Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Bucky Writeup in Baseball HQ 

This subscriber-only piece appeared in today's AL Marketwatch at Ron Shandler's invaluable BaseballHQ site. It shows that the smart money view of Bucky coincides nicely with that of Bucky fans everywhere. FREE BUCKY!

Jacobsen's big 2004,injury collide with SEA acquisition offseason...
Recalled by SEA shortly after the 2004 All-Star break, 29-year-old Bucky Jacobsen (DH-1B, SEA) mashed his way into the starting lineup (.275/.335/.500 with 9 HRs) and had been receiving regular playing for almost a month by early September. Unfortunately, this is where Jacobsen’s 2004 his season ended, prematurely due to knee surgery from which he continues to rehab. Jacobsen’s recovery time and SEA’s big off-season with respect to free agent acquisitions now clouds his 2005 outlook. In fact, this past weekend, SEA GM Bill Bavasi suggested that Jacobsen isn’t guaranteed a spot on the MLB bench to begin the season. For some clues as to what we might expect, a look Jacobsen’s recent performance is instructive:

Year-LVL       AB   HR   bb%   ct%    Eye    OBP    SLG
======== === == === === ==== ==== ====
2002-MLE 300 10 7% 79% 0.35 .252 .350
2003-MLE 447 23 9% 76% 0.41 .295 .462
2004-AAA 292 26 15% 70% 0.57 .422 .661
2004-MLB 160 9 8% 71% 0.30 .335 .500

As HQ analyst Mike Dranchak pointed out last season, these number show remarkable growth in both patience and power, all of which held up pretty well during Jacobsen’s first stint in the majors. At age 29, Jacobsen appeared ready to become a productive MLB hitter for the foreseeable future, until his injury. And unfortunately for him, SEA has had a big acquisition off-season, acquiring 1B Richie Sexson to take over at 1B and Adrian Beltre at 3B, leaving few ABs available. Although SEA remains a roster-in-progress as pitchers and catchers are about to report, a healthy Jacobsen’s biggest competition for DH ABs appears to come from players with whom SEA has long-term contracts: Raul Ibanez and Scott Spiezio. A comparison of how these three hitters fared against LHP last season is instructive:

2004-vs-LHP   AB    BA   OPB    SLG    HR
Jacobsen 50 .340 .400 .640 4
Ibanez 146 .295 .342 .438 4
Spiezio 74 .203 .263 .297 1

A small sample size to be sure, but it suggests that Jacobsen is ready to feast on MLB LHPs, and while his overall numbers suggest that he deserves at least the opportunity for some full-time play at some point in the future, SEA would be well advised now to create a roster situation in which Jacobsen could at least receive the majority of these RH DH opportunities. If this doesn’t happen immediately, Jacobsen should remain on your radar for later in the season.

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