Monday, July 11, 2005

Strength In Numbers

With the break upon us, it's time to look at the stats. As I did a few months ago, I'll compare each position to league average.

As we get closer to the trading deadline, it's particularly useful. Instead of comparing apples to oranges, we're comparing quinces to quinces -- a much more useful comparison! And it shows where the team could most benefit from upgrades. (Hint: It's not Preston Wilson!)

I've included stats for anyone who had 20 or more ABs at a particular position.

One note as you look at the numbers. RFK, as we know, is an EXTREME pitchers' park and you need to eyeball the numbers and make an adjustment in your head as you're looking at them.

ESPN has some rough park factors up. Mid-season factors are subject to a lot of random variation (such as Guillen's 17-1 home-road homer split) and aren't perfect, but they do quantify what we've observed.

SHORTSTOP
AB AVE OBP SLG
NL Average .257 .307 .371
Cristian Guzman 254 .201 .239 .291
Jamey Carroll 65 .215 .239 .231

The black hole of the lineup. But we already knew that. What's amazing about those numbers is that Captain Chaste is actually proving to be a worse hitter!

Obviously, this is the area that could be the biggest upgrade. But, as we've discussed before, it's also one of the least likely to be changed.

I asked before: Can Livan play shortstop?

RIGHT FIELD
AB AVE OBP SLG
NL Average .268 .351 .458
Jose Guillen 311 .305 .358 .537
Ryan Church 21 .524 .565 .619

The Ryan Church numbers show the folly of trusting a small sample size!

The Jose Guillen numbers show that he's a freakin' stud. Not only is he out-producing the average RFer, his numbers are being deflated by the park. He's a better hitter than he looks.

Despite the self-centeredness, he's clearly a pro on the field.

LEFT FIELD
AB AVE OBP SLG
NL Average .271 .344 .458
Marlon Byrd 102 .255 .319 .324
Ryan Church 91 .297 .347 .593
Terrmel Sledge 32 .250 .306 .344
Brad Wilkerson 26 .154 .250 .269
Jeff Hammonds 24 .167 .167 .208

You didn't realize that Marlon Byrd was that bad, did you?

Left Field is supposed to be a position of strength. With Byrd (and most anyone else) in the lineup, it's a marked weakness.

But when Church is healthy, he shows the shortsightedness of a Wilson trade. When you factor in park, Church is vastly out producing the average NL left fielder.

So why are we trying to dump him?

CENTER FIELD
AB AVE OBP SLG
NL Average .270 .339 .438
Brad Wilkerson 280 .286 .390 .457
Ryan Church 36 .306 .366 .472

Wilkersons' power isn't what it has been in the past, but that on-base percentage is incredible. He doesn't have the speed of the traditional lead-off hitter (who aren't as common as most people would have you believe anyway), but his constant on-base presence more than makes up for it.

With such a positional advantage, strikeouts be damned.

It also shows that if the team does go through with a planned switch of Wilkerson with Church/Byrd, that Wilkerson will hold his own in left, too.

CATCHER
AB AVE OBP SLG
NL Average .245 .307 .377
Brian Schneider 225 .262 .320 .413
Gary Bennett 86 .244 .295 .337

Nats Blog pimped Schneider for the All-Star game. Given his hot month and these numbers, it's an excellent argument.

He had a rough start to the season, but his few hits always seemed to be big hits. Over the last two months, he's added in the little hits on top of the big hits, such as his homer against the Cubs.

Factor in his defense and durability (which worries me a little in the hot, humid second half) and it's not implausible to make an argument that he's one of the two or three best catchers in the league.

Gary Bennett has crawled back under the rock from which backup catchers fester and stink.

THIRD BASE
AB AVE OBP SLG
NL Average .275 .349 .445
Vinny Castilla 299 .254 .331 .398

Yeesh.

Factor in the park, and it's not as ugly.

Factor in the spectacular defense on what seems to be a pebbly and rough infield, and it's not as ugly.

But still, I get the feeling that we need to do better.

SECOND BASE
AB AVE OBP SLG
NL Average .277 .345 .412
Jose Vidro 125 .288 .368 .480
Jamey Carroll 99 .253 .333 .283
Junior Spivey 76 .224 .333 .395

TGVB!

Thank God Vidro's back!

The Carroll numbers show the necessity of the Spivey acquisition. (The cost of the trade is a different discussion, but something simply had to be done.)

Spivey had a low average, but performed decently despite the lack of hits.

FIRST BASE 
AB AVE OBP SLG
NL Average .285 .365 .480
Nick Johnson 256 .320 .444 .508
Carlos Baerga 33 .273 .294 .394
Wil Cordero 25 .200 .241 .280

First base is a down position in the league. Nick Johnson, while not in the Pujols class, was clearly the cog of the offense.

Baerga and Cordero, especially, are like a broken cotter pin on the low-rent county fair Ferris Wheel.

PITCHERS
AB AVE OBP SLG
NL Average .133 .161 .168
Nationals Ps 169 .160 .165 .201

Nyeah-Nyeah! Our pitchers hit better than yours!

PINCH HITTERS
AB AVE OBP SLG
NL Average .248 .323 .371
Carlos Baerga 25 .280 .379 .280
Tony Blanco 19 .222 .263 .278
Overall 112 .250 .344 .313

We don't have power on the bench, but our hitters are about average in continuing rallies.