Would you like some regular playing time with that salad? An injury to second baseman Brett Lawrie opened the door for Saladino to garner some ample playing time.
Saladino amassed 254 plate appearances in 2015 and while he showed a little pop and got off to a quick start, he succumbed to a .225/.267/.335 line and removed himself from the starting conversation.
Saladino shined when given a similar opportunity in 2016. He was a 1.2 fWAR player over 93 games and 385 PAs. He had a .282/.315/.403 line, which is certainly playable considering the defensive utility he offers at a variety of positions.
Saladino simply plays with a high baseball IQ and is a Javy Baez-light with notably less power and less defensive flair. Hey, I said light. At the same time, a .128 ISO isn’t horrid for a middle infielder.
He had 14 doubles and eight home runs in limited playing time, which would be a playable output over a 162 game span.
It would serve Saladino well to take more walks, but he has a contact oriented approach and consistently capable at-bats. He hit lefties a bit better than righties in 2016 by about .100 points in OPS.
A .301/.332/.409 2nd half line teased at a potential ceiling as a regular but Saladino is ideally a super-sub. I expect Lawrie to be entrenched as the starter again in 2017 as he is shockingly a year younger than Saladino and presents a little more upside.
This doesn’t diminish what Saladino was in 2016 and that was very much a serviceable starter, albeit with limited upside.