Monday, November 7, 2011

UPDATED: Giants Trade Jonathan Sanchez for Melky Cabrera


According to the Twitter feed of the Royals the Giants have traded Jonathan Sanchez and minor leaguer Ryan Verdugo for outfielder Melky Cabrera

The trade isn't a huge surprise because the Giants pretty much said that they had too many starting pitchers and that if they weren't able to trade Sanchez he was a candidate to not be tendered a contract.

Cabrera is coming off a career year and Sanchez is coming off of an injury plagued season where he struggled with effectiveness. My first impression is that I don't like Cabrera much, he doesn't rate well as a defender in center field and his offense outside of last season has been below average.

What the Giants Got:


Cabrera is still fairly young at 27 coming into next season, he is a bit of a tweener outfielder, passable at a corner spot but not enough power and good enough offense for center field but below average defense.

As a prospect he was somewhat rushed by the Yankees (called up to the big leagues at 20) and that could have hurt his early development so it is possible that he could turn out to be a late bloomer and last season was just a sign of things to come. On the other hand the 2600 below average plate appearances are hard to over come to make me a believer.

Here are his major league stats:


2005
Yankees
0.0 %
10.5 %
.000
.235
.211
.211
.211
.187
5
-3.0
0.0
-0.4
2006
Yankees
10.7 %
11.3 %
.111
.309
.280
.360
.391
.333
98
3.0
2.2
1.7
2007
Yankees
7.0 %
11.1 %
.117
.295
.273
.327
.391
.317
89
-8.1
-0.9
0.5
2008
Yankees
6.4 %
12.8 %
.092
.271
.249
.301
.341
.285
69
2.5
-1.4
0.1
2009
Yankees
8.0 %
10.9 %
.142
.288
.274
.336
.416
.331
94
1.5
-1.8
1.6
2010
Braves
8.3 %
12.6 %
.098
.288
.255
.317
.354
.294
79
-12.7
-0.9
-1.0
2011
Royals
5.0 %
13.3 %
.164
.332
.305
.339
.470
.349
118
-6.7
3.5
4.2
Total
- - -
7.4 %
12.0 %
.123
.299
.275
.331
.398
.320
93
-23.6
0.6
6.8


The big red flag that shows up from last season is the batting average on balls in play. Last season he posted a .332 average on balls in play which is well above his career mark of .299. This seems like a good situation to use my xBABIP tool to see what we should have expected based on his career numbers.


Type
#
BABiP
xBABip
H
xH
FB
183
0.115
0.117
19
20
LD
113
0.673
0.692
76
78
GB
264
0.311
0.253
82
67
542
0.327*
0.304
177
165

*This doesn't take into account his 6 for 8 in bunting for hits which boosted his batting average on balls in play another 5 points. 

When we take a look at his BABiP versus his expected BABiP you see that he under performed his career averages on fly balls and line drives but was 60 points higher on ground balls. Those 60 points in ground balls are probably not something I would bet on him repeating next season but overall his batted ball data isn't too out of line with the rest of his career.

If we were to adjust his overall line from last season to his career norms in BABiP and his rate of hitting singles, doubles, triples and homers he would have a line of .269/ .330/ .390 with a wOBA of .325. That have made him still an above average hitter but and more in line of what I would hold out as the expectation for next season.

I'm not thrilled with the thought of him as a lead off hitter (which you know he will because of the stolen bases!) with his career .331 OBP and the thought of him playing center field isn't much fun either. At this point it was probably the best the Giants could get for Sanchez who they are dealing when his value is at a low point and if money were not a problem I would have loved to keep Sanchez around because pitching depth is never a bad problem to have.

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