We learned yesterday that Omar Infante was named NL Player of the Week. It should come as no surprise when you look at the stats and what he accomplished. I mean, he is an All Star.
Infante is riding a 12-game hitting streak. Over that stretch, he is 23-52 with three home runs and seven RBIs. Over the week-long stretch that earned him the honors, he was 15-35 with a double, two triples, three homers, and five RBIs. They aren’t mind-blowing numbers, but considering he went 7-14 with a double, three homers, and five RBIs in the three-game series in Chicago, Infante deserved the award.
Even before the current 12-game hitting streak, one 0-4 game separates another 12-game hitting streak. He had a .947 OPS in July and currently resides at .979 in August, including a .573 SLG. It’s safe to say keeping him at leadoff was smart for the time being.
Infante seems to follow the formula of Martin Prado, not walking or striking out much and living off base hits that find holes. Infante’s .366 wOBA is helped tremendously by a .393 BABIP. He lives off the ability to avoid a considerable amount of strikeouts (14.5%), but his career walk average is 6%, and this season it’s actually 5%. Prado isn’t much better but it is higher at 6-8%, while he maintains a strikeout rate of around 13%. It’s not enough of a difference to name plate discipline as the difference between the two.
However, if you take a look at power numbers you find your difference. Infante has a .107 ISO, which you could say is normal for him these days. His power numbers while with the Tigers are nowhere to be found and are so far in the past that you can’t really consider them now. An ISO of around .100 is a realistic prediction for Infante going forward, in my opinion.
Meanwhile, Prado has a .172 ISO and his nearly-full season last year gave him a .158 ISO, both much higher than Infante has seen in a while. Whether Prado can repeat his power numbers from this season is not certain, but as he enters his prime it’s a safe bet to say he will maintain something close to that. Like Infante, Prado lives off base hits and a career .338 BABIP will attest to that. His bat control is phenomenal and is something hitters should strive for. But while Infante thrives on singles, Prado has begun to launch a few over the fences. If Infante cannot return to his Detroit power, he will never hold the value of Prado, nor will he earn a starting job for a full season.
I hate that I turned on Infante in his congratulatory post, but it’s something Braves fans should consider when thinking about Infante’s future with the team. Either way, we should enjoy what he gives us down the stretch because he has been a huge part of this offense.