Friday, August 03, 2007

Fanalytics Take on the Adam Jones Callup 

From Ron Shandler at the excellent Baseball HQ, comes one unbiased "fanalytical" opinion on what the callup of Adam Jones means.

Jones call-up threatens Ibanez’ playing time...When rumors first circulated regarding SEA uber-prospect Adam Jones’s (OF, SEA) MLB call-up shortly after the All-Star break, the conventional thinking was that the move would take playing time away from punchless Jose Vidro (DH, SEA). But while Vidro no longer hits for power, his .306 BA, .371 OBP and 91% ct% serves the #2 slot in the Mariner lineup well. Which is more than can be said for Raul Ibanez (OF, SEA) in the middle of the lineup these days.

Year AB BA xBA bb% ct% Eye PX HR OPS
==== === === === === === ==== === == ===
2005 614 .280 .284 10% 84% 0.57 98 20 791
2006 626 .289 .286 9% 82% 0.73 132 32 872
2007 364 .254 .255 8% 84% 0.51 94 6 701
Last 31 99 .192 .212 7% 77% 0.35 78 0 525

It’s clear now from the numbers two-thirds of the way through 2007 that Ibanez’ 2006 was a serious aberration, and that unless he's hiding an injury, he no even longer measures up to his 2005 performance. Both his Eye and power have declined, and his xBA along with a 29% h% suggests that his 2007 hasn’t been a product of bad luck. Thanks to Vidro’s lack of pop, and Richie Sexson’s (1B, SEA) sub-Mendoza-line performance, Ibanez may not take a permanent seat on the bench. But judging from the past month, he’s likely going to be there more often, and there’s nothing in his performance to-date that suggests that anyone should be too optimistic for a turnaround.

BaseballHQ analysis also thinks that Richie Sexson has been fairly unlucky on his hit rate, and while the power indicators have dropped a little, his BA should rebound.

And their last update on Jose Vidro...
7/15/2007 - Despite reports that he may soon be replaced, Vidro continues in lineup...Jose Vidro(DH, SEA) continues to play regularly despite a widely circulated report published in a Seattle newspaper during the All-Star break that he would soon be out of a starting role. Our concern here is the extent of Vidro's value, and whether his performance is likely to allow him to maintain his current role. To that end, Vidro's stats entering Saturday's play are displayed below:

=== == == == === === === === ===
305 44 89 3 26 292 357 354 711

Clearly, Vidro's surface numbers are not impressive, especially for a DH, a position occupied on most AL teams by a power bat. Vidro appears a bit of an anomaly for the position, with his meager three HR in 305 AB's. The Slugging Percentage is particularly low also. Let's examine the BPI's to enlighten the discussion:

BPIs: bb% ct% h% Eye PX SX xBA GB/LD/FB
=== === == ==== == == === ========
2005: 9% 90% 29% 1.03 92 47 315 44/25/31
2006: 8% 90% 31% 0.85 65 45 282 46/22/32
2007: 9% 91% 31% 1.19 40 33 226 53/17/30

While Vidro continues to maintain excellent strike-zone knowledge, and the ability to make contact, the type of contact he's making has changed. Vidro's power (PX), expected Batting Average (XBA), and Line-Drive percentage have eroded for two consecutive seasons from their 2005 levels. Each of the three indicators declined in 2006, then has declined even more precipitously this season. The XBA of .226 indicates that despite the relatively normal 31% hit rate, Vidro's .292 BA may be somewhat of a mirage. The low Line-Drive percentage, and virtually complete absence of power (PX=40) indicate that Vidro may have a difficult time maintaining the current BA level. Vidro is unlikely to provide much, if any, value moving forward despite his playing status.

So, a numeric analysis indicates that Raul Ibanez is likely to be the short-term loser of playing time with Richie Sexson losing PT at 1B. But that at some point soon, Vidro will slump, and one of those two will likely grab that playing time from our punchless DH.

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