pinch-hitter, Forsythe hit just .208/.269/.292, with a 65 wRC+. These numbers came on the heels of three seasons in San Diego in which Forsythe posted an OPS of .838, 1.357, and 879, respectively.

Overall, in 66 career plate appearances as a pinch-hitter, he has posted a line of .276/.348/.448, with a 128 wRC+. While Forsythe's strikeout percentage increases when he comes off the bench (19.6% to 25.8%), his power numbers improve as well, including his ISO (.108 to .172) and home run to fly ball ratio (6.5% to 10.5%). Despite his poor 2014, Forsythe should provide Tampa Bay with decent power off the bench.


Throughout his career, Forsythe has made nearly 100% of routine plays, no matter the position he's asked to play. Forsythe has good range, especially for a defender his size. For a budget-conscious like Tampa Bay, having a player on the roster who can play four or five positions average to above average is a major asset, particularly with the trades of Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez.

2015 Outlook

Looking to 2015, Forsythe, for the moment, appears to be the backup at first base, second base, and third base, with the Rays presumably planning to limit him to 300 plate appearances. While his versatility is an asset, Forsythe is best suited to be a bench defender, as he has been unable to replicate his offensive success from a few years ago, and in a small sample size has not performed well in offense-only duty (.427 OPS, 24 wRC+, .071 ISO in 47 plate appearances as a DH in 2014).

Entering his age-28 season, Forsythe's numbers are projected to improve in 2015, despite his slightly troublesome numbers against left-handed pitchers. In what are expected to be a tight, wire-to-wire AL East  and Wild Card races, roughly a full win from Forsythe could prove to be crucial.