Thursday, April 30, 2009

Poor Defense Costs Padres 2nd Straight Game

Thursday April 30, 2009

There is an old adage. Pitching and Defense wins championships.

The Padres were not expected to win the World Series because of a thin pitching staff, but so far it has been poor defensive play that has let the Padres down more often than not.

Tonight it was poor outfield defense on a shallow pop fly that allowed the tying run to cross the plate and an error by catcher Nick Hundley that allowed the winning run to score for the Dodgers in the 7th.

Yesterday it was an error by Edgar Gonzalez that led to a breakout 6th inning for the Rockies.

In San Francisco a fly ball misplayed by Chase Headley in the tenth inning of a scoreless game allowed the winning run to score.

In Philadelphia Jody Gerut breaks back on a lightly hit ball allowing it to drop for a single by Ryan Howard which is followed by a 2 run home run by Raul Ibanez for a 5-4 Phillie win. I am not saying that Ibanez would not have hit a home run in that case, but it would have been the tying and not winning run.

3 games lost by poor defensive play and another chance lost. In fact every close game the Padres have lost this season have been impacted more by poor defense than any lapse on the part of the pitching.

In my opinion is that just one change would improve this Padre team's defense immensely and give the team a better run differential at the same time and it is a subtraction.

Trade Kevin Kouzmanoff for a slick fielding SS.

Yes I know he plays pretty good defense, but Chase Headley also plays pretty good defense at 3B and he plays awful defense in LF.

Headley defense will cost the Padres 16 runs per 150 games according to his UZR/150 of -16.0. Headley's bat adds 5.4 runs to the team compared to a replacement level player in LF - in other words a minor league replacement.

Scott Hairston's defense is only slightly better than average at +1.7 UZR/150 in the OF, but his bat is also a + at 6.7 runs.

While Luis Rodriguez is average or slightly below average with the bat, he is a poor defensive player at SS with a -7.5 UZR/150 last season and -12.2 UZR/150 at SS for his career.

Even a poor hitting player with a great glove and a strong arm at SS would improve the Padres team run differential immensely.

Utility player Chris Burke is a ++ defender at 2nd base with a career UZR/150 of +12.3, but has only started 9 games in his ML career at SS.

So KT, now the ball is in your court.

I have had my say. Now what do you think?

The Poster Child for the Coors Field Effect

Thursday April 30, 2009

The Poster Boy for the Coors Field Effect

Matt Holliday was considered one of the top hitters in baseball at the end of 2008.

He was coming off his 2nd straight MVP type year hitting .321/.409/.538/.947 with 25 home runs while playing for the Colorado Rockies.

For his 5 year career with the Rockies he was hitting an astounding .319/.386/.552/.938

Today he hit his first home run of the 2009 campaign. Something Changed. What was it?

Answer - The place he plays his home games!

In the off season Holliday was traded to the Oakland A's who play their home games in the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

To date he is hitting .243/.293/.329/.622 in an A's uniform.

You may be saying its early, he will come around. You are probably right, Holliday will hit better as the season goes along.

The question is how much better?

The answer to that question lies in his home and away splits as a Rockie.

At Coors Field Holliday was a Pujols-like player, a baseball god in plum colored hose, hitting .353/.419/.638/1.057 with one hr every 16.54 at bats.

On the road as a Rockie, Holliday was more like a David Eckstein hitting a workmanlike .280/.346/.451/.797 with one hr every 30.39 at bats.

The Coors effect was much in evidence.

So what can we look forward to Holliday improving to in 2009?

Well, his road numbers for his career are probably a great guide. The ballparks in the AL West are very similar overall to the ballparks he played in on the road in the NL West overall.

So, if you had to project today what Holliday's numbers at seasons end will look like I would go with .280/.340-.350/.450/.790-.800 with 19-20 home runs.

As a Rockie we heard a lot of people on ESPN and Fox Sports saying Holliday would be in line for a $20 million per year contract when he is eligible for free agency following the 2009 season. Just about every sports magazine was singing his praises.

What will they be saying and writing after this season is over?
Is a .280 hitter with mediocre power really worth $20 million?

Not in my book.

In my eyes Holliday is the poster child for the Coors Field Effect.

I have had my say. Now what do you think?

Is Matt Holliday the Poster Child for the Coors Field Effect?