Monday, August 18, 2008

Hey Neukom! My Giants Business Plan: Good Enough Offense Example

It had been so long I did my writing that I left out an example I had put together with some research and analysis.

Good Enough Offense Example

Let's take the following example. Let's pretend that the Giants pitched and played defense well enough to match what the Padre's did last year, allowing 4.11 runs per game. This would mean that they would need to average 4.60 runs scored per game in order to win 90 games. That's roughly the number of runs the Chicago Cubs scored last season.

So I decided to examine what type of offense they had as we would need similar goodness. For the below, I analyzed the Cub's lineup by OPS. For each position, I compiled where they ranked in the NL in 2007, where a Top 5 is considered Good, a Bottom 5 is considered Bad, and being in the middle 6 is considered average.

Cubs By Lineup Position

Here is how they did in 2007 by lineup position:

Leadoff: Good
2nd: Average
3rd: Average
4th: Good
5th: Bad
6th: Average
7th: Average
8th: Bad

The Cubs had two Good, two Bad, four Average.

For the Giants in 2008 (as of 08/18/08):
Leadoff: Average (mostly Lewis; Roberts/Velez brought down below Good)
2nd: Average (but very close to bad; mostly Castillo, Velez, Ochoa, Burriss bad)
3rd: Bad (but very close to average; mostly Winn doing poorly)
4th: Bad (very bad, last; mostly Molina but Rowand bad here too)
5th: Bad (mostly Rowand, but Bowker and Aurilia horrible, would have been Avg)
6th: Average (Mostly Bowker doing bad plus Castillo, but Aurilia did very well)
7th: Bad (Aurilia was easily Avg, but Castillo was bad, Burriss horrible)
8th: Bad (Vizquel and Bocock horrible, Burriss and Holm were good here)

The Giants had three Average, five bad, but one should have been good and four should have been average, leaving three bad. That's pretty close to the Cubs in 2007. Amazingly, Vizquel was so bad that he barely beat out Bocock.

For the Giants in 2009 using current personnel and 2008 stats (OPS to be ranked):
Leadoff: Winn .787 (.787 Good/.722 Avg)
2nd: ??? (.767 Good/.709 Avg)
3rd: Lewis .817 (.893 Good/.777 Avg)
4th: Molina .731 (.874 Good/.788 Avg)
5th: Rowand .790 (.832 Good/.776 Avg)
6th: Ishikawa/Sandoval (.783 Good/.719 Avg)
7th: ??? (.745 Good/.714 Avg)
8th: ???(Ochoa .694) (.672 Good/.588 Avg)

The Giants look to have one Good, three Average, one bad, three ???. Ishikawa/Sandoval should probably beat .719 for Average ranking; if we get a power 3B via free agency, he would bat 6th and they should probably beat .714 for Average ranking as well. Frandsen should be able to do well enough to be Average at any of the question marks, could be good 7th, maybe 2nd too. Ochoa hopefully can be at least average at 8th and SS, but too soon to tell; good now though. Given these guesses, that would leave the Giants at one Good, five average, one bad, 3B still ?. If we could get a good 3B, we could have an offense similar to the Cubs.

Cubs By Playing Position

Here is how the Cubs did in 2007 by playing position:

C: Average
1B: Good
2B: Average
3B: Good
SS: Bad
LF: Good
CF: Bad
RF: Average

The Cubs had three Good, three Average, two Bad.

For the Giants in 2008(as of 08/18/08):

C: Average (mostly Molina)
1B: Bad (last by a lot, mostly Bowker, but Aurilia too)
2B: Bad (close to Avg, only due to Durham who was very good, Burriss and Velez very bad)
3B: Bad (last; mostly Castillo, but all bad)
SS: Bad (last by a lot; mostly Vizquel, Bocock very bad too; both Burriss and Ochoa average)
LF: Average (mostly Lewis who was close to good; Roberts/Ortmeier brought down)
CF: Average (mostly Rowand who was close to good)
RF: Average (close to Good; mostly Winn, but it was others who brought close to good)

The Giants had four Average and four Bad. It looked better earlier when I first did the analysis but that's life within a season, as earlier, we were good at C, CF, RF. Much like how nobody noticed Winn early on when doing well, fans started busting his chops when he had a very slow summer, but now he is on a monster hot streak leading off for us.

For the Giants in 2009 using current personnel and 2008 stats (OPS to be ranked):

C: Molina .731 (.777 Good/.665 Avg)
1B: Ishikawa/Sandoval (.841 Good/.784 Avg)
2B: ??? (Frandsen?) (.751 Good/.688 Avg)
3B: ??? (.788 Good/.714 Avg)
SS: ???(Ochoa .694) (.754 Good/.693 Avg)
LF: Lewis .817 (.864 Good/.712 Avg)
CF: Rowand .790 (.820 Good/.724 Avg)
RF: Winn .787 (.816 Good/.747 Avg)

The Giants have four average, one bad, three ???. Ishikawa/Sandoval most probably are going to be Bad, but if they hit like they did in minors, could be average, particularly as platoon. Frandsen should be at least average at 2B or 3B, could be good 2B. If Ochoa wins SS, could perhaps be average, most probably bad. That would work out to five average, two bad, one ?. Rowand could be good in 2009, he had a horrible June/July, plus he has had problems at home but has been improving during the season. No other chances of another good unless we acquire good 3B. Still, should be much better than all the bads from this season.


The Giants do not appear to be that far from having an offense like the Cubs did in 2007. If Ishikawa/Sandoval could continue to hit like they did in minors that would solidify 1B and bottom of lineup. If Winn could be traded, I think Schierholtz has the potential to get RF into the good category, but shouldn't be a setback either to drop it to bad, plus provide another RBI and power bat to underwhelming lineup. Frandsen is a potentially good 2B, he has hit everywhere he has played, and should at least be average; would be good hitting #2. Lewis has the potential to move up to good as well, though it will be harder moving away from hitting leadoff and being in LF.

The key thing appears to be getting another plus bat into the lineup, however that can happen. In free agency, 3B appears to be a bit barren, both of power and of youth. Young 3B are signed up quickly, typically. A trade will be problematic unless we give up somebody good ourselves, like Sanchez or Bumgarner (I am hoping Cain and Lincecum are untouchable; Sanchez and Bumgarner are getting there in my mind but not there yet).

The best thing, I believe, is to wait another year, let our young players play in 2009 and see what happens. Ideally, Posey will force his way into lineup by 2010 and be a good C and lineup position for us, and be that plus bat; there is also the possibility he could end up at SS (and be good there) if Sandoval proves to be good as a C. Villalona could be that player as well by 2010-11, depending on how he advances in 2009, ideally at 3B. Dark horses would be Nick Noonan at 2B and Conor Gillaspie at 3B/2B in the 2010-11 timeframe as well. And I would throw out Brandon Crawford at SS, as well, for he could surprise since he was very highly rated in the pre-season, he needs to figure out how to bring that potential back into play, as he did not do that well this season, relatively.


  1. I'd say the Giants offense is miles away from being good enough for a contending team. It's also 3 25+ homerun hitters away from being what the Cubs were last year. The Cubs had Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, and Alfonso Soriano. All of them are really good hitters, and I think they're all on a different level than any of the 'good' players in our lineup. Bengie Molina may be a good hitting catcher, but that isn't the same as a good hitting 1st baseman like Derrek Lee. Someone like Lee makes a way bigger difference. I think we need a feared or at least actually really good hitter or two before we can start thinking about being almost ready for the playoffs again.

    And another thing, I don't really think last year's Cubs are a good role model of a playoff team. Their offense, while much better than ours, was still kind of bad outside of Ramirez, Lee, and Soriano. A couple more average players would've really helped them. Their rotation was pretty good, but it didn't really have any excellent pitchers. Jason Marquis and Carlos Zambrano were both just pretty good that year. And also their bullpen wasn't great. Their team wasn't set up to go that far into the playoffs, which is why they lost in the first round.

  2. Is it even a realistic possibility to have Posey play SS in the majors? He hasn't played SS full time since his freshman year at FSU. If Posey can play SS, then I think having Posey at SS, Sandoval at C, and Ishikawa at 1B will yield the best offensive lineup. It would certainly provide more power cus Posey has more power than Burriss or Ochoa. It would be a bonus if Villalona can play 3B but I doubt that's likely. Hopefully Gillaspie can hit for average and doubles and play 3B. It will be very interesting to see what the Giants decide to do at catcher and 1B in the future with Posey, Sandoval, Ishikawa, and Villalona.

  3. Boonitez, good points on Cubs offense, it's true we don't have heavy sluggers on their level. But on a rough comparison, we are not that far away, particularly if we can get another solid hitter.

    I wasn't using the Cubs as a role model, I was just comparing an offense that scores 4.6 runs per game and trying to see how close the Giants are to attaining such an offense.

    Again, I don't think we are too far, for example, last year the Giants without Bonds in the lineup averaged 4.6 runs per game. But that was small samples and some people would scoff at this, so I was trying to make a comparison between the Giants offense with an offense that was able to score the 4.6 runs per game that would enable a top rotation (like I expect the Giants to have over the next few years; I know, going out on a limb there :^) to win enough games to be playoff contenders.

    As I showed in one of my earliest Hey! posts, a team that can keep their runs allowed at league best levels don't need to have an offense that is world beating in order to be competitive for the playoffs. Now I'm trying to show that we are not far from such an offense, which I can see your point, it is a bit lacking.

  4. Wayne, yes, that is a good point whether it is realistic or not. I think it is, mainly because I keep on reading how athletic he is.

    However, I admit I don't know what precipitated his change from SS to C, perhaps his fielding range wasn't the greatest or something. Obviously his arm must be OK as he needs to throw even farther from home to 2B to get an out at catcher.

    Just trying to think out of the box, since we might have Villalona coming up at 1B (I wouldn't say there's no hope, as he's still taking plays 3B in practice and appears to want to play that position), which leaves no place for Ishikawa or Sandoval. Because Ish has plays very good defense there, maybe we could platoon the two there if we could get Villalona ready to play another position. That would give us time to see how things play out positionally.

    Or, alternatively, perhaps they can be good trading pieces by the time Posey and Villalona are ready to come up.



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