Andy Dirks Should No Longer be Considered a 4th Outfielder

Links for Dirks:

Baseball Reference.


Inside Edge Scouting Report

Inside Edge Hitter Report Card


  • Born on Jan. 24, 1986 in Hutchinson, Kan.
  • Drafted in the 8th round (253rd overall) by the Detroit Tigers in 2008.
  • Ranked Detroit Tigers #11 prospect after the 2010 season by Baseball America.
  • 1st MLB hit on 5/16/2011.

How much money will Dirks be making?

Andy Dirks is still in his pre-arbitration years and is due to make a salary of about $500k.

What are his slash lines?

In 579 MLB AB's, .293 AVG, .340 OBP, .454 SLG, .794 OPS.

In 1178 MiLB AB's, .288 AVG, .350 OBP, .430 SLG, .779 OPS

What about his career Splits?

I           Split  AB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
    vs RHP as LHB 429 .294 .338 .457 .795
    vs LHP as LHB 104 .288 .345 .442 .787

Provided by View Original Table Generated 12/2/2012.

Can he hit LHP?

Well, it appears that he hits LHP just as well as RHP, but he probably hasn't faced enough lefties to make that conclusion.

What about base running?

He's at least an average base runner. He probably lost a step last season due to his hamstring problems, but when his legs are 100% healthy, he's capable of taking extra bases and could probably steal about 20 bags a year if given the chance. The Tigers don't employ much of a running game though, so don't expect many SB's. In the minors, he stole 59 bases in 72 attempts over 309 games.

What were they saying about Dirks when he was a prospect?

As a amateur player, John Sickels described Dirks as a

"good athlete with average tools across the board and a strong performance record".

Which pretty much still holds true.

From Lee Panas at TigerTales: Is Andy Dirks for Real?

Mark Anderson, "A well-rounded player, Dirks' broad skills and solid skill set has long given scouts the vision of him as a traditional fourth outfielder."

Baseball America Prospect Handbook: "He doesn't have standout tools, but he grows on managers because he plays the game the right way and always gives you 100%. If all works out, he could be a David Dellucci-type regular, and should at least have value as a fourth outfielder."

Baseball Prospectus 2011: "Dirks is a gamer who worked his way up to triple-A and profiles as a likable fourth outfielder."

Who was it that said Dirks "shows no real weaknesses" and that he "could become a manager's favorite." ?

None other than our very own David Tokarz, on Aug 9, 2010 for Bless You Boys

Here's the entire scouting report he wrote about Dirks when he was in Toledo:

Dirks really impressed me, and not just because of the results he put up (four doubles, two singles). The bad news: he struck out three times and two of the three were swinging over hard fastballs, which leads me to believe he may have a little problem with hard stuff. But what makes me so happy about Dirks is his ability to work counts. Kid's a scrappy battler. He knows how to make a pitcher work for the out and drive up pitch counts. He's also got decent wheels, okay discipline and strike zone control and passable power. Nothing about Dirks' game really stands out, but he shows no real weaknesses, either. His bat projects out to be a fourth outfielder's, but he looks like a player that could become a manager's favorite.

Defensively, he made some really sweet snags in left, including one deep in foul territory close to the stands. I can't grade out his arm, but I love the range, and considering he was drafted as a center fielder, that makes sense.

In essense, Dirks was being called a 4th outfielder long before his 1st MLB at bat. Unfortunately that label still hasn't left him. How many 4th outfielders have no weaknesses?

None that I can think of.

What's Dirks natural defensive position?

As a minor leaguer, he played mostly in LF. 150 games in LF, 92 in CF, and 23 in RF. In the majors, he has played 700 of his 1097 innings in LF. So we should assume that he's most comfortable playing LF.

What about his Fielding Metrics in LF?

DRS at Fangraphs has him as a +10 runs saved in LF for those 700 Innings (or about 81 games). He also made 55 OOZ (Out of Zone) plays in those 700 innings. UZR paints a complete opposite picture though, where he has a -6.1 UZR/150 in LF. Either way the sample sizes are too small to draw any conclusions about his metrics, but scouting can help fill in those blanks.

What were scouts saying about his defense?

He was rated Best Defensive OF in the Detroit Tigers system after the 2010 season by Baseball America. So I think it's safe to say that he has good range with an average, but accurate arm.

What about his intangibles?

Lets not forget how Dirk's "take out slide" was one of the most important plays of the 2012 season:

In this play, he breaks up an inning-ending double play, allowing Don Kelly to score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth

He also knows how to troll Big Al execute a bunt, as he displayed in game 2 of the ALDS.

To sum it up:

From the outside it looks like Dirks has no extraordinary skills, but he has no glaring weaknesses either (besides hitting curve balls). What might be overlooked, is that he is a very well rounded player. Dirks does everything noticeably unnoticeably well.

A ton of surplus value is another thing Dirks brings to the table. For those that like WAR, he's a solid 2 WAR player, which is what an average player is. A 2 WAR player is worth about $10 Million per year on the open market, but we'll only have to pay Dirks about $500k or 20x less.

We can also state the obvious, that Dirks is not a .322 hitter like he was last year, and that his .365 BABIP is not sustainable. Ok, we know that he's not Joe freaking Mauer. Even so, if his BABIP lowers to a more sustainable level, like .310, he'll still be about a .280 hitter, with average power, solid defense, no weaknesses, and very good intangibles.

Maybe this scrappy, gritty, hard worker, that hustles, and works counts is the budding unsung hero that we've been searching for.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the <em>Bless You Boys</em> writing staff.

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