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How will Josh Fields contact rate translate in the majors?

Sparked by a late night exchange with Hitlesswonder in which he compared Josh Fields to Dallas McPherson, I decided to look at Fields' minor league contact rate and see if I could find a comparable player who has succeeded at the major league level. Remembering my comments from the off-season Top 10 list, it didn't take very long to find his doppleganger when it comes to controlling the strike zone. Fields' K/BB numbers from the last 3 seasons are almost exact matches for Johnny Gomes a couple of years ago in the same leagues at the same age.

Age Lvl AB 2B HR BB K AVG OBP SLG BB% K% Gomes 21 A+ 446 24 30 91 173 .278 .438 .574 20.4% 38.8% Fields 21 A+ 256 12 7 18 74 .285 .333 .445 7.0% 28.9% Age Lvl AB 2B HR BB K AVG OBP SLG BB% K% Gomes 22 AA 442 28 17 53 148 .249 .348 .441 12.0% 33.5% Fields 22 AA 477 27 16 55 148 .252 .341 .409 11.5% 31.0% Age Lvl AB 2B HR BB K AVG OBP SLG BB% K% Gomes 23 AAA 390 27 26 51 136 .256 .368 .537 13.1% 34.9% Fields 23 AAA 462 32 19 54 136 .305 .379 .515 11.7% 29.4% Age Lvl AB 2B HR BB K AVG OBP SLG BB% K% Gomes 24 AAA 168 13 14 30 44 .321 .446 .660 17.9% 26.2% Fields 24 AAA 154 8 7 31 45 .253 .378 .442 20.1% 29.2%
The obvious difference between the two is that Gomes has shown considerably more power. This can't be overlooked, but Fields power potential is not my chief concern about his ability to become an everyday major league player. His biggest hurdle will be his ability to command the strike zone against pitchers with better stuff and control than he's seen in the minors. And this is where Gomes is his most similar comp.

In the majors, Gomes has hit .238/.338/.458 with a nearly average .296 BABIP. He's struck out in 32.0% of his major league at-bats, which is very close to his rate of 32.8% above A-ball. Fields has generally K'd in fewer at-bats than Gomes, but has remained fairly consistent at about 29% in every stop. Fields will need to maintain a similarly lower K-rate at the majors in order to make up for the power differential in order to post similar AVG and OBP numbers to Gomes.

If called upon for any extended period of time this season, I think we'd see something like a .225/.325/.400 line from Fields. His increased walk rate repeating AAA is a good sign, and would probably make him more bearable than other options to fill in for our injured LFer and 3B, but you'd like to see it accompanied with a decrease in his K-rate. I'll remain guarded in my enthusiasm for Fields until I see him cut down on the strikeouts in AAA or prove that he can maintain a the same K/BB rate at the majors.