Over the past 3 seasons Ben Zobrist has been really good. He’s posted 17.9 WAR, averaging a 5.9 WAR per season. He’s not only versitile, being able to play a handful positions but also plays above average defense at each position. Oh yeah, he can hit too.
In 2009 Zobrist posted a HUGE breakout year, posting a 8.6 WAR, .246 ISO, .408 wOBA, 39.3 wRAA and a 151 wRC+. All of those numbers are way above league average. Zobrist was also walking at a 15.2% rate and only striking out 17.4% of the time. His .326 BABIP was slightly high but he is posting a .318 BABIP this year so going forward a BABIP in the upper .315 seems sustainable. Zobrist was getting paid the league minimum in 2009 but his production gave the Rays $38.8 million dollars worth of value which is nothing short of incredible.
In 2010 Zobrist got hit with a low BABIP of .276 and a 10.8 IFFB%. He still had a 3.7 WAR but his ISO fell to .115 and his wOBA all the way to .323. His wRC+ also took a hit, only being 102 overall. His wRAA was 1.1, also disappointing. A few bright spots were his 14% BB% and his 16.3 K% so he still had a keen eye at the plate. He still gave the Rays $15 million dollars worth of value last year.
This year though is closer to his true playing level. He has a 5.6 WAR, a .213 ISO, .376 wOBA, 23.4 wRAA and a 141 wRC+. His .318 BABIP is a little lower then his 2009 BABIP but like I mentioned earlier it seems sustainable. Zobrist is creating runs just like he was in ’09 so it looks like last year was a fluke. So far he’s generated $25.3 million dollars worth of value for the club. B the time the season’s over he could push a 7 WAR.
One thing that makes Zobrist so good though is his defense. UZR really likes him at second base, 19.7 career UZR and right field, 24.7 UZR. Some of the innings aren’t a huge number so it may be a small sample size but he’s still a really good defender.
Based on what I’ve shown you I’m scratching my head as to why Zobrist isn’t considered a star. He can play good defense and produces on offense. Eventually though, he will get his dues.