The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Kevin Newman in the first round of the 2015 draft. He was an all-hit, no-power infielder in the minor leagues. He was never a top-tier prospect, but he was a solid mid-tier player with upside.
Newman demonstrated that promise during his first year in the majors. The right-handed batter hit .308/.353/.446 with a .339 wOBA and 109 wRC+ in 531 plate appearances.
Newman hit 12 home runs with a .138 isolated slugging percentage as a no-power prospect. For a man who spent four minor league seasons with a .100 isolated slugging percentage, that’s a lot of production.
Newman only walked 5.3 percent of the time, but his 11.7 percent strikeout rate was the fifth-lowest in baseball.
Newman, meanwhile, has been one of baseball’s worst hitters since the start of the 2020 season. In his last 726 at-bats, he’s hit .226/.268/.302, with a .250 wOBA and 54 wRC+.
To give you an idea of how poor Newman has been over the last two years, his wRC+ is 10 percent lower than the next closest position player with at least 600 plate appearances.
Jackie Bradley Jr., an outfielder, is tied for 64th place. In addition, he is dead last in OPS, wOBA, and fWAR.
So, how did a man who hit .300 in his debut season and had a wRC+ of around 110 become one of baseball’s worst hitters? What changed Newman’s offensive production between now and 2019?
How Much Does Kevin Newman Make?
Kevin Newman makes an annual average salary of $1,950,000.