George Springer: Small Sample, or Sophomore Slump?

Troy Tulowitzki, Chris Coghlan, and Jason Heyward are just a few names that have suffered from the controversial, much-debated “sophomore slump.” Coming into 2015, the big name on everyone’s radar of regression was Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu. However, it seems that the regression police have set their sights on another name with a bright future.

In 2014, George Springer hit 20 homers in just under 80 games, and in only 295 at bats. He only hit for a .231 average and struck out 114 times, but that was to be expected. He struck out at a high rate in the minors too. Springer also had a nagging oblique, which led many experts to believe he could be take a big step forward in 2015.

Now, the season is not even two weeks old yet, and his 34 at-bats are a small sample size. But Springer has struck out 16 times already, almost 50% of his at bats, he only has one RBI, and he has yet to leave the yard while collecting only five hits.

With Springer’s power, that could change in an instant, and anyone can get hot at any point. He showed that in 2014 when he hit seven homers in seven games. And hitting a home run, on average, once every four games is not a fluke.

Have pitchers figured out how to pitch Springer? Perhaps. Is his K-rate troubling? Absolutely. Could experts have put the proverbial cart before the horse by projecting him to hit 32 homers in a full season? I don’t think so.

Springer’s raw talent and raw power is undeniable. We should hold off on calling the regression police just yet. There’s a lot of season to be played, and Springer can turn his power switch on at any moment. And when he does, look out.

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