Posted by John Dewan on December 16, 2015
December 14, 2015
The most interesting deal of the Winter Meetings was the Shelby Miller trade. With it, the Diamondbacks acquired a formidable No. 2 starter behind newly-signed ace Zack Greinke, and the Braves dramatically improved their farm system with the No. 1 pick from the 2015 draft, Dansby Swanson, and pitching prospect Aaron Blair.
Because the Diamondbacks are trying to win now and the Braves are building for the future, it’s easy to focus on Miller and the prospects as the major pieces from the trade. However, outfielder Ender Inciarte was hardly a throw in. In fact, based on Total Runs—a measure of player value based on his offensive, defensive, pitching, and baserunning contributions—Inciarte was a better player than Miller in 2015.
|Shelby Miller vs. Ender Inciarte - Total Runs, 2015|
|Player||Runs Created||Pitching Runs Created||Defensive Runs Saved||BR Runs||Positional Adjustment||Total Runs|
For Fielding Bible Award Winner Inciarte, the focus naturally starts with his defense. His 29 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) trailed only Kevin Kiermaier among all players, and despite playing most of 2015 in the corner outfield spots, his 17 DRS in just 801.1 career innings in center field suggests he could be one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball. In addition, Inciarte stole 21 bases and was productive at the plate, producing a .747 on-base plus slugging that was comparable to Dexter Fowler and Nick Markakis, both of whom signed contracts for around $10 million per season prior to the 2015 season. Based on Total Runs, Inciarte was slightly more valuable than pitchers Madison Bumgarner and David Price in 2015, and Inciarte is still a year away from arbitration and four years away from free agency.
The Braves may be several years away from contending, but when that time comes, Inciarte will likely still be an inexpensive, productive part of their lineup.