When Tony Gwynn Jr. was acquired by the Dodgers last off-season, we knew about his excellent reputation as as defensive outfielder, and it didn't take long to see it pay off. On April 29, after entering the contest as a late-inning defensive replacement, Gwynn saved a shaky Jonathan Broxton's considerable bacon with a game-ending diving catch in left field of a Nick Hundley liner that looked poised to drive home the tying and go-ahead runs for his former team, the San Diego Padres.
|2012 Dodgers Player Profiles|
|This continues our series of 2012 player profiles, where we will analyze one player per day, between now and the end of spring training. This is also the spot for our community projections, so be sure to give us your predictions for each player for this season in the comments section.
The son of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn has the fielding metrics to back up the eyeball judgment that rate him an elite fielder, at least with the leather. His career UZR/150 in CF is a sparkling 17.2 and as on overall OF, 21.1. To my eye, Gwynn displays just enough arm to keep base runners reasonably honest and gather a few assists here and there, though I rarely expect to gun down players at the plate.
The other above-average skill Gwynn possesses is for base running. The speedy nephew of ex-Dodger Chris Gwynn notched a career-high 22 steals in 2012, at a more than acceptable 78.6% success rate.
It is at the plate where Gwynn does not excel. His 84 OPS+ in the last campaign, buoyed by a career-high slugging percentage, raised his career mark to 77, which is in the currently unemployed Aaron Miles' neighborhood, for example.
It may not be enough of a sample size to be significant, but prior to last season, Gwynn boasted a generally increasing walk rate that peaked at 12.1% in 2010 (that would have been 4th on the Dodgers that year), but in the last campaign that plunged down to 6.8%.
All told, that still makes Gwynn a useful player on a major-league bench, especially one that expects to employ Juan Rivera in left-field a significant amount of the time.
The younger Gwynn had some recent off-season distractions as his famous father endured a successful 14-hour surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his cheek.
Gwynn is one of two Dodgers in camp that have been involved in trades including Jody Gerut. The other is Josh Bard, in different deals.
His sister is hip-hopper Anisha Nicole whose song "No Means No" reached number three on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart in 2003.
Per the True Blue LA Dodgers Payroll Worksheet (big props to Eric), Gwynn signed a two-year deal that will pay him $850,000 this year and $1.15 million for 2013 and covers his remaining arbitration-eligible years. He has no options remaining.
Previous Dodgers Player Profiles:
2011: Tony Gwynn, Jr., Have Glove, Will Travel
|2012 Projections - Age 29 Season|
|(Photo by AP Photo/Nick Wass)|
Gwynn is what he is, a 4th/5th OF who will see playing time as a defensive replacement, in spot starts and some pinch-hitting and pinch-running duty. I imagine him batting .249/.320/.325 in 2012, in 225 PA.
What is your prediction for Tony Gwynn, Jr. in 2012? Be sure to guess BA/OBP/SLG, and anything else you wish to guess.
Thanks to baseball-reference.com and fangraphs.com for the statistics.