FanPost

Early Weekend 6-pack (6/11/09)

 

Adam's in Georgia.  What are you going to do?

 

 

1.  Where does DeRo go? 

When Droobs went down (it’s ok, I can talk about it now), I thought we’d see a regular diet of Jhonny at SS and DeRosa at 3rd.  Instead, we’ve seen DeRosa placed all over the field, and now we’ve even seen Valbuena at SS three times. 

                        DeRo               JhP                    Carroll             Buena 

June 3              RF                   SS                    3B                   2B

June 4              DH                  SS                    3B                   2B

June 5              3B                   SS

June 6              RF                   SS                    3B                   2B

June 7              3B                                             2B                   SS                                           

June 9              LF                                           3B                   SS

June 10            LF                   3B                   2B                   SS

June 11            3B                   SS                                            2B

As for Jhonny, well, it’s clear that Wedge isn’t too caught up in Jhonny’s request for stability.  And is there any chance that the team (Wedge? Shapiro?) believes that Valbuena is the better defender than Jhonny at SS? (note: indians.mlb.com got the scoop on me here today.)  Meanwhile, DeRosa has become the SuperSub that we always wanted Blake to be, although Grady’s injury probably has a little to do with that. 

 

2.  No more, please

            From day one in the 2009 season, I keep seeing the Indians lineup as two parts: the tremendous fun and potential of Sizemore, Cabrera, Choo, Hafner, Martinez, and the mismash of mediocrity that follows with the righties: Peralta, Garko, DeRosa, Francisco, Shoppach.  Sure, if good Jhonny were around, that would be unfair. I posed this question in a recent game-thread: how do you rank our right-handed hitters, without regard to defense or position? 

Here’s how PECOTA ranked them going into the season:

Shoppach        .324     .469     .793    

DeRosa           .355     .414     .769    

Francisco         .329     .425     .754    

Garko              .333     .420     .753    

Peralta             .328     .425     .753    

In the game thread, the responses generally had Shoppach near the bottom and Peralta at the top.  Regardless, once position is taken into account, Shoppach and Peralta are the best players.  You can also see why there is such much apathy in these parts toward Garko, who has no defensive value.  But of course, Shoppach and Peralta are struggling the most this year:

Shoppach        .331     .363     .694

DeRosa           .332     .445     .777

Francisco         .324     .406     .730

Garko              .353     .419     .772

Peralta             .341     .333     .674

Sorry if I’ve said this too often recently, but Peralta’s excellent season is fading into the past, and if he’s not at SS, he’s headed toward becoming a non-asset.  Garko’s slightly above his projection, but not enough to break out of his defensive hole.  And Shoppach is performing as a backup catcher, but I still believe the potential to be a plus player is there. 

 

 

 

3.  Tastes like burning

Everyone has surely seen the 2009 Nick Weglarz turnaround from an early slump (one that convinced him to shave his head, and then continued on for another couple of weeks).  He woke up on May 1, and decided to make a bat out of a tree felled by lightning.  Hits, and even homers, come and go, but it’s nice to see a prospect’s control of the strike zone improve over the season.  Weglarz went from a BB/K ratio of 0.53 in April to 0.96 in May/June.  Checking in on all of our major hitting prospects progress (except for those either injured on in the majors for long stretches), there were a few similar stories:

                        April BB/K                 May/June BB/K

Brantley          0.50                             1.06

Mills                0.17                             0.31

Abreu              0.07                             0.20

Now, these are all over the map.  Brantley, like Wegz, just returned to the level that makes him an excellent prospect in the first place.  Abner Abreu, who is younger than most of our ‘09 draft picks, went from having no clue at the plate whatsoever, to maybe-kinda-sorta-starting to understand the idea.  Yeah, I’m being optimistic, but it looks like learning.  And Santana, Chisenhall, Rivero, and Cid all saw small improvements in their rates.  The only ones who went down were the post-college duo of Phelps and Fedroff.

 

4.  Tweeners

And what of Fedroff?  Is he the classic tweener?  Without enough power for a corner or enough defense for center?  That usually results in reserve OF or AAA status.  He just hasn’t shown any power yet.  Just for fun, let’s compare him to this year’s 2nd round pick, Jason Kipnis, who also had the word "tweener" on his profile.  Here are each of their combined age 20 and 21 seasons, both at big time NCAA programs:

 

Player Name

Bavg

Obp

Slg

AB

2B

3B

HR

SB

CS

BB

SO

Tim Fedroff

0.379

0.437

0.581

494

29

10

17

19

5

54

54

Jason Kipnis

0.361

0.475

0.663

341

21

11

20

35

5

69

63

Similar types of players?  Maybe, but Kipnis showed better power and better speed, with a higher walk and strikeout rate.  Just about better all-around.  And Kipnis continued his growth in 2009:

Player Name

Bavg

Obp

Slg

AB

2B

3B

HR

SB

CS

BB

SO

Jason Kipnis

0.385

0.496

0.729

221

20

4

16

26

4

48

30

 

2061788_medium

via grfx.cstv.com


Hopefully he'll move fast.  Of course, these are ping stats, and with a home park in Arizona.  (On a slightly related note, here’s a Stark-type trivia question: Which MLB ballpark is at the 2nd highest altitude?)The non-trivial question is whether Kipnis can remain at CF, and Antonetti suggested during the June 10 game that Indians believe that he can.

 

 

5.  One number

Here’s one of my favorite numbers on the season so far: 26.4%.  That’s the line drive percentage for a minor leaguer named Andy Marte.  Marte plays third base, and was actually a piece of the Kelly Shoppach-Coco Crisp trade.  He’s had some struggles since then, but is smoking the ball this year, and that line drive rate is far above anything he’s done previously.  Is it possible, at 25, that Marte has learned a new approach?  I would love to see his spray charts, because it seems like he’s going to right more, but the 2009 charts are not available as far as I know.  On the other hand, I’d like him to take a walk this month.

 

 

 

6.  Lightning Rod

Look, DeRosa helps the team, but if he’s traded, we patch over with a little more of Garko, Peralta, and Shoppach.  (And maybe LaPorta.)  But if Pavano goes, there is a huge step down to his replacement.  I’m not sure Westbrook’s return solves that either, because there already is a hole or two with Jake’s name on it. 

It’s Pavano.  When we trade Pavano, we’re done with 2009.  There’s a ton of electronic ink still to be spent on the question of when.  Every day, a few more people are going to jump from the "Let’s play a little bit longer" pile to the "Ready to trade Pavano pile."  I’ll be honest, I’m ready to hold onto him until the last day of the trading deadline, because I’m a goofy optimist, and I don’t want the season to end until it has to.  More than that, I’m not convinced that there’s that much to be gained by trading him a couple of weeks early.  Yes, it’s a couple of extra starts.  But he’s not a Sabathia, a sure thing that dramatically improves any team.  I think teams will want to wait as long as possible to evaluate their chances (and Pavano), and we’ll do fine at last call with desperate souls. 

 

Pavano will most likely go, as will DeRosa, and they will have made their marks

But let's play a little bit longer.

 

 And since this may be my only EW6P ever, it has to be Fat Tire.  Sure, there are other rare or quirky choices out there, but if you were given the choice of one current Indian, all things considered, it would have to be Victor, right?  It's the same thing here.

2374378769_7f95117742_medium

via Colorado

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