St. Louis Cardinals: Exploring Right-Handed DH Options
By Henry Fitzgerald
First up is 25-year-old slugger Juan Yepez. Undoubtedly the most iconic moment of Yepez’s young career was the towering 2-run Home Run against José Alvarado in Game 1 of the 2022 Wild Card Series.
Overall, Yepez had a productive rookie season. In 253 at-bats, he slashed .253/.296/.447 with 12 Home Runs and 30 RBIs. This equated to a 111 OPS+ (11% above league average) and 0.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement).
Assuming Yepez would mostly be used as a DH option against left-handed starting pitching, his lefty versus righty splits from the 2022 season must be analyzed. Yepez logged 198 at-bats against right-handed pitching compared to 55 against left-handed pitching. His batting average and on-base percentage splits are nearly identical to his season totals. However, his slugging against right-handed pitching (.460) was noticeably higher than it was against left-handed pitching (.400).
This difference could be chalked up to relatively a small sample size against lefties. It could also create an argument for Yepez to be utilized as more than an LHP specialist. I am intrigued to see how Yepez’s role develops in the 2023 season. With 400+ at-bats, I think that Yepez could establish himself as a reliable hitter that can sit at the bottom of a lineup and drive in runs.