Posted tagged ‘Andre Ethier’

More “Epic Fail” by MLB

July 8, 2011

Shane Victorino gets hurt. NL MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen gets ready to pack his bags for Arizona.

Andre Ethier is chosen to replace Victorino.

WTF? I hate baseball so much right now.

Should the Dodgers trade Andre Ethier?

October 12, 2010

Obviously, there is no right or wrong answer here. Andre Ethier is a good hitter, young, and is not going to make that much money in 2011. He is a fine player on any team.

But I would trade Andre Ethier.

Yes, I know he is a good hitter- and consistent as well. In 585 PA during the 2010 season he hit .292/.364/.493/.367/133 which is almost identical to his career averages of .291/.363/.491/.364/126. Moreover, his periphs have not changed. From his walk rate to his batted ball data, to his plate discipline, his 2010 numbers are near identical to his career totals. So I don’t see a performance decline in the foreseeable future.

I would trade Andre Ethier because of what I like to call “Brad Hawpe Syndrome”. He SUCKS at fielding his position. In 5656 career outfield innings, Andre Ethier has a -33.2 UZR. The older he gets, the worse his range and glove should get. DRS has not been kind to him either, rating him as -11 during his career- and -27 over the past three seasons.

The result of his poor defense is an average overall value. Despite being a very good hitter, his defensive misgivings have led to a WAR’s of 2.1, 1.7, 3.4, 2.7, and 2.2 since joining the Dodgers in 2006. Even though he is a high quality offensive player, as a whole Ethier is slightly above average. While any team can use an above average player, it would be smart for the Dodgers to parlay Ethier into something more valuable.

In my opinion, I’d assume a vast majority of ML teams value Andre Ethier a lot higher than the numbers suggest, because he is becoming a star offensively. With a salary of $9.5mil in 2011, I would assume other teams would overpay for the 28 year old right fielder. Right now the Dodgers don’t look like they’ll be a very good team in 2011, so losing Ethier’s production won’t hurt them too much.

If Ethier is a 2.5 WAR player in 2011 and earns $9.5 mil, his net value would be around 0. Yet I would imagine the Dodgers would receive some high end prospects in return for Ethier. For an aging team that needs an overhaul of the minor league system, this trade could be a good start.

HOWEVER- there could be another way to handle Andre Ethier. Make him a first baseman.

Yes, the Dodgers already have a 26 year old first baseman in James Loney. But in just under four full seasons, he has a career WAR of 6.5. He’s only had one season north of an average WAR, and that was 2.1 in 2007. That’s not cutting it for a first baseman.

Andre Ethier loses a ton of value because of his defense. But at first base his defense will be much improved. Even if he isn’t a good first baseman, I highly doubt he will as much as 1.5 wins there, like he loses in the outfield right now. Granted the positional adjustment for first is worse than the outfield, but it’s a smaller disparity than the expected disparity in the defensive switch. As a result, Ethier can become a more valuable player has a whole (I’m thinking around a 3 WAR player compared to 2 WAR player) and his bat will still play at first base.

Then when his contract runs up after 2011, you can see if you can re-sign him at an affordable price, or let him walk for a presumable two draft picks.

Even though there are no rumors surrounding Ethier and I doubt LA trades him (because they probably consider him their best player) I think he is an interesting case. The Dodgers should make the most of the situation and trade him while his value around the league, or make him a first baseman to limit his defensive liability. Otherwise, the Brad Hawpe Syndrome could strangle the Dodgers, much like the Rockies eventually became strangled by Brad Hawpe this past season.

 

Players WAR Values that are being plagued by poor defense.

July 23, 2010

This idea came to me when I thought about how much Adam Dunn used to minimize his value by playing absolutely awful defense in the OF. Dunn is a player who has great on-base skills and is a solid offensive player, but his defensive value negates most of his total WAR value. However, since switching to first base this season, Dunn has been a whole lot more valuable to the Nationals. He is playing about average defense at first base this season and his 2.9 WAR so far this year is already his highest since 2007 (3.1 WAR). It makes you wonder, if Dunn had been a 1B his whole career, would we be looking at Dunn a whole lot differently? I am going to look at some players whose value is being plagued by poor defense. I am going to use their past three seasons (including 2010) of fielding RAA, batting RAA, and WAR data since one season isn’t always reliable for fielding.

Ryan Braun: Past three seasons, 87 batting RAA, -21.8 fielding RAA, 10.7 WAR
It is kind of sad that Braun has only posted 10.7 WAR since 2008 considering how good of a hitter he is. However, he lost about 2 wins worth of value because he is such a poor defender in the OF. In the past three years, he has posted .400+ wOBA seasons twice yet he has not managed a 5+ WAR season. Here is how the Brewers should maximize Brauns value (all of this is dependent on Fielder’s departure). Eventually Braun should be moved to first base. If the Brewers were willing to downgrade him from third to the OF, they should be willing to downgrade him to first, especially if Prince Fielder leaves in the near future. If Braun happened to play AVERAGE defense at 1B instead of LF last season, he would have roughly a 5.7-5.8 WAR. Maybe the Brewers aught to consider moving Braun to first if Fielder departs.

Andre Ethier: Past three seasons, 72.5 batting RAA, -34.7 fielding RAA, 7.6 WAR
Ethier is a solid hitter as you can see, but he gives back almost half of his batting value due to poor corner OF defense. He is being plagued by poor defense more than his OF counterpart Matt Kemp. Ethier is another guy that can be moved to 1B if Loney ever happens to get traded. Just for speculation purposes, if Ethier were moved to 1B last season and played average defense (assuming Loney was traded), he would end up with roughly a WAR of 3.6 instead of his 2009 WAR of 2.8.

Bobby Abreu: Last three seasons, 49.1 batting RAA, -36.1 fielding RAA, 5.2 WAR
Abreu is probably a guy that you want to start DH’ing. He is going downhill defensively and he is 36 years old. If the Angels insist on keeping him, they need to move him to DH because hes been horrendous in the field and its taking away from about three-fourths of his offensive value. If the Texas Rangers lead becomes even larger before the trade deadline, the Angels might want to look into trading Abreu to an AL contender while they still can and get some young prospects in return.

Brad Hawpe: Last three seasons, 39 batting RAA, -58.6 fielding RAA, 1 WAR
You must be thinking, how does Hawpe have a positive WAR over the last three seasons if his fielding RAA exceeds his batting RAA. Well, its because the replacement runs are keeping him afloat. Hawpe is a solid offensive player, but he does not belong in the outfield and should probably be traded to an AL team. Plus, the Rockies should be able to replace him with ease because their OF is pretty crowded at the moment. However, if Hawpe were to move to an AL team and DH, his 2009 WAR would fall approximately around 2.6, which is a significant improvement over his 2009 WAR of 1.5.

Again, these are only four easy examples. Yes, im sure I could have dug deeper, but im sure you get the point. These four players have a couple things in common, they are all OF’ers and they should probably change positions in order to maximize their value. Look at the boost that Dunn has given the Nationals so far this year. Dunn could be a hot commodity on the trade market and it could net the Nats some big time value. Other GM’s and front offices need to take note of this.