Sunday, September 06, 2015

Your 2015 Giants: Fallacious Finger Flipping

As the season starts to sink (though I haven't given up hope yet), thought I would address something I've been seeing on-line that bothers me (and has bothered me for years):  righteous anger over the 25th man not hitting well at all.
ogc thoughts

I've been seeing it lately and didn't feel the need to post on it, but then Hank Schulman tweeted about the attacks on Adrianza, and got attacked by a number of people, including some names I recognize, so I felt the need to opine.
This seems like the way fans work, at least Giants fans.  The team isn't winning so they decide to find a sacrificial goat to roast on a spit and they usually pick on the 25th man and/or Sabean/Evans because the GM either should have had a better player for the team to turn to.

Teams Don't Lose With the 25th Guy

That's fallacy #1:  the 25th guy isn't responsible for losing games.  He's there filling a spot and trying his best to hit and field.  Some are hitting specialists but the vast majority provides their value via defense.  Adrianza is one of those defensive guys.  You don't count on him hitting for much, and yes, he's hitting pretty poorly, but he's been a lot unlucky, as his contact rate is a good 85% even as he's not hitting that well in the past two weeks.  As badly as people think he's been defensively, his seasonal defensive rate per advanced metrics has him at 2+ wins, which is elite, and he's better than any of the other guys in the system.  Even this season, per WAR, he's cost us roughly one win OVER THE WHOLE SEASON.  No he's not responsible for our losing streak.

If you look at the whole losing streak, we lost all those one run games, but mostly low scoring games.  Why not give the starting pitchers the credit they deserve, instead of blaming your appointed goat?
  • Wacha:  2.69 ERA
  • Lynn:  2.80 ERA
  • Garcia:  1.89 ERA
  • Anderson:  3.43 ERA
  • Greinke:  1.59 ERA
  • Kershaw:  2.18 ERA
Sometimes you just run into the perfect storm of SP and get run by the chainsaw.  The six pitchers average 2.43 runs per game.  The Giants averaged 2.67 runs per game, so they actually overachieved from this perspective.   And in the past week, guys we depend upon (i.e. hitters in top 5 spots, not the #8 hitter Adrianza is) hit below .750:  Aoki, Duffy, Belt, Byrd, Crawford.

So yeah, Adrianza didn't hit, and he did pretty poorly, but it wasn't his fault the team was losing.  It was many of our team's top hitters, it was some of our starting pitching, it was a collective face plant onto the ground, not all Adrianza's fault, like many clamored about with Hank.

Look at it this way:  do we normally expect Adrianza to hit well and be a cog in our offense?  No, as he's a backup guy and not expected to do well.  Then why do we expect him to be anything else when he's just backing up a position.  Sure, we could improve on him, but then we would risk losing him, and the Giants deemed losing him to be worse than not having a better backup offensively at SS.  And their decisions on the roster has been pretty good in the aggregate in the past 7-8 years, no?  No GM can cover for everything that can go wrong, the best you can do is risk mitigate with players like Blanco and Duffy.

Teams Can't Cover Every Position on the Field

And that's fallacy #2:  that not having an adequate replacement is the GM's fault.  Baseball is like most businesses:  resource constrained.  People react like the sky is falling when a backup fails, but you always need to account for the circumstances.  The circumstances here is that the Giants covered for failures/injuries at RF, SP twice, 3B, 2B, RP, CF, LF, at various times, not at the same time, so perhaps one could understand that perhaps nobody can be perfect and cover for every position on the field.

And that is a fallacy that a lot of people don't get, the consequences of whatever it is that they are espousing.  They are angry about the replacement for a starter.  But no team can have an adequate replacement at every position on the field.  You can cover a lot of them, but there is not enough talent to cover that many positions across the majors.  Heck, there is so little talent that most teams benches are short, let alone every position on the field.

On top of that, teams can't store that type of talent in the minors unless it's prospects or AAAA players who they signed to minor league contracts.  Only so much talent you can hide in the minors, as players with major league talents will not be happy toiling in the minors for you just in case you might need them at some point in the future.  Fringe major leaguers can be stashed in AAA, like Ishikawa was last season or Sanchez this season, but most prospects who might (and that's a mighty big "might") be good enough to hit OK in the majors are generally already in the majors or just starting to show that in the minors, and the intersection of those two circumstances does not happen a lot for any team, including the Giants.

Look at any team in the majors and they are all suffering from the lack of talent in one area or another.  Even the $300M Dodgers have been suffering problems with lack of talent (they have mostly been playing at or close to the .500 level for most of the season) at key positions.  Right now, they could use another good starter and some more bullpen help.  They might have come up big in the Giants series, but mostly they have been a let down.  It happens.  But even they need help that they were unable to cover via trades or internally.

It is just fans' unreasonable expectations that talent can be easily stashed somewhere to mine at some point later.  That is why the trade deadline is a key time for contenders, because other teams become the supplier of the talents that you might need, and you need to stock your farm system well enough to entice other teams to give up their proven MLB vets to you in exchange for your bag of magic beans who might become MLB ballplayers.

The 25th Man is Never the Problem

So stop hating on Adrianza already, as he's not the problem.  The problem is that losing makes for a surly fan and fans need someone to hate on to get through a bad losing patch.  They see the problem disproportionately by focusing on someone who we should rarely be counting on to come up with the big hit (though that would be great if he did, but he's not ready for that yet; and may never be, that is why he is still a prospect, he would be in AAA learning his craft if it wasn't that he has no more options left, but has been good enough in AAA to be given the chance to see what he can do).  The big hits should have been coming from Belt, Byrd, or Crawford, heck, even Posey, who while hitting beyond great (.478 BA last 7 days), only had a 42 ISO during that period too (that's Manny Burriss territory, it's that bad).  Those are the guys who are suppose to be driving in the big runs, not Adrianza, who is still an unproven prospect with potential.

And the Giants can't cover every position.  They have covered so many injuries and performance failures (or both) that they were still within 3.5 games late in August, but was just short during this last bad streak.  But guys are healing and hopefully that will be enough to get a good streak going again (though this season it has taken Pence returning to get the team going like a Triple Crown horse instead of an alsoran).

21 comments:

  1. Adrianza has been a zero at the plate, but that's only an issue because of bad luck taking down Crawford at a time where his bat was most needed.

    In reality, if the Giants fail to make the playoffs this year, there will be one reason: starting pitching. SF has the best offense among NL playoff contenders, but the worst starting pitching.

    And some blame for that does go to the front office, since this situation was predictable. We entered the season with Bumgarner and 7 question marks. They were basically hoping for improvement from a group that was far more likely to go in the other direction.

    The results were that Heston did as well as could be hoped for, looking like a decent #4-5 guy. Everyone else looked like a #5 or #6 starter. This is one of the best hitting teams the Giants have has since Bonds, yet they can't overcome a pitching disadvantage 4 out of every 5 games.

    Going into next year, worrying about the #25 guy is a waste. They need to re-sign Leake and find one more real starter (a #2-level guy). If Peavy/Cain/Heston are all in the opening day rotation, we're asking for trouble again. If Lincecum, Hudson, Pettite or Vogelsong are, it'll be time to invest in crates of hard alcohol. :)

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    1. Yes, but it was not for lack of trying. They tried to sign Lester and Shields instead of Peavy, but was not able to get it done. Lester decided to try to make history with the Cubs (ironically, if anything, he's holding them back, he's like their modern-day version of Zito). And Shields was just a puppet being manipulated by Boras, and Borass' playbook is to not negotiate until nearly spring training, at which point, teams are so desperate (at least, that's how the theory goes) that they overpay for you. Instead, he got $5M less from SD than what the Giants had offered for him. He hasn't been all that good either, but would have been better than Peavy has been, overall, and a solid starter in the rotation all season long.

      Hopefully this is a lesson for all Giants fans that it is pitching that wins for us, not hitting, as I've been trying to teach people for the past 9 seasons. People worry about hitting all the time, but hitting don't matter much when you don't got the pitching. And we only had the pitching briefly, every so often during the summer.

      Worrying about the #25 guy is a waste any season. Leake is a real #2 starter and would be good paired up with Bumgarner. He has to be a priority sign after the season (if not before the season ends). Baggarly tweeted that both sides are interested in having Leake return, but given how much interest he will draw, he most probably will go into free ageny and see what he can get.

      Assuming we can get him signed, that's Bumgarner, Leake, plus I'm hoping that they will pursue one of the top guys like Zimmerman, Price, which would then leave two spots for Cain, Peavy, and Heston to fight for.

      I understand your concern about these pitchers, and with Peavy, I assume he's injury issues each season. Heston just tired out and just need to work on extending his stamina for next season. I think Cain was just knocked out not by the surgery but that tendon strain. I think he should be fine next season, getting a full off-season to rest some as well as work out some, and next season, he will have a full spring training to get into shape, unlike this season where he got it, but then lost it rehabbing during the summer.

      Plus, I think Blackburn should be ready for his audition next season, and Beede at some point as well. And if we are lucky, Stratton too. We got a lot of young arms getting ready for us real soon, so while it would be a risk if the Giants only signed Leake for the rotation next season, I'll be real excited to see what Blackburn and Beede could do for us in the majors next season, should they get the opportunity.

      I also hope that Lincecum is signed to some sort of minor/major deal, and that he gets some bullpen work next season, and see how that goes for him. I'm excited that his Dad says that he could return to prior goodness, but I would rather see what he can do as a reliever going forward than as a starter, and if that is what he wants to do, rather than relieve for the Giants, then I'll be OK with him moving on. I think the best way to get value from him long term is to keep him in the bullpen as a super utility reliever, like we used him in the 2012 playoffs.

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  2. Adrianza has a 6.9 BB% and just a 14.7 K% while BABIPing at just .187. So yes, you are absolutely correct that he has been very unlucky in his hitting. I know in the games I have watched, I've seen him hit a lot of hard grounders right at people. Yes, he probably does not make as much hard contact as most good hitters, but nobody sustains a BABIP of .187, nobody!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your expert eyewitness of his hitting, DrB.

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  3. Baseball executives get no credit for trying, though. I'm not calling for anyone's head, but they've got the resources - they've got to do better. I understand them being gunshy since they've done so poorly on high-price FAs (especially compared to their excellent recent success with cheap FAs and in the draft). But Bumgarner-and-pray-for-four-days-of-rain isn't going to work. :)

    We're in agreement on the returning rotation guys, I think. For me, there's just too much doubt and open questions there to risk a season on their productivity. Ideally, Peavy and Cain are the #4 and #5 guys, with Heston taking long relief and ready to step in if/when either guys gets hurt or falters. Even if none of them has great years, just matching them up against other teams' #4-5 starters instead of #2-3 guys should translate to a lot of wins.

    As for Timmy, I hope they let him go. He gave us some great memories, but he carries a pressure to play him more than his performance dictates. An average no-name reliever can be unceremoniously dumped if he's terrible. As we've seen, even when Timmy is terrible, the team gives excuse after excuse and favors him to the detriment of the team.

    And I don't like his long-term prospects as a reliever. He has poor control and low velocity, a bad combination especially for a guy who will need to come in with guys on base already. At best, I see him as no better than dozens of other guys who carry no emotional baggage. At worst, I see a slow-motion trainwreck. I say wish him the best and remember the great years; don't risk an excruciating epilogue for the minimal upside of a decent middle-reliever.

    Of course, Lincecum's close to being that #25 guy, so if SF can sign 2 FA starters, I'm fine with anything they want to do with Timmy... as long he's not one of those 2 FA starters! :)

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    1. I agree completely, Josh F. The Giants should cut ties with Lincecum before sentimentality obscures good sense as to winning baseball. Cain's example shows that a player's being ostensibly healthy doesn't mean that he can return to form, unlearning all the adaptive malfunctions that he has practiced over the years to compensate for his medical condition. Lincecum can't be counted upon, and if--when--he fails to be the best option for his roster slot, he will be very hard to shed, as a lingering idol. He would also be a lot more expensive than a good number of young players whom I would expect to be better contributors than he; and the Giants will need all the dollars they can keep if they're going to go after Price or someone of that sort, and yet not vault too far above the luxury tax threshold.

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    2. I will agree to disagree regarding Lincecum. He's been among the best in the rotation before his hips and health finally gets to him, he led the team for first 8-9 weeks in ERA, was among leaders last season until late August. He still has the ability to pitch well if healthy.

      And I don't expect any deal with him to be huge, something like Vogelsong, only is a minor league deal while he rehabs then kicks in MLB contract if he is promoted, low risk deal.

      Looking over the contracts, about $47M comes off the books, while roughly $27M in raises, leaving $20M to spend relative to 2015, $25M if Aoki's option is not picked up.

      Given that, Price and Cespedes is a pipe dream that people have had. Heck, with that, keeping Lincecum is probably not going to happen, unless they trade Petit.

      Probably what will happen is they will pursue Leake, and with what money is left, they pursue a LF, maybe Aoki, maybe an upgrade.

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    3. Does not seem to be matter of gunshy. They reportedly made strong runs for Lester and Shields (I think they knew Sandoval was not returning). Lester decided he would rather make history with Cubs than support another run for title with Giants (which would be historic in another way). Shields decided that following Boras' advice to wait was better than taking the Giants offer. So, they might not get credit for trying, but that don't mean that they shouldn't.

      And Plan B almost worked. It got us to the end of August, needing a good series against LA to stay in the race. They had their A-game starters, but we were missing Panik, Pence, Pagan, plus Aoki was never the same after hit in the head, Crawford was hit by LA and put out of the rest of the series, Duffy was in the middle of his first big slump of the season in the second half of August, just before this series, and Byrd's slump began in this series.

      Still, came out of each game needing just one run to tie the game, send into extra innings, where our bullpen should have outlast their bullpen (and that's another thing, their bullpen was blowing up left and right before and after, but was aces in that series, gotta tip the cap to them for that).

      I guess I'm different in that way. Life is not either/or anymore, if this was 2009 and we still haven't won it, then perhaps I can understand your urgency/demand to do better. They have done better, history has shown that it is near impossible to repeat, and Plan B would have worked if Pence, Panik, Aoki, Crawford were not all injured and DLed for extensive periods of time. The FO was right that the team could win (look at how well they did when Pence returned to the lineup), but they could not foresee that three of their best hitters will be injured by HBP (and seriously, I'm getting to the point where I want one of our guys to send a message to other teams, I'm tired of this).

      You can't plan for every possible thing going wrong. The Giants FO, to their credit, got us to the end of August just needing to not get swept by LA to still be in the race, in spite of all these unexpected injuries.

      I do not fault them for not planning for every possibility. They covered for a lot of problems with Heston, Vogelsong, Strickland, Osich, Blanco, Duffy, Tomlinson. Then had the prospects that enabled them to trade for Leake and Byrd, both of whom have been good additions, both had been great until lately. I find it hard to blame them for not doing enough given all that has happened to them this season.

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    4. RE: "Gunshy": I know we always hear about how the Giants made good offers for Big Name X, but when they consistently aren't getting any Big Names, it strikes me as a philosophy more than a coincidence. It's not a bad philosophy when you have the horses in-house, but this year and next, that's just not the case. They now need to overpay for the right guy (easier said than done, I know), rather than save money on the pu-pu platter.

      And I definitely agree that you can't use hindsight to criticize management... but the starting rotation looked terrible to me -before- the season started. I mean, it looked terrible at the end of last year, and in the playoffs only Superbum kept it from tanking the season.

      It was totally predictable that this rotation would struggle. Everyone besides Bum projected to a mediocre or worse season. Every baseball season is about giving your team the best chance to win. With the rotation, the Giants just put their money on the green zero and spun the wheel.

      And the last couple weeks aren't why we're on the outside looking in. Every team hits rough patches. What sunk the Giants season was the season-long anchor that was being outmatched at starter in 4 of every 5 games. All those losses to bad teams and mediocre starters pile up. All those extra innings that relievers have to throw wear them down. If SF had been in 1st place when the Dodgers swept, we'd still be in good shape to make the playoffs. Instead, we were already in dire straits before the Dodgers landed their body blows. This year didn't fall apart all at once; it was a death by 1000 cuts.

      This season proves what we already knew: that 7 nickel-and-dime starters don't add up to a (top) dollar. The Giants are in a great position to grab a premier pitcher; other than center field, they don't really need to worry about position players. They can identify the starters they feel are worth it, and focus entirely on them.

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    5. I would like to see better pitching as well, I was not that happy about getting Peavy back, but he was a good alternative after not landing Lester or Shields.

      However, here's why I think the Giant FO did enough for the team to win this season. As you hit the nail on the head, the pitching has not been one to rely on for much during this season.

      However, there was one significant outlier this season. When Pence was in the starting lineup, which was not often this season, the Giants were 34-17. That means that they have been 38-50 without him in the lineup. If he had played 102 games instead of 51 and won at the same rate, while the team lost at the same rate in the remaining 37 games, the Giants right now would be 84-55, 3.5 games ahead. If they played only .588 instead in the additional 51 games, they go 30-21, good for 0.5 games behind LA right now.

      And that was with the same set of starting pitchers that you said was not enough to win with. We won fine with them when Pence (and a lot of the lineup was in there healthy) was in the lineup. Not fine at all when he and others were not in the lineup and/or injured (Pagan, Aoki, Panik, now Crawford).

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    6. While I'm doubtful "The Pence Effect would be that strong over a larger sample size, his injuries did hurt. But those unpredictable ups and downs are exactly why you have to improve everywhere you can, and not accept predictable mediocrity (or worse) anywhere.

      Pence's injuries were bad luck, but Crawford's big jump up was an unexpected boost, and Duffy and Tomlinson have been huge boons. The Giants front office deserves huge props for putting together an organization that could lose nearly their entire opening day lineup to injuries or bad play (McGehee) and still have a very good hitting and fielding club.

      But that doesn't mean they (or we) should accept a group of starters that fails to match up with any contender. The lineup (even with injuries) matched up. The defense matched up. The bullpen matched up. The starters didn't.

      This year, SF had to fill holes at 3B and LF as well as SP. Next year, as I understand it, our entire lineup is under our control. SP is THE priority. Nothing else is close.

      http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/09/2016-mlb-free-agents.html

      Some solid names on that list. Most of my comments have been critical, so I'll close this one on an optimistic note: How awesome would it be if Grienke opted out?!? :)

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    7. You and I are in agreement on Greinke! At minimum, we could drive up his price to LAD, and should he be tired of the lack of chemistry and/or managerial expertise, he might be amenable to moving up here. And if we can pair him up with Bumgarner and Leake, that's a great top of the rotation.

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    8. And he almost certainly will opt out, since it'll get him a TON more money. The big question is whether he'll immediately re-sign with LA, or look around.

      Just one more reason to root for another LA playoff collapse (like we needed another!).

      He's the one guy the Giants should consider a -big- overpay on. I mean, besides his talent level, what's the added value of ripping him away from LA? That's gotta be worth at least $5m a season alone, right?

      It's easy for me to spend $30-35m/y of someone else's money, but the Giants spent $30m this year on Lincecum + Hudson. Ow. I had more to say, but looking up those numbers hurt too much. :)

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  4. My biggest complaint about this season.Waiting 3 weeks too long to name Duffy the starter.And,waiting too long to put,Strickland,Osich,Broadway,and Tomlinson,on the 25 man roster.

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    1. There was no way to know that Duffy would be as good as he was. His history and performance in the minors did not scream that he would do what he did. Anyone who thought that they knew that Duffy would be as good as he has been is just deluding themselves. Or not keeping track of their own predictions of which prospect will succeed or fail. The Giants were fortunate that he rose above all that to do what he did this season.

      But here's where I would agree with you on this. Not that it was waiting 3 weeks to name Duffy the starter, but rather that the Giants let the player dictate the DL situation. I still think McGehee would have been OK with us had he been healthy. He should have been DLed immediately when he suffered such a tremendous leg bruise (front and back according to reporters, and that was late in April, much later than the injury), putting Duffy into the 3B situation. He would have been the starter earlier, to your point, but McGehee could have healed and perhaps returned to stay with the roster. With all the injuries to the infield, we could have used a McGehee who was performing to his career numbers.

      And the same with Tomlinson. Nobody could know based on his career that he would outperform like he did.

      Strickland and Osich, I can agree on, they were very good, but that's how it goes when you have a very talented bullpen (historically) and you don't know whether he's finally declining or if it is just random BABIP luck or random seasonal luck. Relievers have wide variance in performances, even if they are just as talented as they were last season, and I'll trust in Bochy and Righetti to know the difference. Plus, my understanding is that the Giants were teaching Strickland on how to avoid the nasty disasters he had in the playoffs last season, so I would think they would know when he was ready to come up better than any fan would.

      Broadway, I don't see how that makes any sense as a comment, which makes me doubt your abilities to analyst prospect futures. He has a 5.02 ERA and he's been rocked in a large number of outings. He has a high walk rate and, given his AAA results, low K/9, leading to a below average K/BB. Perhaps it would have been better to have Strickland and Osich up sooner, but, showing the fragile chain to the end game, Broadway would have wasted those efforts by giving up all the runs he has so far.

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  5. 1, Teams do lose with the #25 guy. You are looking at the parts (the fallacy of division) and not the whole. Simply put, the team wins, the team loses. When the team is weaker because the 25th guy is substandard, and yet is occupying a starting role because of injuries to and/or resting other high quality starters, the probability of losing increases.

    Just like when you start your worst pitcher and not your best. Only with pitching, it's easier to see since the quality of the pitcher has a far stronger effect on the W/L probabilities.

    So while you can't directly finger-point, you make a team full of Adrianza's and not even the Cardinals with their league best ERA is going to do a lot of winning.

    2. BABIP has SOME luck to it. However, people really don't understand that BABIP has a range of values very similar to a bell curve and, for some reason, the magic number of .300 is always used as an argument for BABIP bad-luck or good-luck when it comes to the individual batter.

    That is a classic fallacy of composition. Just because league AVERAGE (mean) is .300 doesn't mean Adriazna is getting 86+ BABIP bad luck with his current .214 BABIP. Rather his current MLB life-time of 260ish could be what he is. Or perhaps he is a .300 BABIP guy. Or perhaps that .303 BABIP from last year (and it's .237 average and .279 OBP) were flukes and what we're seeing is the true Adrianza.

    But one you can't say with even shred of certainty is that his BABIP is .084 under what it should be. Simply because BABIP .300 is the mean (with a .031 standard deviation) of a wide range of values that (almost all) fall, career wise, between .250 and .350.

    And, in any season, 85% of the players are going to fall between .331 and .269. While 96% will fall between .362 and .238. Which leaves 2% over and 2% under. And, right now, Adrianza is part of the 2% under.

    So why is that?

    3. What you hit matters. There is a large difference in BABIP on different batted balls. Line drives have a BABIP of about .730, while ground balls have a BABIP of about .240. Outfield fly balls have a BABIP of about .170, while infield pop-ups have a BABIP of only .020.

    If you can't hit solid line drives, because you have no power, your BABIP is going to take a hit. And Adrianza only hits 20% line drives. He hits a lot of fly-balls, including 20% infield fly balls. He hits a lot of grounders - 52%.

    That's not 'bad luck. That's bad hitting.

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    1. 1. What you are missing is that any team so depleted that you are DEPENDING on your 25th guy to win, they need regular starters, not 25th men, to win. Sure, the 25th man will play, but if you are depending on him, that means that the rest of the lineup is pretty bad too, because one bad batter can be absorbed into most competitive lineups and still produce. Just look at the composition of any good offensive team, by lineup position, all teams are bad in the 8th spot, and frequently in the 7th spot as well. A team can handle a bad hitter without becoming a poor offense.

      Or put another way, what you are suggesting is that any team that don't have a 25th guy who can step into a lineup and hit like a regular isn't trying hard enough, based on your point about a team of Adrianza's. All teams have weak 25th men. Talent is not that widely available. You could force the issue late in the season by trading for a good guy and forcing him on the bench, but then you end up trading away a good prospect just in case your guy goes down and when your guy returns (hopefully), that guy won't be happy sitting down on the bench being the 25th man and be a cancer festering on your bench. Players are people, and players are expensive.

      And sometimes, the situation is that Adrianza is a prospect who has some potential that the Giants have liked (I like him because he's shown good potential for hitting in the minors, especially AAA, with good contact rate) and you want to keep him around since you think he might develop. It appears that you disagree, that it would be better to get rid of him and get a better backup.

      I would point out that while his hitting has not been up to par, his defense has, his DRS has him at a 29 DRS seasonal rate, or roughly +3 wins just due to his defense. His UZR/150 is at 34.7, that's almost 4 wins over a season due to his defense. Arias, for example, might have hit better, but his defense is horrible at SS, Adrianza adds a lot of value defensively, which you didn't mention at all.

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    2. 2. You are right that people don't have a proper understanding of BABIP. The luck is really the normal curve that represents the normal fluctuations that happens to a hitter's BABIP around his talent mean.

      And while the MLB has a .300 mean, each player's talent mean is distributed above and below that mean as well. Some only have .275 BABIP and others have .325 BABIP (typically speedsters and great hitters). So you are right about that.

      But even here you are missing things. You went right by the fact that his current BABIP is .214 for the season, but his career BABIP .260, so that could be his mean and he would then regress up from that if so.

      And if you want to be extremely precise, and it seems that you do, the fact is that even a regular starter needs 3 full years worth of PA's, roughly 2,000 PA, for his BABIP to normalize enough to have a good idea what a hitter's BABIP is likely to be closer to.

      Adrianza currently has 243 PA, so yeah, nobody knows what it is, not even you, but all DrB noted (and he never once used any particular mean in his statement) was that nobody is a .187 BABIP hitter (his BABIP at that time). You can agree or disagree with that statement, but were off base about the .300, DrB is just of the opinion that someone who hits as well as he has seen Adrianza hit is not that bad a hitter.

      Here's what I do know: hitters who have a good contact rate and also good walk/K ratio tend to reach .300 BA more often than guys who strike out a lot and/or don't walk all that much. And he has shown some ability to do that in AAA, even though he's 2-3 years younger than the average player there. You don't reach .300 BA unless you have a really good BABIP, so that suggests that he has some ability to do that.

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    3. 3. And I agree, he has not been all that great. I'll agree that it has been frustrating to watch him struggle.

      I would note that perhaps Giants fans are getting spoiled by Posey, Panik, Duffy, Tomlinson, and perhaps should remember Belt's and Crawford's struggles to get to a good point in their hitting, and they did it playing full-time, not part-time like Adrianza.

      Yet, his walk rate is nearly 10% this season, and that seems to be the mark of a good hitter, one who can walk at least 10% of the time. And even in his recent really bad stretch of hitting, once he took over SS for Crawford for the most part, about a month's worth of suck, he only had 5 K's in 43 AB, a good 88% contact rate. I would also note that few people noticed that Panik, Duffy, and Susac, last season, needed about a month's worth of regular MLB hitting to figure things out, they were down in the .500 OPS range that Adrianza has been in. It takes time for prospects to find their footing in the majors, and some players take more time.

      A good contact rate with a good walk rate is a good recipe for a prospect to prosper in the majors. It is not a guarantee, but it is not something to throw in the wayside just because you are unhappy about losing so many games.

      The fact is, Adrianza is not responsible solely for the Giants losing, say, 2-1 so many times. That's been my point, low offense is not the 25th man's fault, it is the fault of the middle of the lineup guys who weren't carrying their weight during those games.

      Picking on the 25th man is avoiding the uncomfortable fact that if a team is scoring only 2 runs per game, it is their middle of the lineup hitters who were screwing up, not their 25th man.

      And this 25th man shows a lot of talent. Besides being a superlative defensive SS, better than Crawford (Adrelton Simmons has averaged 31 DRA seasonal rate), he has shown some offensive abilities that are valuable in a hitter, contact rate, walk rate, walk to K ratio. He has also shown some speed in the minors that with training he should be able to steal in the majors. Duffy has shown the value of speed on the bases.

      And coming off cold off the bench is not something he excels at. But neither do veterans. When he has been giving the chance to start regularly over a number of weeks, he has hit much better than his overall numbers. Over 700 OPS last year, over 700 OPS this year when he got to start at 2B for a while. And even in this bad stretch while starting at SS, as noted above, he didn't strike out that much, while walking a lot. Even good hitters have ups and downs. When I got time, I'll sum up all his hitting when he's the regular starter at a position, and you'll see what I'm talking about.

      Delete
  6. Need to correct 1 number. And explain a bit more.

    Adrianza is only hitting .14% line drives for the season. The 20% is his career number.

    HIs current season flyball is 33%. His infield fly balls rate is 20%, Infield fly-ball is a part of fly-ball. So, his total fly balls are one-third of his contacts. Of which, about 2/3rds don't even make it out if the infield.

    Like I said, bad hitting, not bad luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here's something you did not note, given all your statements about BABIP and hard hit balls: LD% varies widely year to year. Maybe it was the year, maybe it was the water. Hard contact is a key ingredient to good BABIP, but LD% varies a lot year to year. Add to that the fact that he only has 243 PA, we don't really know yet what he is, only what he has been doing.

      And see how things change so quickly. BB-Ref has him at 19% LD for the season, much higher than the 14% you listed for him (and his career number is 22%, which to your point, is much less than most major leaguers, where the number is apparently 25% now; that seems high to me though, for example, Buster's bio notes 21% as the MLB average; OK, Panik's show 25% too, appears to be a recent rise in LD%). And he was at 27% last season, which was above average. Which is his true talent level? I don't know, but neither do you. LD% varies a lot year to year.

      Delete

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