Well, that’s surprising.
After a 2009 that could be summed up as “listless” statistically, David Eckstein isn’t half bad.
Eckstein hit an ugly .260/.323/.334 last year, but he’s kicked that to .270/.328/.357. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s 17 points of wOBA–from .296 to .313.
That means that David Eckstein has thus far been as good as a replacement-level second baseman at the plate this season.
That doesn’t sound like much, and it’s not, but we’re talking about a guy who was 9.2 runs below replacement at the dish last year, and isn’t getting younger at 35. It’s not like he was ever a masher, either–Eckstein was below replacement at hitting in 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2008 as well.
What comes as a bigger surprise (yes, really!) is that Eckstein, out of nowhere, has a 27.1 UZR/150 at second this year after rating -7 and -4.5 there the last two years. That means Eckstein is 4.4 runs above average in the field.
Yes, a month of UZR is far from conclusive, and no, Eckstein isn’t likely to keep up his defensive pace. But still, he’s already got that value banked. Just because he played well for a month doesn’t mean he’ll play extra badly from here on out just so his UZR will even out. No. Just like if he hit 10 homers in 10 straight ABs, we wouldn’t expect Eckstein to hit for more power (well, maybe we would…that would just be weird), but he’s still got the 10 homers and resultant exorbitant SLG, whether he’s really got much power or not.
Add Eckstein’s value up, and he’s a 0.9 WAR player thus far. He was worth 1.0 WAR in 2008 and 2009 combined. We may not expect him to keep doing this, but it’s sure nice to get some value out of the guy.