After breaking his hamate bone during Wednesday’s win over the Cubs, Tony Gwynn, Jr.’s season is now over.
Considering he already lost his starting job to Chris Denorfia and his wRC+ dropped to 83, it’s easy to forget the kind of impact AJ had on this team. Gwynn led all major league center fielders in UZR this season with +13.6 runs. He was 3.4 runs ahead of second place Marlon Byrd, who played over 300 innings more than AJ. Three hundred and eight more, to be exact. That’s 34 games. That’s a fifth of a season. AJ finishes his season as the third most valuable outfielder in the majors, behind Carl Crawford and Andres Torres.
Despite his limited playing time and troubles at the plate, AJ has been the fifth most valuable Padre according to WAR. With six weeks left to play, he’ll likely fall in the standings as other players leapfrog him. But for a while, AJ was the epitome of the Padres defense-first philosophy. While I won’t be holding my breath, I hope the team doesn’t forget this coming offseason.
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