Thursday, January 28, 2010

First Base

Whether Aubrey Lewis Huff is an upgrade over the options facing the Giants before his signing is moot at this point. He's our guy and we're stickin' with him. So--what are we getting and how does he stack up against the other mitt-men in the division? Let's take a look at his 10-season, 1322-game career numbers:

.282/.340/.472, (203 HR) 113 OPS+

How do the statheads project the 33-year old's 2010 season?

Bill James: .267/.334/.445, (20 HR) 107 wRC+***
CHONE: .263/.327/.438, (19 HR) 103 wRC+

Huff had a great year in 2008 and fell off a cliff in 2009. It's a familiar refrain and not worth re-hashing. This is a "quick-and-dirty" survey just to get the talk started. (I threw in the HR numbers because we all know the G-men are a bit short in the Dingerz Dept.)

Around the West, the class of the division is clearly Adrian Gonzalez in San Diego. This guy had a .958 OPS last year (166 OPS+, 6.3 WAR) and his career line is .281/.362/.506. He's a beast, he turns 30 in May, and there is no reason to expect him not to be one of the best players in the NL this season. Good thing he's on a weak squad! James Loney, the youngster (26 in May) in LA is seen as something of a disappointment due to his lack of power (.399 SLG in 2009). His career line is .295/.354/.451 with a 112 OPS+, and he projects a 115-116 wRC+. We all know Dodger fans are whiners and crybabies--if they don't like Loney they can always ship him our way. Todd Helton in Colorado is a genuine star, with a career .994 OPS (140 OPS+), but after 13 seasons of wear-and-tear there is some concern about the 36-year old's continued productivity. The projections say he's still a 3.0 WAR, 130 wRC+ player, which would be quite impressive. The Rockies would be smart to rest him a lot and pencil in a capable backup now and then. The Diamondbacks have a young slugger named Brandon Allen at AAA, but they decided they needed Adam LaRoche to man the bag for 2010. Giants fans thought we'd be seeing this fellow, but he is going to a park better suited to his power. He's an .834 OPS (116 OPS+) lifetime (6 seasons, 838 games). Bill James thinks the 29-year old will produce a 122 wRC+, but CHONE disagrees and only rates him at 110.

There you have it, mates. What are your thoughts on first base for 2010?

***wRC+ is scaled similarly to OPS+ (see this blog post for a nice primer on offensive stats), so 100 is "average."


Bob said...

Randy Winn is now a Yankee. Despite his mediocrity I liked him. Allegedly this means Johnny Damon is now available. Wouldn't he look swell in orange and black?

M.C. O'Connor said...

I was "no way" on Damon a while back, but he can be had very cheaply these days. Scott Boras, it seems, bluffed too often with a bad hand. That being said, we've got enough old guys.

Bob said...

Johnny Damon is old? He didn't use to be.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Just turned 36.

Don't get me wrong, Damon is a good player. His power will be hurt quite a bit by moving to our park, but his OBA skills are pretty solid. It's just that OF is the only place where one of our youngsters has a chance. DeRosa and Rowand take two spots already!

JC Parsons said...

With our luck, Damon will end up costing (someone else) less than DeRosa and be much more productive. Plus he would probably be a pretty good leadoff hitter, something it will soon be clear we desperately need. Come on, are we really suppose to buy Rowand in that role? Oh well.

Huff is a cool name. HUFF. Cool. Yeah, so he's not likely to make the NL All-Star team. I get that, but still I see him as a substantial offensive upgrade over Travis.

Ron said...

Abandoning a young Travis after a half-season opportunity is even more egregious than abandoning Garko after a one month opportunity. I still believe in the possibility that Travis can win his job. He wasn't a total failure considering that he is a young hitter, & he is an awesome 1B. Huff can play somewhere else, if necessary. Let's face it - by 2011, Huff will be a John Van der Wal / Mark Sweeney type. Why just hand him a starting job in 2010 without making him earn it? Oh, I forgot - we always over-value old guys past their prime.

I agree with Jon's Damon comment & his comment about the 'Rowand as lead-off hitter' BS. He is getting pigeon-holed there only because he is such a failure everywhere else in the lineup (what a great reason). In no way, shape, or form does he fit any conventional mold of a lead-off hitter. How many pitches per at-bat does he face, anyway?

In so many ways, Chone Figgins would have been an ideal signing for us. Damon would have been a reasonable alternative. Now, we claim that we are done with making any moves, so I guess he is headed elsewhere.

Until Sabean & Bochy are gone, this team is going nowhere. Once again, they have made a complete cock-up of the off-season, letting great opportunities to improve the team wander by, while concentrating on over-the-hill puds who belong on the Pirates or Royals (who we are resembling more & more every day, both in quality & in operational style).

If Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, & Bumgarner finish 1-2-3-4 in the Cy Young voting, we might have a chance. If Zito can manage to be pretty good, then we could have a 1969 Mets thing on our hands. That is our best hope - I guess that I'll go with that. Get ready for many, many 1-0, 2-1, & 2-0 games. I like pitchers' duels anyway - much more tension, every pitch carries so much weight.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Huff is old, and old guys get hurt, so Ishi will get some playing time--assuming he makes the club. It is hard to keep a backup 1B on a 25-man roster.

Damon would be a good leadoff hitter, and his speed would make him useful in the OF. Who does he bump?

Hoping for improbabilities like the 1969 Mets is not my style any more. I spent my youth wishing a ring for the Giants ("if Terry Whitfield hit 20 HRs next year, and Ed Halicki . . ." you get the idea).

Screw that. Get the best fucking players. On the bright side, we have at least one.