Blue Jays star George Springer is one of MLB's unluckiest players

The Toronto Blue Jays outfielder's 2023 season is opening on a sour note, but his biggest problem is the bad luck he's experienced.

George Springer is off to a frustrating start to his third season with the Toronto Blue Jays. (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)

The game was on the line when George Springer stepped to the plate in the eighth inning of the Toronto Blue Jays' rubber match with the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.

The bases were loaded with no outs, and although the Blue Jays were down by a run, FanGraphs put their win probability at 62.6% thanks to the favourable situation.

After working a 3-2 count he got a pitch to hit and blistered it down the left-field line. Unfortunately for Springer, it was right at Astros third baseman Alex Bregman.

Via Baseball Savant
Via Baseball Savant

His reaction was a potent cocktail of disbelief and frustration.


Missing out on a hit in a huge spot when you've done everything right — after all, the liner had an expected batting average of .700 — can easily cause a response like that, but there's more context here for Springer.

That ball was the outfielder's eighth batted ball at 100 mph or more that's gone for an out, a significant number for a player who's put 61 balls in play this year. Although the leadoff man possesses excellent strikeout and walk rates, his BABIP of .224 has his overall numbers looking unimpressive.

Sometimes a low BABIP is just the result of a player not putting enough good wood on the ball, but that doesn't seem to be the case for Springer.

While his Statcast numbers aren't in the Matt Chapman or Vladimir Guerrero Jr. range, the difference between his expected stats and actual numbers is telling:

Blue Jays
Via Baseball Savant

Of the 88 hitters who've put at least 50 balls in play this season, his wOBA — a metric that summarizes the overall value of his offensive production — ranks 78th. In that same group, his expected wOBA ranks 40th. Unsurprisingly, the gap between his expected and actual wOBA (-0.075) is the third highest in the sample.

Springer is not hitting at the height of his capabilities just yet, but it's clear the biggest issue he's dealing with at the moment is a lack of good fortune.

At some point, the veteran will have better results come his way. It's inevitable based on the low baseline of his current numbers, and the quality of the at-bats he's having.

He also doesn't have a history of underperforming his expected statistics. In fact, his raw number exceeded them by a notable margin in both 2021 and 2022.

Considering Springer's age (33) it might be tempting to assume there's an element of physical decline involved in his ugly results. That said, his max exit velocity in 2023 (115.9 mph) is tied for the second-highest mark of his career, suggesting his raw power is intact. His legs also seem to be firing on all cylinders considering his sprint speed (77th percentile) matches last year's output (76th percentile).

Springer looks like he's going to be just fine, but if he feels like the fates are conspiring against him right now that's a reasonable point of view.