Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Giants End of Season Review: Infielders



Aubrey Huff:

BA
OBP
SLG
R
2B
3B
HR
RBI
SB
2011 Projection
0.277
0.356
0.466
84
34
3
21
82
5
2011 Actual
0.246
0.306
0.370
45
27
1
12
59
5

Looking back at this projection makes me sad. I had such high hopes for Huff, even my “Worst Case Scenario” ended up being too rosy with a .249/ .320/ .419 triple slash line. Of all the disappointments on the 2011 Giants this one is probably the one that hurts the most.

First of all getting this tiny amount of production out a first baseman is a travesty, getting this level of production on an already offensively challenged team is a death sentence for an offense. Huff didn’t have a single month where he was able to post an OPS above .800, of the 14 NL first baseman that played at least 60 games only Lyle Overbay was worse.

To put the icing on the cake it came out that Huff was out of shape to start the season but because he has veteran grit he wasn’t benched and was allowed to be an anchor for the Giants offense. All this is certainly making me look forward to next season…

Freddy Sanchez:

BA
OBP
SLG
R
2B
3B
HR
RBI
SB
2011 Projection
0.287
0.331
0.390
63
27
2
8
51
3
2011 Actual
0.289
0.332
0.397
21
15
1
3
24
0

Freddy Sanchez was having very nice season. It wasn’t spectacular but at the time that he was injured he was arguably the Giants second best hitter and with him gone the Giants went from a bad Major League lineup to a bad AAA lineup. The drop off from Sanchez’s backups wasn’t as severe as the one from Buster Posey to the Whiteside/Stewart duo but it still meant a whole lot more Miguel Tejada which was no ones idea of a perfect situation.

I have to say that I am pretty worried about Sanchez ability to stay healthy for a full season next year. You have to go back to 2008 to find the last time that he was able to play at least 145 games and each injury that he has sustained over the last few years has a tendency to nag and flare up especially now that he is coming into his mid-30’s.

Seeing as Sanchez is somewhat fragile I think it would be in the Giants best interest to bring back a Mike Fontenot as a back up plan in case there is a replay of the last few years.

Miguel Tejada:

BA
OBP
SLG
R
2B
3B
HR
RBI
SB
2011 Projection
0.269
0.315
0.399
77
30
1
14
77
3
2011 Actual
0.239
0.270
0.326
28
16
0
4
26
4

If Huff was the biggest disappointment of the 2011 team, Miguel Tejada was probably a close second. Not that I had too high of expectations for him but he was able to slip under even that very low bar. Here is what I said at the time:

Here is what I expect; a free swinger who will avoid walks at nearly all costs. He will play rickety defense that will make fans cover their eyes at times and, baring catastrophic failure, should give the Giants league average or better offense for a shortstop.

Man was I an idiot. I should have listened to the devil on my shoulder that was trying to convince me that this was a bad idea. I was right about the defense and I couldn’t have been more wrong about the offense, his bat looked slow and his ability to drive the ball seemed to be all but gone last year.

If next season the Giants sign a free agent short stop they should send a fruit basket to Tejada because he set the bar so low for the next guy that if he can play any sort of defense and hit even a little bit it will be like adding Babe Ruth in comparison.

Pablo Sandoval:

BA
OBP
SLG
R
2B
3B
HR
RBI
SB
2011 Projection
0.294
0.346
0.466
70
38
3
18
77
3
2011 Actual
0.315
0.357
0.552
55
26
3
23
70
2

For all the hype surrounding Pablo Sandoval’s off season it sure seemed to live up to things. Sandoval turned a very impressive season and considering the down offensive year around the league and his hamate bone fracture it was arguably better than his 2009 season that got us all excited about him.

What was really exciting is that in the second half of the season he was really, really good after he had a month or so to have his hand recover. In the second half of the year he posted a .325/ .370/ .593 triple slash line and was one of the best hitters in the league even while playing with a pretty bad shoulder injury down the stretch that limited him from switch hitting.

This season makes his down year in 2010 seem like a hazy memory and if he shows dedication to coming into Spring Training in good shape again I am thinking another big season is definitely a big possibility. He is probably the only position player on the Giants that doesn’t have any big question marks for next season, which is great for him but makes me nervous about the rest of the team.

Jeff Keppinger:

BA
OBP
SLG
R
2B
3B
HR
RBI
SB
2011 Projection
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
2011 Actual
0.255
0.285
0.333
17
11
0
2
15
0

I had hopes that Keppinger could be a decent replacement for Sanchez, but I turned out to be off the mark. I said that I expected Keppinger to be a 0.7 to 1 win player over his time with the Giants and his actual production was a dismal -0.3 fWAR. I was hopeful that the Giants would keep him around for next season as Sanchez’s backup and now I am on the same page as Brian Sabean thinking that he might be an expensive luxury who isn’t likely to live up the salary that he will command in arbitration.

Just about everything about him took a nose dive when he put on the Giants uniform. His power disappeared, his ability to make contact dropped off and he certainly didn’t walk enough to make up for the lack of hits that fell in and to top it off his range was rather abysmal at second base.

In a perfect world I wouldn’t mind giving Keppinger another shot with the team as a back up infielder but with the Giants budget constraints I think I would rather have Mike Fontenot in that role.

Mike Fontenot:

BA
OBP
SLG
R
2B
3B
HR
RBI
SB
2011 Projection
0.270
0.327
0.388
36
19
3
4
35
2
2011 Actual
0.227
0.304
0.377
22
15
3
4
21
5

Mike Fontenot put together a nice little season, sure his batting average isn’t pretty but he made up for it with decent power numbers and a respectable walk rate that kept his OBP above .300. When you compare him to Keppinger who he will be competing for with next season for a roster spot he looks even better. Each had similar amounts of plate appearances with the Giants and Fontenot was significantly more valuable to the team in terms of fWAR because of his better defense and ability to get on base even when he didn’t get hits.

If we are looking at backups I think that Fontenot fits that role nicely. He doesn’t have a huge amount of upside but he is a high floor guy that can actually play a passable short stop in addition to third and second base.

Orlando Cabrera:

BA
OBP
SLG
R
2B
3B
HR
RBI
SB
2011 Projection
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
2011 Actual
0.222
0.241
0.270
4
3
0
1
13
2

Orlando Cabrera was not a good player to get and I don’t think anyone will miss him when he is not with the team next season. He had pitiful offense and only slightly better than Miguel Tejada defense. This was a classic Brian Sabean move and it didn’t quite work out.

The fact that Cabrera got any at bats let alone more than 50 in the first two spots of the lineup makes me depressed. The guy didn’t hit at all but because he has some track record of hitting in the past he go the benefit of the doubt despite what the results on the field were screaming out.

I don’t really want to think about this any more.

Brandon Crawford:

BA
OBP
SLG
R
2B
3B
HR
RBI
SB
2011 Projection
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
2011 Actual
0.204
0.288
0.296
22
5
2
3
21
1

Brandon Crawford was rushed up to the big leagues and I have to say that even though his offensive numbers weren’t great I think that he did fairly well. He more than anything else just was the victim of bad luck at the major league level and his batted ball data suggests a hitter better than the one in the above stat line.

The defense was as good as advertised and baring a big free agent I think that he is probably a better option than most of the second tier free agent short stops on the market this season (see Tejada, Miguel and Cabrera, Orlando for an idea of what is out there). He is putting up some good numbers in the AFL (although it is coming with a high BABIP that isn’t sustainable) which is encouraging.

Crawford showed that he can play MLB caliber defense and showed that he is no worse offensively than some of the other MLB short stops out there, given his MLB minimum contract for team with a pretty tight budget it could certainly be worse if the Giants can’t get a decent guy to play short next season.


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