Aubrey Huff and Subtraction by Addition

Angry at being left out of Matt’s post on The Contest last week, Brian Sabean’s San Francisco Giants have agreed to a one-year contract worth three million dollars with Aubrey Huff. Much like the Scott Podsednik contract, it looks fine in a vacuum. Huff is projected for somewhere in the 0.5 to 1.0 WAR range, meaning that Huff’s market value is probably the 2-4 million dollar range. If Aubrey Huff were indeed taking the roster spot of a replacement level player, the deal would make sense.

Of course, this is not the case. Before this move, the best scenario for San Francisco was probably to play Pablo Sandoval at 1B, Mark DeRosa at 3B, and Fred Lewis in LF. Instead, Aubrey Huff probably becomes the starting 1B. We probably would have seen Juan Uribe at 3B and Mark DeRosa in LF, but the differences between these two scenarios are insignificant. This causes a domino effect: Pablo Sandoval moves from 1B back to 3B, and Juan Uribe will be pushed to an infield utility role. This also means that Mark DeRosa will certainly be the starting left fielder, pushing Fred Lewis to the bench.

Effectively, this means that Aubrey Huff is replacing either Juan Uribe or Fred Lewis. Regardless of how you look at it, the Giants are not improving in this scenario. Uribe’s bat is weak, but he has a good glove for third base, and he figures to be at least a 1.0 WAR player last year. Lewis projects similarly – again, a weak bat for the position but solid defense, probably worth a little more than one win. Both of these players project similarly or better than Huff.

Much like with his pursuit of Adam LaRoche, it appears that Brian Sabean is scrambling to add offense due to the fact that his team only scored 657 runs (4.06 RPG) last year. Despite the poor performance with the bats, the Giants still won 88 games and had 83 3rd order wins – they were a playoff contender. Dave Cameron already showed over at USSM how the idea of diminishing returns on defense is bunk. Travis Ishikawa, a good defender with a weak bat is a better first baseman than Huff, all things considered. The runs saved by Ishikawa outweigh any runs produced by Huff, despite the lack of balance between run production and run prevention for the Giants.

Not only that, but 1B was not the weakest position for the Giants. San Francisco’s rotation now only runs four deep. It’s a solid four, with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, and Barry Zito worth a combined 133 runs above replacement according to CHONE. Then the next highest projected SP for the Giants is Kevin Pucetas at 7 RAR. This 5th starter role is the easiest position for the Giants to pick up an extra marginal win or two, as there are players like Joel Piniero, Jon Garland, and Vicente Padilla who could all offer somewhere from a one to two win upgrade over Pucetas et. al.

No matter how you spin this, this was the wrong move at the wrong time for San Francisco. With a very versatile group of position players, they could have easily filled 1B with either Pablo Sandoval or an internal option that was superior to Huff. It pushes superior players to the bench or possibly even off the 25 man roster completely, and it also commits money that cannot be used to upgrade their worst position, the fifth starter. The Huff acquisition is a complete misuse of resources for a Giants team looking to get over the playoff hump.




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325 Responses to “Aubrey Huff and Subtraction by Addition”

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  1. Joe R says:

    Come on Jack, Sabean is just trying to build his collection of antique baseball players.

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  2. Mike says:

    How much would Garko have made this season? I don’t understand replacing him with Huff.

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  3. Louis XVI says:

    Except that Fred Lewis is (for whatever reason) deeply in the doghouse, and was not a real candidate to start. Realistically, Huff is replacing Eugenio Velez in the lineup, which *is* an improvement.

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    • B says:

      I don’t think Velez was a realistic candidate to start, either. Velez sucks. If anyone, it’s Ishikawa that got bumped out…

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      • oldjacket says:

        Velez does suck, but the Giants had said he was the projected starter multiple times.

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      • B says:

        Eh, I never really bought it. Even if he was the projected starter, we all know he’d lose that tag in 20 spring training at bats if he didn’t hit like Bonds over those PA’s. I think signing DeRosa was a clear indication that there was no chance Velez was going to start for us…

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    • Mike says:

      Forget all the stats for one minute and lets remember some of the mistakes Fred Lewis made in Left last year. I watched him commit error after error out there. I am really interested to see how Freddie is an upgrade over Huff, because if Huff even hits close to his 2008 numbers, it will be a major improvement over him.

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      • B says:

        Easy, Lewis is a 2 WAR player while Huff is more like .6 WAR.

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      • DickAlmighty says:

        “I am really interested to see how Freddie is an upgrade over Huff, because if Huff even hits close to his 2008 numbers, it will be a major improvement over him.”

        I think the problem is the built-in assumption that Huff will hit close to his 2008 numbers. A quick look at Huff’s 2008 shows that he was incredibly lucky that year — his normal HR/FB rate is about 9-11%; in 2008, his HR/FB was 15%. Just taking him down to his normal range reduces his HR output from 32 HR to 19-23 HR, which sounds about right for Huff. Also, while it might be convenient or easy for Giants’ fans to pretend 2009 didn’t happen when thinking about how Huff could perform in 2010, the fact is, 2009 did happen, and Aubry Huff stank last year.

        I’m not saying Huff isn’t an improvement over Lewis; I’m just saying, you can’t assume Huff will hit like he did in 2008, and then ask how 2008 Huff isn’t an improvement over 2010 Lewis.

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      • lookatthosetwins says:

        Dick,

        HR/FB rate is a skill for batters. You can’t assume someone is lucky because they have a high HR/FB rate.

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      • B says:

        Looks to me like Dick took that into account by comparing Huff’s HR/FB rate that season to Huff’s career rate – so by our best measure of Huff’s skill, it WAS a lucky year…

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  4. B says:

    This is exactly my sentiment, though without Huff, I think the team should have DeRosa in RF, Pablo at 3B, Ishikawa at 1B and Lewis in LF. The bottom line is the Giants are spending $3M on a player who gives us the same production a younger, cheaper player we already have (Ishikawa) gives us. There’s just no reason for it. Like you said, giving Huff 1 yr/$3M itself isn’t bad – it only becomes bad when you consider what we already have. And even one move like that is largely inconsequential….but this is how Sabean chooses to piss away all the Giants money so we can’t even make a competitive offer to someone like Holliday…because we’re paying all these old guys to give us a similar level of production as our young guys can give us for the minimum.

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    • odbsol says:

      DeRosa doesn’t have the arm to play RF.

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      • B says:

        Eh, doesn’t worry me too much. In AT&T I’d rather have a RF that can cover a lot of ground than one with an arm because of triples alley, and the contribution a players arm makes really isn’t that important. Plus a guy like Schierholtz with tons of arm strength can still not actually contribute with his arm because he’s not hitting cutoffs when he should or not throwing accurately/quickly very often….

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      • Sandy Kazmir says:

        @ B

        After watching Gabe Gross play RF over the last two years, with Crawford in LF, I can tell you that a strong accurate arm does carry a ton of value. I get your park-specific reasoning, but it’s pretty frustrating to see guys score from second on a single to LF over and over.

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      • Bhaakon says:

        Neither did Winn. At least in the theoretical old school baseball world where arm somehow trumps range in right field.

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    • Brian says:

      You people have no clue….there is no way Lewis plays on the Giant’s again…he can’t hit, and he is the worst LFer in all of baseball….if Huff hits .260 with 10 HR’s and 70 RBI’s he is an absolutle HOF improvement over Lewis….and by the way, can you please check Lewis’ RBI numbers…..worst I have ever seen with as many AB’s he had……he is terrible….Huff is a HUGE upgrade…..but the fact was Lewis was not even considered to start….so this whole article is pointless

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Fred Lewis is nobody’s idea of a run-producer, but his paltry RsBI totals are partially due to the paucity of baserunners the Giants put on in front of him. In particular, his on-base skills are above-average, but his slugging percentage is below-average. If you’re expecting him to drive in a high percentage of the runners on in front of him, you’re not understanding what kind of baseball player he is

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      • B says:

        The point is Lewis should be starting, but unfortunately, our front office is run by people who’s baseball analysis skills go about as deep as yours.

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  5. The A Team says:

    “Angry at being left out of Matt’s post on The Contest last week, Brian Sabean’s San Francisco Giants have agreed to a one-year contract worth three million dollars with Aubrey Huff”

    Exactly my reaction. I left a similar message in The Contest’s reply section (it’s currently the very last message so it should be easy to reference). Brian Sabean has never been a good GM, but the shenanigans of Moore, Minaya, Hendry, and Wade have outclassed him of late. Now he’s back in the game baby!

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    • NEPP says:

      One day, Bill Bavasi will be given control of an organization again and he’ll quickly reclaim his title.

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      • The A Team says:

        Let’s speculate who would hire Bill Bavasi.

        My money is on the Royals after they finally tire of “the process”. The new process would become: trade everything of value and sign replacement level veterans to long and overcompensating contracts.

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      • Joe R says:

        The Royals already liked to sign crappy ex-Mariner players.

        Match made in heaven.

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  6. WY says:

    “We probably would have seen Juan Uribe at 3B and Mark DeRosa in LF, but the differences between these two scenarios are This causes a domino effect: Pablo Sandoval moves from 1B back to 3B, and Juan Uribe will be pushed to an infield utility role.”

    ???

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  7. Felonius_Monk says:

    Wow.

    Do you guys not actually proof-read what you write before posting it up? This is pretty horribly edited, with a couple of non-sequitar comments apparently grafted together mid-sentence, and another couple of sentences that don’t seem to actually come to a conclusion and just, well, stop.

    Wierd.

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    • Joe R says:

      Wierd.

      Irony.

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      • The A Team says:

        also, non-sequitar. Sequitur shouldn’t rhyme with scimitar, at least not well…

        quit whining and get over it, it’s fangraphs not the Wall Street Journal.

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    • Richie Abernathy says:

      Oh, the irony. And it’s better than the WSJ.

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    • joser says:

      Translation: “I don’t have anything of consequence to add, but I really, really need to see my comments on teh intratubes, so I’ll bitch about editing”

      I guess in an era of people like the balloon boy father, we have to expect stuff like this.

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      • WY says:

        Well, it could have been phrased or worded differently, but the writers could sometimes edit a little more carefully before publishing the stuff.

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      • joser says:

        Phrased like that, I would’ve had no problem with it (other than to note that Fangraphs probably doesn’t yet have the budget for an editor, which is what you’d really need — a second set of professional eyes on every article before it’s published).

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  8. hamandcheese says:

    Didn’t you forget to mention that Huff was pretty darned unlucky with his BABIP (.263 in 2009, .296 career) and HR/FB (9.1% in 09, 13.7 % career)?. He isn’t THAT old, projecting a 1 win season seems very pessimistic to me considering his strong 2008 season, and poor luck in 2009.

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    • B says:

      Funny how you look at bad luck in 2009, but not the good luck in 2008. There’s a good reason the projections are so low – he’s old, he’s [apparently] declining, he’s averaged a hair over 1 WAR over the last 5 seasons combined (and he played pretty close to full seasons each year)….yeah, CHONE seems like a completely reasonable and accurate projection.

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      • Joe R says:

        Yep, he had a good 08, other than that, he’s been a replacement to bench level player since the 2005 season. Even though at this point, Sabean’s intent may be to just sign bats and try to play them at shortstop and center field.

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      • Bigmouth says:

        Convenient that you look only at the last five years, when he had two years well above league average just prior to that period. I’m not saying the CHONE projection is wrong, but it’s a little misleading to imply this guy has been below league average over his whole career.

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      • B says:

        I use a 5 year cutoff because that’s the cutoff the projections tend to use I think. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong about that – but the logic behind using the cutoff the projections use is those would be the years that have been shown historically to be relevant for projecting the future, while the years past that not so much. What a 33 year old did when he was 27 isn’t too important. Heck, over the last 3 years he’s only averaged 1.3 WAR per season…and he’s older (and thus probably worse) now and looks like he may be on a down and out [of baseball] trend….

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      • Bigmouth says:

        I think CHONE looks at the last four years for hitters. His four-year average has been 1.28 WAR. At 1 year for $3 million, we come out way ahead on the contract if he even approaches that average. I get the opportunity cost argument, and his actual CHONE projection is grim (at .6 WAR, this isn’t a good deal). Still, the gamble strikes me as reasonable, given the possibility of a rebound by Huff, as well as the sad reality that Bochy prefers starting Velez over Lewis

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      • JoeR43 says:

        I’m going to say he’s right to use the 5 years, since the 2003 Huff that OPS+’d 145 is a far cry from the 33 year old version that’ll be showing up to San Francisco.

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      • Bigmouth says:

        JoeR43, even if he rebounds to his five-year average of around 1 WAR, $3 million for one year isn’t a bad deal. Again, I get the opportunity cost argument, but this doesn’t strike me as a bad gamble at all. In fact — and this is just my gut — I’ll bet you Huff ends up with a higher WAR than Garko.

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      • B says:

        Bigmouth – I see where you’re coming from, and I actually do agree that someone giving 1 yr/$3M to Huff is perfectly reasonable. Even at .6 WAR, it’s only a slight overpay, and possibly worth the risk. My problem with it is he’s not any better than Ishikawa, a player we already have who’s making the minimum. Why pay $3M to a 33 year old who sucked last year when you have a player, who, on average, will be just as good, who’s making the minimum? Even on its own, despite Ishikawa, it’s fine – not a big deal, Ishikawa isn’t very good (though again, neither is Huff). But then I see our roster – $3M to Huff, $6M to DeRosa, $6M to Sanchez, $9M to Renteria, $3.25M to Uribe. We can’t afford a competitive offer to Matt Holliday, says Brian Sabean. Well Brian, I just afforded it right there. No Huff, no Uribe, no DeRosa, and no Sanchez/Renteria (we do still need one middle infielder, so some money has to be reserved for that)….the problem is, those guys are such marginal upgrades over the young, cheap players we already have, they provide us almost no value, and meanwhile we can’t go out and get a true impact player because we don’t have the money? Really, Brian? We don’t have a couple of our highly rated prospects (Barnes, Alderson), because we used them in trades for the exact type of marginal upgrade that dosen’t actually improve our team. Think if we swooped in for Holliday because we weren’t paying DeRosa or Uribe or Huff or Sanchez, then sent a package of Barnes, Alderson and Neal or similar package out for a real middle infielder?

        No, we can’t afford that, because Brian Sabean continues to pay old, not very good veterans to produce what the young players we already have can produce for the minimum. That $18+M to DeRosa, Huff, Sanchez and Uribe is adding what, maybe 2 WAR to our team over what the young guys could produce? So my problem is more with the philosophy as a whole, with all the moves combined, rather than Huff, specifically. Signing Huff is a Sabean move to the core, and it’s a losing strategy. Not just a losing strategy, but a proven losing strategy, as we’ve been doing it and failing because of it for years now.

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      • Bigmouth says:

        “Think if we swooped in for Holliday because we weren’t paying DeRosa or Uribe or Huff or Sanchez, then sent a package of Barnes, Alderson and Neal or similar package out for a real middle infielder?”

        No argument here, B.

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    • Joe R says:

      Here’s his ISO’s from 04-09
      .197
      .167
      .203
      .162
      .247
      .144

      His 2010 ISO projection is .178, which is lower than the .187 average, but makes sense w/ an age adjustment. He’s an average to slightly above average hitter, and as an average fielding 1B, that’s just not all that valuable, especially when you have a guy with that talent level (not to mention almost 7 years younger) on the roster.

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  9. PL says:

    1B defense is not important at all, you dont “save runs” by playing good defense at 1B, simply because real-game situations dont call for it. Its why DWS weight 1B so lightly, and one area where DWS is more realistic than UZR. In addition to this, SF’s phenomenal rotation (for some reason you left out the excellent prospect Bumgarner, who has been denoted the teams #5 starter) can get out of any jams poor defense will cause them. This isnt a team of Jarrod Washburns, its Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain youre talking about. They can afford to have a weak defense because their FIPs are going to be awesome and dont need it.

    Anytime you replace a plus 1B defender with a league average 1B hitter, you are improving. Huff is 1 year removed from a 912 OPS in the stronger league. These are reasons why this article makes no sense.

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    • Joe R says:

      Defense at 1B is already weighed lightly. That being said, Huff is still no great shakes addition over Ishikawa.

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      • PL says:

        Oh yeah, Ishikawa is a better defender no question, but Huff had a 912 OPS in 2008 in the AL East. Ishikawa will never hit 800 in his career. Simply put: the Giants are looking for offense, not defense, and Ishikawa cannot provide it.

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      • Joe R says:

        Huff’s ISO from that season is also 44 points higher than any other season he’s had since 2004. His average has been .187. He’s projected at .178 in 2010.

        With that projection in mind, he’s good for about 0-5 runs above an average hitter. That’s what, 5 runs more than Ishikawa, assuming his ISO improves a little (given that he now has more MLB time and his minor league #’s, that’s pretty likely)? Even if Ishikawa doesn’t save 5 extra runs with his glove, Huff is not $3 mil worth of upgrade.

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    • B says:

      1B defense may not be very important, but all things equal, it’s better to have better defense there than worse. Seeing how CHONE projects both Ishikawa and Huff as 103 wRC+ hitters…it looks like “all things equal” might be an accurate assumption. The bottom line is Huff’s track record is not very good, he’s had one good year in his last 5 seasons, he was absolutely awful this past year, and he’s on the wrong side of 30.

      A couple more points. Sure, the Giants pitching is good. That doesn’t mean putting a better defense behind them doesn’t help substantially. Also, there’s good reason not to pencil in Bumgarner to the rotation right now, considering he doesn’t have any worthwhile pitch besides a fastball, lost a lot of velocity on his fastball last year, has yet to pitch in Triple-A, and is only 20 years old. They definitely might use him as the 5th starter next year, but in my opinion, that’s a big mistake.

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    • The A Team says:

      I’m not sure the pitching he will face most often in the NL West will be much weaker than what he saw in the AL East…among the other issues with your argument that have been already addressed.

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    • Newcomer says:

      It may be true that a good 1B will save you fewer runs defensively than at other positions (I haven’t checked), but the way UZR is calculated should actually underestimate a good glove 1B’s impact. The runs in UZR are based on the actual run values that hits into the 1B zones typically lead to.. i.e. if a line drive gets past the 1B down the line, it is likely to be an extra base hit. Linear weights can be used to determine the run value of that hit (or something similar to linear weights). UZR doesn’t mean plays above average, it means estimated runs above average, based on the actual MLB results of BIP with a similar trajectory to the fielded or missed ball.

      The underestimating part is that UZR does not take “scooping” into account, and while I believe studies have estimated that the effect is rather small, it still means that a great defensive 1B can likely gain more runs than UZR would indicate by preventing costly infield errors.

      I’m not arguing that defense is what’s most important at 1B, it is a premium offensive position for a reason. I’m just pointing out that UZR is appropriately measuring the run impact of the part of defense it measures (accounting for sample size and measurement error).

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  10. Xeifrank says:

    Isn’t the 5th starter spot for Bumgarner(sp?)? He might not be projected by CHONE but I believe the 5th starter spot is his to lose. I would think the Giants could get 1 to 1.5 WAR out of him at the very least. No need to spend any serious money on a 5th starter for the Giants imo.
    vr, Xei

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    • B says:

      “the 5th starter spot is his to lose”

      Keep in mind this is the Brian Sabean-run Giants we’re talking about, here. Even if they legitimately plan on using Bumgarner as the 5th starter next year, 10 bad spring training innings can quickly change their mind. Brian Sabean has no concept of “sample size”.

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      • Joe R says:

        You mean it’s a bad idea to non-tender the guy whom you traded one of your top prospects for based on a 127 PA sample that was no doubt influenced by a .243 BABIP, and then going out and signing a much older player for more money?

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      • Steve says:

        i’m sensing some sarcasm here

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  11. Fergie348 says:

    I was with you for a little while here, then this. ‘Lewis projects similarly – again, a weak bat for the position but solid defense, probably worth a little more than one win’.

    Have you watched Fred Lewis play defense? I don’t know what UZR or any other defensive system has him rated at, but he’s a butcher. One of the worst fielders I’ve ever seen. He’s fast, but he has no judgement and he catches balls like my grandma used to after she broke her wrist. He’s error prone in the extreme – always an adventure and I can see the Giants pitchers cringe when routine fly balls are hit to him. By all means, for the integrity of the defense, please don’t let Freddy play outfield..

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    • B says:

      “He’s fast”

      You hit the nail on the head, here. Look, defense is all measured on a relative scale – what Fred does defensively is compared to what his peers do. Corner OF is the second worst fielding position in baseball, and this is very important to remember. His peer group consists of Manny Ramirez, Carlos Lee, Jason Bay, etc. There are some good defenders sprinkled in, but on average, LF’s are horrible defensive players. “He’s fast” goes a long way to seperate Lewis from the average butcher that plays LF, long enough to make him above average for his position. He might look horrible when you watch, but you have to acknolwedge we (people in general) are terrible at objectively watching things. We remember all the times he screws up, but how many balls does he get to that look routine to us are there that a Carlos Lee has no shot at? Plenty – and that’s why Lewis’ is a decent defensive LF despite what you see.

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      • Thanks says:

        B – I consider my self a knowledgeable and objective baseball fan, and I too was angered by the statement that Lewis was a “good” defensive LF. However, your explination was well thought out and clear, and actually gave me pause to think about what the actual comparrison was. We are talking about value over replacement here, and as you said, other teams are not throwing Willie Mays out in LF. As bad as Lewis is, there is NO DOUBT that he is getting to balls that Lee and Ramirez are not. However, the same guys who are used as examples of bad defense also MASH much better then Freddy ever will. I know only the Giants would throw such a weak hitting player in the least important defensive position on the field so that make them unique.

        Still your explanation was quite good, and made me think.

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      • B says:

        And don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather have Manny and his defensive shortcomings over Lewis, because the offense more than makes up for it. I’m all for upgrading Lewis – he isn’t bringing us a championship anytime soon, my biggest problem with the whole ordeal is our “upgrading Lewis” generally involves playing someone like Velez over him, who is quite clearly much worse…

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    • MBD says:

      Agreeing with B: It’s not about the rate at which he converts the balls he reaches into outs (errors); it’s about the rate at which he converts the balls in play in his area into outs (range). As long as he reaches many more balls than the average LFer, he can afford to muff some of them. It looks bad, but beauty isn’t the ultimate goal.

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  12. Fergie348 says:

    Garko is a right handed hitter. Huff hits left handed. The Giants tilt heavily to the right, so Sabean has been trying to find a left handed power hitter willing to play home games at the big phone. This is the place where no lefties short of Bonds, Howard, maybe Fielder can routinely park them. Left handed power bats in free agency flee this place like the plague.

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    • The A Team says:

      Well Howard hardly uses right field, the short porch in left at CBP helps him quite a bit.

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    • NEPP says:

      Of course, had you bothered to look at the actual numbers, you’d know that Howard is an opposite field hitter for balls in the air and actually hit more HRs to LF and CF than he did RF last year.

      Had you bothered to actually look at the numbers: http://www.hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2009_231&type=hitter

      Also notice that most of his HRs went over 400 feet. He hit 5 “down the line” to RF and 5 “down the line” to LF…hardly a pull hitter taking advantage of a short porch.

      And the good majority were hit on the road:

      HR Splits (2009)
      Home – 18
      Road – 27

      Only 3 of his HRs (out of 45) were considered “lucky” by HR Tracker.

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  13. GFAN says:

    If anyone watched the giants this year and saw Fred Lewis play, you would know that he doesnt belong anywhere near a mlb team, let alone start in LF. You have ot be kidding me. You would think this guy would have some sense of knowledge before he wrote this peice. Obviously you dont watch the giants play so dont write about them you idiot.

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  14. GFAN says:

    Jack, im sorry but you are a complete idiot if you think Fred Lewis should be your starting in LF…how much baseball do oyu watch? Im thinking not much…

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  15. quincy0191 says:

    Unlike apparently everyone else, I don’t hate the Huff acquisition, and the more I look at it, the more I am impressed that Sabean’s calcified brain managed to pull off a mediocre deal. Yes, Huff is old and getting older, yes he hasn’t been anything great for a few years, and yes Ishikawa is a comparable player for less money (Garko’s probably a better player for less money, and he would have made a great platoon partner with Huff or Ishikawa).

    But people don’t seem to realize the concentration of stupid that exists within the Giants’ management. Eugenio Velez was the projected starter in left field; that’s not true anymore. Huff over Velez pretty much makes this deal worthwhile. Besides, how many people really think Ishi is a +19 UZR/150 defender (he’s not)? Travis produced -4.8 RAA on offense and 10.4 RAA on defense, meaning he’s more than just all glove, he doesn’t own a bat. And while I expected him to be better in 2010, Huff has at least the same chance to be as good, and a better chance to actually play (remember, you can’t produce if your idiot manager doesn’t play you; Posey knows all about that). The deal isn’t bank breaking for a team with a $90M payroll, it’s not long enough to block any prospect (not that we’ve got one), and the other options, either internal or in free agency, were either just as good, worse, more expensive, or wanted more years (with the exception of Garko). I don’t expect Huff to carry the offense or to turn this team into a contender, just to be worth 1-1.5 WAR (which I think he can easily do). Huff’s not Podsednik or Dye, he’s an above-average hitter and a mediocre defender, which on the Giants is valuable.

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    • B says:

      Why do you think Huff will be worth 1-1.5 WAR? CHONE projects him at .6, I believe, which makes sense considering he’s averaging about 1 WAR over the last 5 years, was negative 1 last year, and is 33….

      I’m legitimately curious to hear why you think that’s not a good estimate, though.

      As for Ishikawa, he’s projected to equal Huff with the bat. I am a little curious about this projection, though, as it’s well above what he’s done at the MLB level so far, so I do have my doubts about it…

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      • DickAlmighty says:

        Remember: WAR numbers are based on projections about what will happen next season.

        If a player is projected to be a .6 WAR player by CHONE, it’s quite reasonable to predict he’ll end up somewhere between a 1.5 WAR player and a -0.5 WAR player. All players deviate from their projections a little; asking someone to justify a prediction that varies slightly from a player’s CHONE projection is like asking someone to justify an opinion. It’s an opinion; it’s not a fact. People have all sorts of different opinions about what a given player will do next season; if they didn’t, baseball would be really boring. Quincy’s opinion that Huff can be a 1.5 WAR player next year is just as reasonable as your belief (based on CHONE) that he’ll be a .6 WAR player.

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      • B says:

        Well, as you said, a projection is really a probability distribution – so using one number for it is a bit misleading. When I talk projections like that I tend to think of it as a midpoint, or median – basically, the likely scenario. So while CHONE’s projection would be -.4-1.6 (or something like that), with .6 as the midpoint…I’m taking his projection as a higher probability distribution by that.

        Anyways, projections are just guesses based on the best information we have at hand, so I guess I’m kind of wondering what information made him more optimistic on Huff than CHONE? To me CHONE looks like a very accurate guess based on what Huff’s done the last few years, and I’m just not seeing a reason to up that projection distribution, but I am interested if some people have some legitimate theories/info….

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      • Jason B says:

        Dick–

        If you have something like the fan projections showing an average of 0.6 WAR, you’re correct in saying that its very likely that he’ll end up somewhere +/- 1 WAR of that figure, in the (0.4) – 1.6 WAR range.

        However, each outcome is decidedly *not* equally likely; it would probably be something like a normal distribution, with the most likely outcomes (the “big hump” if you will) near 0.6 and the less likely outcomes out toward the tails. If you carry the illustration out further, I think everyone would readily admit that there is some non-zero chance that Aubrey is a (3.0) WAR player, or a 6.5 WAR player, in 2010, but the chance of either happening is EXTREMELY small indeed.

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    • SolidarityInSF says:

      There are prospects. There is some interest in Jesus Guzman, who’s been killing it at AAA but struggled in his few major league ABs, which isn’t enough to assess him at this point. And Brett Pill is getting more and more attention, and will probably wind up spending at least part of the season at AAA this year. One of them may be the Giants’ starter in 2011 or 2012.

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  16. Pete B says:

    The author of this article actually thinks Fred Lewis is a solid defender, exposing him as completely and totally ignorant about this situation. He also calls Uribe’s bat “weak”. It’s his bat that got him re-signed knucklehead! This is the mist uninformed article I’ve ever read. Thankfully I stopped reading somewhere after the Lewis comment. Good Lord!

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    • Joe R says:

      - Fred Lewis’ peers are bad defenders. UZR and other fielding metrics compare Lewis to them. Lewis profiles out positively vs. them. Adjusting to position rates Lewis as negatively. Not a hard concept.

      – Uribe’s career OPS+ is 83. He’s now on the wrong side of 30.

      Is this Giant fan idiotpalooza time?

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      • B says:

        There must have been a link from somewhere like ESPN or mlb.com or some Bay Area newspaper…..some sort of place where that crowd of Giants fans congregates….

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      • Joe R says:

        That’s what I’m assuming.
        zOMG THEY R BASHING SABEAN GUIZ

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      • SolidarityInSF says:

        It’s linked from MLBTR.

        And for what it’s worth… Fred Lewis looks better on paper than he does on the field. It’s true. He makes you cringe in the outfield, and makes you cringe at the plate. At the start of the season, he couldn’t hit the ball if you put it on a tee. He took bad routes to fly balls and shots down the line. From a subjective point of view, he was easy to hate.

        His success later in the season came almost exclusively as a pinch hitter; he’s selective, and doesn’t nibble outside the zone too much, so he can take a walk, accounting for his high OBP. However, he’s not a “big hit” kind of guy. This would make him a good fit for the leadoff role… But he was really atrocious at the beginning of the season. His average was .194/.296/.226 batting leadoff last season. And he hit left-handed pitching at a .164 clip, which might be because his BABIP against lefties was .250, nearly 100 points lower than his .348 season BABIP. His career BABIP is .359 which seems weirdly high for a hitter who’s not especially good at making contact.

        Fred Lewis puts up a lot of attractive numbers in certain areas, but I’m still not convinced that he’s the real deal, much less an everyday starter. Maybe a platoon player with Torres, but you’re looking at a lot of strikeouts from the leadoff spot.

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      • Joe R says:

        I agree with that entirely.

        And obviously it’s maddening to see a ball bounce off a guy’s glove, or for him to take a bizarre angle, but as I think you agree with, Lewis’ range is good vs. the standard slow LF.

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    • Alon says:

      “He also calls Uribe’s bat “weak”. It’s his bat that got him re-signed knucklehead!”

      Your statement about Brian Sabean and his statement about Juan Uribe are not inconsistent.

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  17. JH says:

    This move also completely blocks Bowker, as if he wasn’t already far too far down the depth chart already. You’d think the best hitter in Triple-A would merit at least some consideration for a roster spot.

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  18. Joe R says:

    Hey GFAN, good analysis.
    Things that may help you next time:

    lack of attacks
    actual facts
    correct grammar and spelling
    not rushing to finish a post so you can catch the beginning of The Price is Right

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  19. GFAN says:

    What facts do you need on Fred Lewis??? Did you not see him play LF last year?

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    • Alon says:

      Reply buttons are fun!

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    • Joe R says:

      Did you not see Jason Bay / Johnny Damon / Carlos Lee / Alfonso Soriano / Chris Coghlan / Ryan Braun / Garrett Anderson / Nolan Reimold / Adam Lind / Josh Willingham.

      That’s the comparison. Stop using shitty subjective eyecheck analysis. That doesn’t fly.

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      • Steve says:

        Maybe Fred Lewis is actually OK according to the stats. But it’s acutely painful to watch him field and it drives a fan nuts. Plus he also drives fans crazy because he looks at a ton of called third strikes. So try to understand a Giant’s fan irrational feelings towards seeing him on a daily basis.

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      • Joe R says:

        I can understand it, and it’s not like Fred Lewis is anything but a 4th OF on most teams.

        The greater point to what I was saying is to not write people off as “idiots” because they said something that you don’t agree with on the surface, which is what GFAN did. Obviously Jack was brief and undescriptive, but the readership of fangraphs knows that whenever a player’s defense is mentioned, it’s with respect to their position.

        Like, how often does GFAN, or anyone, actually see a good defensive LF? Unless you’re a Rays fan, probably not that often. Lewis is no hot shit in the field, with a weakish arm and propensity to take bizarre angles, and rocks an iffy fielding percentage, but he has a plus range compared to other, stonefooted LF’s. That’s a lot better way to say something that “ur an idiot”.

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      • SolidarityInSF says:

        The difference between those players and Fred Lewis is that they can hit for power or average (giving the benefit of the doubt to younger versions of Soriano and Anderson, and career projections for Reimold).

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      • Joe R says:

        Oh I know, but the topic was defense. Those were all bad to very bad defenders that GFAN likely did not see play very much, therefore giving him no actual basis for his analysis.

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      • Steve says:

        Dudes like GFAN that hide behind the anonymity of the internet to act like douche bags are best ignored. Kind of like when crazy bums in San Francisco scream at you.

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      • B N says:

        It’s true. And actually, if you watch more than a few teams you’d even see with your eyes that Lewis is not all that bad. Sure he has lead hands, but at least he’s getting around.

        Though if the Giants really want to get some offense at the LF spot, they could always inquire about the services of a certain “Pat Burrell” who has lead hands AND lead feet. Just saying… it’s easy to trash imperfect defense until you truly stare into the maw of defensive hell itself. Plus he stares at twice as many called strikes.

        The only reason Fred Lewis is annoying at defense is that he doesn’t hit enough dingers and/or take enough walks. If he did, he’d be an above average LF.

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      • Steve says:

        Fred’s “Glove Work” does have some great moments. There was 1 in 08 where he misplayed a fly ball that caromed off his glove and Aaron Rowand, who was backing up the play, managed to snare the ball before it hit the grass.

        The only thing that has made me more nauseous than watching Fred’s defense was when Armando Benitez would come out to “save” a game. And that includes Feliz rolling over sliders WAY off the plate and hitting into a DP.

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      • Mike Dever-O says:

        Hey now – leave the Gazelle (Reimold) out of this. Dude played on a torn Achilles throughout the season and was making the adjustment to LF from RF. Reimold has some areas to improve, but his defensive value was impacted negatively by his injury and the fact that he was playing next to two ball-hawks in CF (Jones and Pie).

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  20. John says:

    I agree with the last couple posters that Fred Lewis is NOT a good outfielder. He cannot read a flyball and I don’t know how many times he should have caught it, but instead let it go right past him. Also speed doesn’t really come into factor here when all other MLB starters would actually have caught the ball and at the very least stopped it from getting past them. He also takes terrible angles to the ball and dives when he should not.

    I wasn’t happy with the Huff singing at first. However, the Giants clearly see Uribe as a utility guy and would have signed someone else if not Huff. That would have possibly been Damon or Laroche at 10-15M. I think Laroche would have been good, but rumors suggest he rejected an 18M offer. Huff is a better signing than Damon IMO.

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    • Joe R says:

      No one said Lewis is a good OF. He’s good relative to the butchers that get thrown into his position. In limited samples in CF and RF, he checks out terribly. It’s really not an abstract concept.

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      • John says:

        “Lewis projects similarly …but solid defense…”

        The original article, which by the way most of these replies are towards, suggest Lewis defense is good. As solid is clearly above average which Lewis is far from in my opinion.

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      • Joe R says:

        In regards to the average LF (which is a very weak fielder), it’s not terrible. Simple.

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      • John says:

        Last time I checked a “very weak fielder” shouldn’t be described as “solid” even if you’re comparing his defense to other terrible outfielders. If this is the case he should clearly be described as average. “Solid” implies his is above average which implies that he’s better than those other “weak fielders” which he is not.

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      • B says:

        Just to clarify this conversation, Lewis is an above average LF defensively. I think that’s the proper way to say it.

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      • Joe R says:

        So you’re seriously getting mad over word choice? Who cares?

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      • Neil says:

        “Last time I checked a ‘very weak fielder’ shouldn’t be described as ‘solid’ ”

        You’re misreading, John – he said that the average LF is ‘very weak’. Lewis is above-average relative to an average that is, relative to other CF and RF, ‘very weak’. And I’d agree that it’s fair to call above-average ‘solid’, (which is not exactly a ringing endorsement) all things considered.

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      • SolidarityInSF says:

        Good defense in LF is less valuable than having a good hitter in LF. So that he is more solid in LF than DeRosa (who also has a 1-point-summat UZR/150, whereas he is a -8.9 UZR/150 at 3B) is not so much an asset, even if AT&T has big gaps because of the right-center shift. Butchers get put there because they can hit productive in the 2-5 spots. Manny Ramirez, Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon and his noodle arm, use whatever example you like. So he might be an above average defensive left fielder, but he’s a below average left fielder overall. He’s a 4th OF who can only play one position.

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      • B says:

        I really don’t know if Lewis is only a 4th OF. He has a career 109 wRC+ (so he’s 9% better than the average hitter). He’s projected to be at 103 for next season – so I think it’s fair to say in a full season he’ll be a couple runs above average with the bat. He also has a 10.2 UZR/150 for LF, but let’s regress that down and call him a +5 fielder. Combine his offense, defense and positional adjustment over a full season and you’re looking at…0 – which makes him a pretty average player – so 2 WAR, without baserunning, which probably adds a couple runs because though he’s not a good baserunner at all, he is fast, and that counts. Nothing great, of course, but still a solid starter for the minimum. Disagreements?

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    • MBD says:

      B, your 2-WAR estimate sounds reasonable as long as Lewis plays (and they don’t try him in CF or RF again). Doesn’t seem likely that they’ll give him the playing time, though. It’s crazy to expect the Giants to field the best team they could from the players they have under contract.

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      • B says:

        Yeah 2 WAR is based on a full season of PT. Adjust it for expected PA’s accordingly. Just for the record CHONE has him at 1.3 WAR over 14 replacement runs, so they’re basically saying what you’re saying – a 2 WAR player that only plays ~70% of the time.

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  21. starburst says:

    I know zippo about Aubrey Huff. But Fred Lewis is NOT a solid defensive player.

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    • B says:

      Ok, seriously, that’s like the 5th person in a row that has said this. We’ve laid out the reasons why Lewis is an above average LF. It’s in the comments. Read them.

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      • arsenal says:

        i’m a stathead and even i think you’re being obnoxious. lewis doesnt have a great bat unlike some of the sluggers in LF that you’re comparing him to defensively, so the fact that he’s barely better than them defensively means jack squat.

        every guy who’s seen him play says he sucks. he probably does have issues out there if he’s built like a wide receiver but is hardly better than guys who have bodies like plumbers. and in terms of misjuding defense, i can’t prove this but i think if anything, people overrate average defenders who make highlight plays – they almost never fail to rate good defensive players as such. that is, the error tends to be towards overrating, not underrating.

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      • B says:

        Sorry, I didn’t realize I should announce that I’m a Giants fan and watch them play and thus see Lewis play often (when our dumb front office let’s him play, that is). I understand where other Giants fans are coming from – it’s frustrating. I also understand how we (people) are naturally wired – and that is, we don’t remember things equally. As you said, we remember the highlight plays more than the routine ones, but it also means we remember the errors and other plays that drive us crazy more, too. With Lewis, there’s a lack of highlight plays but plenty of those bang your head against a wall plays. Giants fans remember these, and they that’s how they judge his defense. You can obviously see that none of the fans who complained about Lewis’ D have taken part in the more in depth conversations about what makes a fielder good, because they don’t even consider the issue before commenting.

        The truth is, despite his bonehead plays, Lewis is FAST. When you start thinking on the lines of “who is the baseline he’s being compared to”, it becomes really reasonable that he’s above average. After all, for every single stupid play he makes where he doesn’t make an out, all it takes is one ball he gets to to make up for. We’re complaining about an error of his for days. In that time, he probably made up for it, but we don’t take note of that, because it looks like a play he should make.

        Lewis’ bat is fine, by the way. Career .343 wOBA. Much like his errors, Giants fans get frustrated at his called strike 3’s (there’s a lot of them), but the truth is, he gets on base and has a little gap power. CHONE projects a .333 wOBA out of him next season – pretty much a league average hitter. Nobody is claiming Lewis is a great player, but if you carefully examine the Giants roster, you’ll see why more knowledgeable Giants fans are upset at the way he’s been treated. He deserves to play.

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  22. John says:

    So critical to get Ishikawa, Velez, Winn and Molina out of the lineup. Mission accomplished. No complaints.

    Now, if ONLY Renteria would just get hurt. Being replaced by Uribe would be huge. That’s a tremendous upgrade, even if you don’t consider Uribe very good (although I’ll take almost any middle-infielder who slugs in the 4’s).

    Agree that the defense does not look strong at all, aside from Schierholtz and Posey.

    P.S. The projections on Ishikawa are downright absurd. He has no chance of maturing into a league average offensive player.

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    • Joe R says:

      P.S. The projections on Ishikawa are downright absurd. He has no chance of maturing into a league average offensive player.

      Ishikawa, combined Major League Equivalency (CT and Fresno), 2008:

      .252/.315/.458, 18 HR

      Mark DeRosa, at .250/.319/.433, was an average offensive player.

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      • John says:

        Obviously being jerked around by Bochy doesn’t help, but Joe, if Ishikawa ever even approaches competency at the plate, you can count on a mental apology from me to you.

        Bottom line: I just don’t see him ever being part of a championship club, aside from a defensive-replacement role. And yes, of course, ditto for Huff at this stage in his career. But I’ll take the chances of a Huff bounce-back over a significant Ishikawa improvement any day. Sub-Bottom line: 2011 1B needs to be either Sandoval or a F.A.

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      • Joe R says:

        Never said Ishikawa would be an awesome first baseman, but his high minor stats show he can hit at a league average level (as projected in 2010).

        That being said, if the Giants wanted a 1B, they should’ve never non-tendered Garko. Standing pat w/ Ishikawa is more than likely the better option over signing Huff.

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      • John says:

        Fair enough. I just get the feeling that we’ve got a little more upside (and downside) with Huff at 1B. Marginal deal. Money could’ve gone to a starter, I won’t argue.

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    • B says:

      While I also have my doubts about Ishikawa’s projection, and do want him out of the lineup….is being replaced by Huff really a positive at all? Even if it is, how much of a positive is it, like one run?

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  23. John says:

    Good that SF has only offered 1 and 2-year deals of late. Some $ to offer Matt Cain after 2011. (Though it’d be surprising if he wanted to hang around. I’m counting on friendships with Madison Bumgarner and Zach Wheeler to become meaningful! Though Wheeler is still a long ways off.)

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  24. Nate says:

    I read recently (I think in the THT annual) something that said Huff admitted to not working out inbetween 08-09 because his 08 was ‘good’. We can probably expect a good regression, if of course he’s willing to get back in shape once again.

    PS the comment in the annual may have been a joke since I remember it was humorous as I read it. Although it could have been humorous to me that a professional athlete refused to work out because he had played well the year before.

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    • DickAlmighty says:

      “I read recently (I think in the THT annual) something that said Huff admitted to not working out inbetween 08-09 because his 08 was ‘good’. We can probably expect a good regression, if of course he’s willing to get back in shape once again.”

      Sounds like complete horsepucky to me. Convenient ex post excuse for his crappy 2009. Plus, you have to question a baseball player who admits to coasting going into his free-agent year… What kind of knucklehead idiot would “not work out” during the offseason before he became a free agent? Either he’s an idiot, or he’s lazy; either one knocks him down a notch in my opinion.

      To me, if Huff actually said this, this is Huff trying to make himself look more appealing to GM’s (hey, buy my 2008 numbers, because I didn’t work out before 2009), and not any indication that Huff will put up numbers similar to his 2008 numbers again.

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      • Mike Dever-O says:

        Huff is an interesting guy, and had a very…tense relationship with the fans in Baltimore. His little “Horse-Ish” town comment on radio didn’t help the fact that we were being forced to watch Huff/Millar split time at 1B during the darkest of the dark times in Crab City.

        His effort was questionable in a lot of circumstances but he did put together a good 2008, which of course meant that we had hope for a solid 2009, which…yeah. Talk about not striking when the iron was hot, to think that the O’s might have been able to pry a prospect or two away for 08 Huff and didn’t is disappointing.

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  25. Sabean says:

    Have no fear “Giants Fans” Marvin Bernard is healthy and playing well on a Panamanian Tee-Ball Team. He looks great and his agent Mr. Chupacabra is leaning towards our offer of 3yr/$10MM. I figured he is due, and Bochy told me he would be an upgrade to Schierholtz or Bowker. Gigantes 2012! That is unles Neukom signs us to another extension.

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  26. Kery says:

    Lewis solid defensively? You’ve got to be kidding me! Did you watch any Giants’ games in 09?

    -5 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Joe R says:

      Okay seriously Giant fans who probably were linked here and think SLG and WHIP are advanced, new-fangled metrics, read the comment section before posting a comment yourself. It’s all been spelled out already.

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  27. hack says:

    Clearly, Jack Moore has NO credibility when discussing the Giants. Fred Lewis was AWFUL defensively last year, and that’s one of the reasons he lost his starting job.
    I watched almost all the Giant games.

    Picking up Huff gives the Giants depth and more flexibility. There is nothing in the area of DeRosa/Uribe/Huff that is settled until we see who’s playing well. Besides, guys always get hurt, so you need this kind of depth on a team.

    Signing Huff does not hurt the Giants, only helps them.

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    • B says:

      “I watched almost all the Giant games.”

      So I take it you weren’t watching the Dodgers, Astros, Phillies or Nationals very often, then? Because if you were you would have seen some fielders much worse than Lewis. We’ve been over this. Read the comments if you want to find out why Lewis is above average (and yes, he is).

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  28. TCQ says:

    How can you say Lewis is a good outfielder?!? Have you wAtched the games!

    Wait, this has already been said 19 times? I’ll show myself out…

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    • TCQ says:

      19 was supposed to be hyperbole.

      This is getting insane.

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      • Joe R says:

        it’s a slow day in the office anyway.

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      • TCQ says:

        Yeah, but this…this isn’t even funny anymore.

        Just kind of sad. Like watching Joe Morgan call a baseball game.

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      • Joe R says:

        I once got to learn all about base stealing for 3 innings during a Red Sox – Rays game, the differences between a guy who steals bases and a base stealer, and also learned that Rickey Henderson was a good base stealer.

        It was amazing stuff and I wasn’t prepared for all that learning.

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      • TCQ says:

        I learned about becoming stupefyingly angry at Joe Morgan every time I ever watched him call a baseball game.

        I have yet to fully integrate the learnings of the mute button though, sadly.

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      • Joe R says:

        You can make Joe Morgan fun, just try a drinking game

        Keep it simple, just pull out a brew of your choice

        Take a swing if:
        – Joe mentions base stealing
        – Joe says the word “manufacture”
        – Joe talks about “playing the game the right way”
        – Joe mentions any of his old Reds teammates
        – Joe points out something obvious
        – Joe mentions a .300 BA or RBI’s as a way to analyze a player
        – Joe uses wins to judge a pitcher on air

        Chug if:
        – Joe openly scoffs at a statistic
        – Joe makes a blatant on camera lie (see “Ernie Banks”-gate)
        – Joe says something over the top about Gary Sheffield, Robinson Cano, or James Loney

        Feel free to make more up as you go.

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      • TCQ says:

        Oooh, I forgot the most infuriated I’ve ever been at Joe Morgan. I’m not sure why this got me so bad, but…

        I once learned that if an outfielder takes a roughly elliptical route to a ball and it’s just beyond his glove, that’s not an error. But if an outfielder gets to a ball like 400 feet away from his position and it bounced off his glove when he dives for it…THAT’S an error.

        Ken Tremendous, if you happen to be reading this for some reason…FJM is missed.

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      • TCQ says:

        ” Joe points out something obvious”

        I have trouble thinking someone would make through more than two innings if they actually followed that…

        I wonder if Joe seems smarter or even more idiotic as the game goes on under those rules…

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      • Joe R says:

        Someone go get Vernon Wells from the Blue Jays, he NEVER makes an error.

        .997 FP, sounds good!

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      • Joe R says:

        Probably worse, I’m sure a horse-piss drunk fangraphs reader could do a better job analyzing a ballgame than Joe Morgan.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Joe, you’ve made the Joe Morgan Drinking Game far too complex. My friend and I did it about four years ago, every Sunday night. Joe repeats himself, Joe says something stupid, or you preempt Joe because it’s obvious what he’s going to say and you drink. Guaranteed to have you fucked up if you can listen to him for nine innings.

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  29. Stocktopus says:

    I followed the logic of this article for a while, but I’m sorry…. you lost me with Fred Lewis. He has a bad bat AND is unreliable in the field. If you had followed the Giants last season and actually watched the games, then you’d know that he was a mess out there in Left Field. Aubrey Huff is a HUGE improvement over Lewis in my opinion. Huff has the upside of 20-30 hrs and .280-.300 average. I think having that addition, and having Derosa in left is far better than where we were at before.

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    • B says:

      “Aubrey Huff is a HUGE improvement over Lewis in my opinion.”

      Well, to be frank, your opinion is wrong as is everything you just said in your comment.

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      • Steve says:

        this is constructive.

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      • B says:

        My apologies, but since the topic has been discussed already numerous times by myself and others in the comments of this very post, I didn’t feel it necessary to get into it, again. If you want something constructive, read through the earlier comments where things are discussed in more detail.

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      • DickAlmighty says:

        B —
        An opinion about a future event cannot be wrong. It can be misinformed. It can be outlandish. But it cannot be wrong.

        If I said, “In my opinion, Aubrey Huff will hit 40 HRs and bat .330 next season,” you could tell me I was a donkey and ask me where I came up with my numbers, but you couldn’t say my opinion was wrong, because the 2010 season hasn’t happened yet (and neither of us knows what Aubrey Huff will do).

        That said, Aubrey Huff won’t hit 40 HR’s next season and he won’t hit .330. And anyone that says differently is wrong.

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      • B says:

        Point taken, Dick, maybe I should say the thought process behind his opinion is wrong, which will more likely than not lead to him being wrong?

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  30. John says:

    Sorry to get off topic, but question: is Joe Sheehan’s newest venture/job yet known? Thanks

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  31. These stat nerds that don’t watch baseball, Lewis is terrible.

    Listen to me, San Francisco. For I am the bullgod, knower of all things knowledgeful.

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    • B says:

      You were always my favorite, Bruce. ;)

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    • B says:

      On a side note, does anyone think some locality out there has a worse collection of sportswriters than the Bay Area? I think we can give anyone a run for their money in that department!

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      • Joe R says:

        Clearly you’ve never gotten a whiff of the Boston sports media.
        CHB vs. OPS, the war continues.

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      • B says:

        Well the problem with the Bay Area is there isn’t a single worthwhile writer covering a single sport for a single paper. Well, that’s not true, I like Okanes for Cal football, but he’s basically the only one. There really isn’t much in terms of Bruce Jenkins trying to fight a war on blogger nerds….it’s just more a collection of blowhards with nothing interesting to write about that speculate on how “Bonds is evil” or ridiculous and unsupported trade rumor this or Monta Ellis Stephen Jackson discontent OMG trade them that, attempts to analyze the sport they’re covering that clearly show they don’t even understand the basic concepts of the sport….not only is it horrible quality in terms of writing AND analysis, but it’s not even entertaining. You’d think in the midst of all that we could find at least a couple of worthwhile writers….but no. We have 6 major pro sports teams in the Bay Area, two Pac-10 colleges that not only play Pac-10 football and basketball but also are two of the best in the nation when it comes to the rest of the sports spectrum…and we have one decent writer to show for it.

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      • Joe R says:

        That is a pretty bad ratio.

        Not even entertaining bad? I’m sorry man.

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    • Steve says:

      McCovey Chronicles is good. I think the best writers in the Bay Area are probably bloggers … sort of that “it happens first in California” thing.

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      • B says:

        Good point. I do like McC – it has a lot of quality commentors, too. There are definitely a number of good Giants blogs out there. OBM, BayCityBall, El Lefty Malo in addition to McC….so yeah, you can definitely find some quality Giants discussion, it just rarely comes from the established media sources. I actually did realize I forgot to mention Baggs as a second media guy I think does a pretty good job, even if Baggs is too soft on the Giants.

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    • Bigmouth says:

      Love ya, Brucie…burp!

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  32. GypsySon says:

    Why does Jesus Guzman get no mention? Wouldn’t he be a more than serviceable 1b, and be very cost effective?

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  33. odbsol says:

    No mention of the fact that Angel Villalona, the projected 1B of the future, is facing murder charges? I think this might have had something to do with the shuffling around of the line-up and the FA pickups.

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  34. Buck Henry says:

    First off, relative to other LFs, Lewis isn’t bad. He just looks like a deer in the headlights way too often for my taste. But second, even though his OBP is better than others on that team, he wasn’t seen as a good enough every day option when they already had other lineup spots with risky bets. And that’s why Ishikawa wasn’t given a chance every day at 1B also; his splits aren’t tolerable when you look at the empty bats they carry elsewhere.

    On a team with good OBP and pop at just 2-3 key positions, guys like Lewis and Ishikawa would be tolerable and allowed to develop into everyday players. But when you already have question marks in RF and SS and can’t afford any more in LF and 1B, you lunge for short term deals with mediocre players and pray for gold. Add to that their all-too-willingness to send away their second-best RBI guy because he was a fat base-clogging machine, and it’s a recipe for deals like DeRosa and Huff.

    The only smart thing Sabean has done this year is to avoid repeating his own past mistakes. When the A-List FAs don’t want to play in SF, and you don’t have the depth any more to use pitching for trades, you are backed into lesser FA moves like these, while not blocking your own future stars. And Sabean has done that well this offseason.

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    • brendan says:

      b molina being the ‘second-best RBI guy’ doesn’t make him a good offensive player. his .308 wOBA will not be missed.

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  35. BobbyWar says:

    This post losses all credibility by stating Fred Lewis is a solid defender. Obviously you’ve never seen Lewis play….he’s a clunker in left.

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    • B says:

      Ah yes, the old disagree with one point (ignoring the fact that it may, in fact, be you who is wrong), thus ignoring every other unrelated point in the article tactic. Interesting move (not really, as you’re like the 10th person to say this exact thing).

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  36. shane says:

    Jack Moore…leave the Giants talk to people who know what there talking about. You’re a Math Major, stick to what you’re good at. I cant stand it when people write articles and just dont know what the F&$% there talking about.

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    • Joe R says:

      I can’t stand people who continue to point out the same exact thing as about a dozen other people before then, while continuing the tradition of not citing any sort of credible source to the point, or taking his positional peers into account.

      So where did you find the link to this article, Shane?

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  37. From http://gameofinches.blogspot.com/2010/01/giants-seeking-left-handed-bat-sign.html

    After Adam LaRoche (surprisingly) turned down the Giants offer of two-years, $17 million, the Giants — who ranked second-to-last in ISO (with a team mark of .132) and dead last in all of OBP, BB% and wOBA last season — concluded their search for a “lefty-hitter” by signing Aubrey Huff to $3 million, one-year deal. The same Aubrey Huff who hit .241/.310/.384 (.684 OPS) last season. How this is an upgrade for the Giants, who hit .257/.309/.389 (.699 OPS) as a team, is anyone’s guess. Even when you account for Huff’s .263 BABIP (.311 xBABIP), Huff’s adjusted batting line (assuming all additional hits would be singles) last season would have been .282/.347/.426 (.773 OPS).

    Yes, at $3 million/1-year, the Giants are only paying for less than even a single WAR on the open market. Such a signing makes sense if the team is in no position to compete, rebuilding for the future, and does not wish to waste resources by plugging temporary holes. The Giants are not in such a position, however. They were top 5 in FIP and #2 in xFIP last season. They have a super rotation of Lincecum-Cain-Sanchez in the top 3 spots, while Zito manages to be the highest paid (and most overpaid) number five guy in all of baseball. Furthermore, the Giants have one of baseball’s best pitching prospects, lefty starter Madison Bumgardner, waiting in the wings alongs with baseball’s top catching prospect, Buster Posey.

    On the other end of the field, the Giants have Kung Fu Panda. That’s it. Sure, Aaron Rowand is trolling around somewhere in the outfield, making web-gem-like diving catches at routine flyballs, but he’s a 2 WAR player at this point in his career. What does it say about your offense last year when your second best offensive player was Juan Uribe? It says “hmm, maybe I should have offered more money to a better offensive player (like Jason Bay, Matt Holliday or Russell Branyan) or even try upping my offer to Adam LaRoche, rather than wasting salary on an old-as-balls guy in the twilight of his career (2008 aside, Huff has been on the decline since 2004.).” Don’t believe me? Check out these 2010 percentile forecasts from ZiPS (click to enlarge):

    According to ZiPS, only two players on the Giants 2009 roster have a greater than 2% chance to hit (at least) 30 home runs next year, and the Giants non-tendered one of them. Ryan Garko was also one of only three players on the Giants in 2009 who is projected to have a 20% or greater chance of posting an OBP greater than or equal to .375. Of those who will be with the Giants next season, only Kung Fu Panda has a remotely and statistically relevant (5% or greater) chance of hitting 45+ doubles in 2010. Furthermore, if you click the ZiPS link (above) rather than look at my screen shot, you will notice that only Kung Fu Panda is projected to be at least 5% better than the average offensive player next season.

    In plain English, the Giants need some real (and serious) offensive help.

    Perhaps this move was just Brian Sabean’s way of telling Dayton Moore (who recently signed Scotty Pods) that he is challenging him for the title of worst GM ever.

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  38. Joe R says:

    “It says “hmm, maybe I should have offered more money to a better offensive player (like Jason Bay, Matt Holliday or Russell Branyan) or even try upping my offer to Adam LaRoche…”

    Yeah, 2 / $18+ mil to LaRoche would been even worse than Huff. Sure he’s an actual 1B, but he’s what, a 1 WAR improvement over Ishikawa? 9 mil for a marginal win? Oof.

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    • He’s more of 2.5+ Win guy with the necessary offensive skill to drive in runs. A def. boost to being 2nd to last in ISO and last in OBP/BB%

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    • But I do get your point of +1 wins over Ishikawa; but thats if you assume Ishikawa is a +1 WAR guy. I see him as less than that bc his fielding is usually just average and the hitting abilities are…well…does he have much of any?

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      • Joe R says:

        Well, small sample and lack of reliability on 1B’s aside, UZR liked Ishikawa in 2009, and he was on pace for ~ 1.3 WAR performance (of course it’s hard to justify keeping a 1B with an 89 wRC+ in the lineup).

        But as I said before, his 2008 MLE line was .252/.315/.458, 18 HR, which clocks in around average. If he continued to flash leather at 1B, then 1 WAR is about right. Sure, bench player.

        So yeah, LaRoche would be a decent sign if he was worth 2.5 WAR vs. Ishikawa at 0.5, but I think that’s a corresponding high and lowball.

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      • perhaps not, but at worst, you’d be paying LaRoche market rate, and improving the offense,

        Recall, the marginal value of a win when you are in competitive contention (like the Rays in the AL east) is much more important and worth “overpaying” and market value paying for than would be that of a team not in contention or seemingly guaranteed a playoff spot

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  39. D says:

    Sabean is a piece of shit. He has fucked the Giants for long enough. The Sabean needs to go.

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  40. Giant Ry says:

    This post is pretty bad. I know its hard to keep track of players on every single team, but the whole premise of this article is based on the Giants throwing out Fredy Lewis in the field everyday and Kevin Puentes as our number #5 starter. As someone who follows the Giants, Fred Lewis will not make the roster. Madison Bumgardner will be the #5 starter and since he is a top #10 prospect in the whole MLB, I think he’s a better bet than Fat Padilla or any other scrap heap starting pitcher. As to Huff, throw him out there. He can’t be as bad as Ishikawa and trust me, he was horrible. I don’t care how great his glove is. Pablo is maturing into an elite hitter and his abilities are better served at 3B where his replacement value is much higher than at 1B. DeRosa is fine in LF. As for RF, Bowker, Scherholtz, Velez, etc can platoon. Giants will win the West in 2010.

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    • You clearly missed the point Giant Ry. The Giants are not, at least if Sabean has ANY remote sense of intelligence, going to call up Bumgardner so early as to qualify him as super two. They need a hole-plug for now who can eat innings so that Bumgardner can be eased into a starting role if the giants are in contention and so that they can maintain his endurance. They don’t want to super two his ass. Guarantee you it

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    • B says:

      Well, Bumgarner is a great prospect, my own opinion is he’s not MLB ready right now. He hasn’t developed his breaking pitches yet (so he basically has no offspeed stuff), and he lost velocity off his fastball. Being a great prospect is all about potential, and Bumgarner still has a ways to go to reach his potential, or even become worthy of anything more than a low leveraged reliever.

      Lewis really might not make this roster, which is sad, because he’s much better than bums like Velez (who’s terrible, by the way). Lewis is a quality player to have (~2 WAR player for league minimum).

      “He can’t be as bad as Ishikawa”

      Actually, he can, and WAS much worse than Ishikawa last year, both offensively and defensively. Huff was legitimately horrible last year, which is why he’s not projected to be any better than Ishikawa. Ishikawa isn’t very good. Neither is Aubrey Huff. The Giants are definitely not the best team in the West right now.

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  41. cameron datzker says:

    I don’t agree with Jack Moore, because Aubrey Huff did hit 30 homers as well as he drove in over 100 RBIS over a year ago. also, When you have the Kung Fu Panda batting 4th, this will allow Aubrey Huff to drive in at least 100 RBIS. and I totally disagee with having Travis Ishikawa out there. This guy can’t hit fungos and is too weak to have at 1st base. The Giants made a good
    2 year offer to Adam LaRoche for over $17 million and he balked at it. I don’t think that The Orioles are not going to give this guy more than The G men.
    I think that Adam LaRoche screwed himself.. From my Giants sources, this team is speaking with Jermaine Dye about playing left and moving DeRosa to right field. also, I want a correct a statement that Huff isn’t good on defense,
    for what his role is on this Giants team he’ll be able to hit and hit with power that’s what we need not another Dan Ortmeier.

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  42. Huff might be able to turn things around, but I still don’t think he was the best option the Giants had.

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  43. Paul says:

    Lewis: Solid Defense? Did you watch him? Do you recall one instance where Lewis was put in the outfield as a late-inning defensive replacement. Lewis’ potential has been bandied about for years, and he’s been a disappointment at the plate and a liability in the outfield.

    Still puzzled beyond belief about Huff and DeRosa .. I think Ishikawa’s upside is way better than these two old guys who amount to Rich Aurilia in his golden years.

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    • B says:

      I didn’t realize that a Giants player being above average at the plate and above average in the field is a disappointment. What strange universe where the Giants lineup is too awesome for average starters do you come from? Lewis is a decent player. Nothing great, but a great value because he’s not making anything.

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      • Paul says:

        No matter how you stack it up Nate Schierholz beats Lewis..258 and 20 RBIs is to me a disappointment for a major league outfielder.And Lewis *is* disappointing in the outfield. A guy with his speed should be able to run down pretty much anything, but his instincts are bad and he gets poor jumps on balls. I would love to see Fred succeed, but just like Frandsen, he’s had plenty of opportunities and has not capitalized on them. Frandsen has really blown his chances and yet he whines about not getting enough of them. He’s very clueless. At least Fred gives as much effort as he’s capable of.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        No matter how I stack it up? How about OBP? Slugging? Walk rate? wOBA? Lewis was his equal or better in all those categories last year.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/comparison.aspx?playerid=4693&playerid2=6201&playerid3=&position=OF&page=8&type=full

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      • B says:

        “A guy with his speed should be able to run down pretty much anything, but his instincts are bad and he gets poor jumps on balls.”

        No denying that, it’s completely true. However, the end result is despite that, he’s still better than the average LF, so that provides value. As a hitter he’s much, much better than Schierholtz has been. Getting on base matters a lot. Batting average and RBI’s? Not so much. Hard to get RBI’s when nobody gets on base in front of you, you know? And when the Giants DO get a guy that gets on base at an above average rate…well, Fred Lewis gets sent to the bench.

        I’m not sure what these ample opportunities you’re talking about are in either case. 20 PA’s here and there is hardly “plenty of opportunities”. With Frandsen, you’re right that he has not produced, but the guy has all of 400 PA’s over 4 different seasons. 400 PA’s is like 2/3 of one single season. Getting them sporadically over 4 years is hardly a real opportunity. With Fred, he’s gotten about 1000 PA”s, so more than Frandsen for sure….and the thing is, he’s been a decent player in those chances. He has a career 109 wRC+! What that means is he’s 9% better than the average MLB hitter. Is that going to carry us to the playoffs? Of course not, but being better than average makes him good enough to start for the Giants, easily.

        Paul, my advice – spend a couple months avoiding reading the local writers and check out Fangraphs and read up on this stuff, then after a couple months, go back and start reading the local guys again. After learning from the great people at Fangraphs you’ll be amazed/horrified at how bad the crap they try to sell us back home is. Those guys don’t know the first thing about baseball…

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  44. marklar says:

    This blog was a big disappointment. The entire premise of the argument, that Huff is not an improvement, falls apart with the fallacy of Lewis being a solid defender. Yes, I read ALL the posts and the repeated rationalizations to try and justify the description of “solid defense”. Making an argument and then repeating it does not make it so. Neither does “we’re right, you’re wrong, so quit bringing up the subject. Anyone that has looked at defensive metrics knows that none of them can be relied on the way offense stats can. Watching a player play defense every day has more validity than defensive stats. You have completely rejected out of hand, numerous Giants fans that watch Lewis day in and day out, and rightly took exception to your assertion. I take as proof, that if defensive metrics ranks Lewis as above average for LF, then the stats do not accurately reflect what his true ability is. I have seen a lot of both Fred Lewis, and Manny Ramirez, playing defense, and Lewis makes Ramirez look like a defensive whiz.

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    • Not David says:

      Numerous Twins fans tell me that Delmon Young is a good defensive player. I watch every single Twins game and see a butcher in the field. Who’s right?

      The “I saw it with my own eyes therefore that’s the way it is” line of thought is a gigantic load of BBWAA-level malarkey.

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      • marklar says:

        How many Giants fans have told you that Lewis is even average, let alone a “solid defender”? When there is disagreement among Twins fans about Delmon Young’s defense, the answer is: I don’t know. If there were a consensus of Twins fans, as there is among Giants fans re Lewis, I think I would have the answer.

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      • Joe R says:

        Just like the consensus that Ellsbury is a great defender. He’s so good that they’re moving him to left.

        This statement also works by going Ellsbury -> Michael Young and left -> third.

        Remember when Palmeiro won the Gold Glove, too? Eyes, man, trust the eyes.

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      • marklar says:

        Not all situations are equal. Ellsbury moving to LF does not mean he is terrible. There is great, good, average, and bad. A consensus of Red Sox fans saying Ellsbury is great when he is merely good, is understandable as hyperbole.There could be offensive reasons for the move as well. But, it is not the same as someone, who does not watch Lewis play, saying he is solid, when a consensus of Giants fans say he is terrible.

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      • Joe R says:

        Not really, no.
        Maybe it’s fine when just scouting the player, but when analyzing him, you need more. And you need his comps.

        Example, you can’t say Mark Derosa is a bad hitter. That would be wrong. But you can say Mark Derosa is a bad hitter v. other LF’s if he were to start there in 2010. Sure, Lewis isn’t a great fielder. There’s a lot of guys worse than him running around out there, pretending they’re in the lineup for something other than their bat.

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      • marklar says:

        “There’s a lot of guys worse than him running around out there…”

        Not really, no, there aren’t.

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      • B says:

        “Not really, no, there aren’t.”

        I suspect someone doesn’t remember when the A’s were in town and foolishly put Jack Cust into RF at AT&T. That’s what a bad fielder really looks like. Maybe Giants fans were just spoiled by seeing Winn over in RF the last few years and comparing Lewis to that…

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      • eldingo says:

        I’m a giants fan and Lewis is a solid defender, I think the reason he appears to be bad is that next to our other OF lewis is one of the worst defenders (Giants had one of the best UZR and outfield UZR scores in MLB last year)

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      • Steven Ellingson says:

        Numerous Twins fans tell me that Delmon Young is a good defensive player.”

        Seriously? I live in Minnesota and have never spoken to anyone, in real life or on the numerous blogs I frequent, with that opinion. Delmon Young is a case of a guy both looking horrible and being horrible in the field, so both the stat and non-stat guys agree on this one. The only real argument I’ve gotten in about him is just HOW bad he is overall. Some people like to think his decent batting average makes him an acceptable player. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Anyway, I know this was off-subject, but I just thought that was a strange comment.

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      • oldjacket says:

        I am a Giants fan and Fred Lewis is an above average left fielder.

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    • Joe R says:

      Watching a player play defense every day has more validity than defensive stats.

      I have seen a lot of both Fred Lewis, and Manny Ramirez, playing defense, and Lewis makes Ramirez look like a defensive whiz.

      So if we’re going to go forward with I SEE HIM PLAY EVERY DAY YOU SHUT UP DON’T TRY TO CHANGE MY VIEW

      I’m a Red Sox fan. I “saw Manny play” for 7 1/2 years. Saying anyone makes him look like a defensive whiz is grounds for IP-banning you from mlb.com.

      The BABIP of lefties pushing the ball v. the Giants and the Giants’ outfield BABIP against was lower than the league average (albeit the BABIP of righties pulling is higher than average in SF). Overall, balls to the left side on the Giants had about a .358 BABIP. The league average? .364. Sure that’s split between the LF, SS, and 3B and how much, who knows (I also know Renteria’s defense isn’t all that good), but basic data is saying that Lewis is part of a plus defense.

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      • marklar says:

        He only played LF in about half the games in 2009. I would check those stats for 2008 and compare to 2009. Lewis played far more games in the OF in 2008 than he did in 2009. He was the Giant’s first choice as DH for interleague.

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      • Joe R says:

        Giants were .370 BABIP-against to the left, .372 for the NL.

        Still not all Lewis, but once again, the data doesn’t support Lewis being a terrible butcher in LF.

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      • marklar says:

        How do you quantify in a stat an outfielder that does not judge fly balls well? I know zone stats try and cover this, but a guy Lewis with above average speed skews the equation. How do you quantify a situation where after initial misjudgment, Lewis turns on the speed but still not make the catch? The ball is out of the zone, but with Lewis’s speed, a correct reading of the ball, it would have been an out.

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      • B says:

        Just for you marklar, here I am. One Giants fan who will tell you Lewis is an above average fielder at LF, and point you to a spot where knowledgeable Giants fans that also agree with this notion hang out (mccoveychronicles.com). Not only do these Giants fans “watch Lewis play every day”, but they also take the time to read and learn about baseball in depth beyond what you see on tv. In other words, they’re knowledgeable, as I said, like myself….

        And just for your knowledge, the whole premise of UZR is to look at the number of balls that Lewis turns into outs compared to other LF’s….and, surprisingly enough (not so surprising to a lot of people besides yourself)…he turns more of them into outs than your average LF.

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      • Joe R says:

        That’s also reflected in his zone rating, marklar. If he takes a crap angle and lets the ball fall, when a normal LF would’ve caught it, that hurts him. When he turns on the speed and runs down a ball that goes for a double on the average LF, that helps him.

        UZR isn’t perfect. No defensive stat is. But the range on his Runs above average in 2009 go from -1 to 4. There’s really nothing to signal he’s doing any worse than a typical LF outside of aesthetic debauchery. I’ve even tried for you, and I cannot find it.

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      • marklar says:

        I am a regular reader of the McCovey Chronicles, and I can assure that not everyone there is a fan of Lewis’s defense.

        Lewis’s speed helps his UZR. But the situation I cited above, where he has the speed to make a catch out of the zone, but doesn’t, is not counted as a negative. UZR is the best defensive stat that I know of, but it is still flawed. It is not nearly as illuminating as many offensive stats, and relying solely on it, is foolish.

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      • Joe R says:

        That’s not fair, though, an out of zone play is something that can’t be expected from an average fielder. That would be like punishing Beltre for the days back in Seattle when Betancourt makes an error because he didn’t get to the ball first.

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      • B says:

        You must not read the same articles that I do, then. There are a couple of Lewis’ haters still out there, but we’ve beat them down pretty good, I think. :)

        Well the whole point is it doesn’t matter how fast he is or what angle he’s taking – all that matters is whether he makes the out or not (and whether he prevents the ball going by him to allow extra bases or not, and then if his throw prevents extra bases/creates outs, but those are just details). You quantify that example as simply not making the play, much like a slow guy who couldn’t have gotten there doesn’t make the play, because the end result is the same. I’m not sure why that’s an issue? In the end we care about the number of plays a player turns into an out relative to the number he should turn into outs…

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      • marklar says:

        See this is the problem with defensive stats. Lewis is a bad judge of hit balls, he takes bad routes, and he has a bad glove. Speed is his only defensive positive, and statistically it puts him at average. Say he misjudges a ball in the zone, but corrects and has the speed to still make the catch. That’s a UZR plus for him. But because he has more speed than the typical LF he should be able to make plays outside the zone. If he misjudges, but doesn’t make the catch when he could, it is not a negative. I personally do not want a fielder on my team whose only positive defensive skill is speed, and speed is the only thing that makes him appear to be average.

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      • B says:

        Marklar – you’re just looking at the skills, though, and not putting them into game context. In the end the result that matters is making the out or giving up a hit/extra bases, because that’s what affects the other team scoring runs and thus winning or losing. The defensive skills aren’t particularly important in themselves – it’s the plays you make using those skills that matters, and defensive stats are an attempt to measure that end result – those plays. What we find with someone like Lewis is he makes more plays then other left fielders – regardless of the skills, or what he should be able to do with his speed….his results directly lead to less runs for the other team, and that’s the context that matters.

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    • DickAlmighty says:

      Marklar:
      Totally agree. The defensive metrics on FanGraphs are being treated as if they are OBP, SLG, etc. OBP and SLG measure actual events; whether a player gets on base or not as a binary event: he does get on base, or he does not get on base. OBP is simply a quantification of the two possible outcomes.

      UZR and Range Factors and Dewey’s Plus-Minus systems aren’t like that — there is a subjective element to all of these measures. Simply dismissing the evaluations of Giants’ fans (who watch the team every day) based on UZR numbers is absurd. Most sabermetric GM’s would tell you that scouts opinions are just as important as the numbers they get; in the same way, the observations of Giants’ fans (who argue Lewis stinks in LF) can inform the discussion of the statheads (who argue UZR shows that Lewis is a good defender).

      This is not an either-or proposition. The stats and the observations are both essential to an analysis of Freddy L’s defense.

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      • joser says:

        Wait. So the data from UZR which is based (in part) on a “subjective” viewing of him play is bad, but the (very subjective) data from SF fans who “watch him everyday” is good?

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      • B says:

        UZR is a measured event, though. There is a lot more error involved, and even measurement error, no denying that, but it’s still a similar concept to offensive stats in the fact that the same events (getting on base, getting a single/double/triple, whatever) are dependent on what the fielder does. The fielder can prevent those exact same events from occurring (or conversely allow them to occur), and gets credited in much the same way for his role in those exact same events.

        Again, don’t treat UZR as gospel, you’re certainly right that there’s room for “scouting” evaluation, and at times UZR has it’s issues and error, and one year isn’t enough of a sample…those are all fair things to say, but that doesn’t mean the process doesn’t produce good information most of the time, and it doesn’t mean it’s wrong when it comes to Lewis.

        A few things about Lewis specifically. First – Giants fans are hardly “scouts”. Most fans only watch their team, so how are they expected to know what good/bad LF defense is, exactly? How can they tell from the TV if the player should have made a play or not? How can they be expected to compare Lewis to his peer group of LF’s? Next – Lewis is the perfect case where humans perception bias’ kick in – just like people overrate someone like Gary Matthews Jr for making highlight plays, Lewis makes more than his fair share of “low lights”. These plays naturally stick in peoples minds, and create impressions much greater than their actual impact warrants. Giants fans are going to be pissed for days after he drops a ball he should catch that leads to a couple of runs. This undoubtedly has a much larger impact on fans perceptions of his defense than a couple of plays where he got to balls some other LF wouldn’t have.

        What someone like me sees out of Lewis is a guy that unquestionably has a lot of range. There are probably only a small handful of players out there that have more range than Lewis, including CF’s. I also see a player that gives a lot back by poor reads, dropped balls, and bad routes. Have I made any attempt to quantify or objectively measure these things? Of course not – I’m just a fan, and just like every other fan, I have no idea just by watching how much each of these various quantities affects his production, or even in what proportion they happen. Without some form of organized, methodical recording of this information, there is no way a person can remember it and objectively form an opinion on how often these things happen compared to each other, and that’s before taking into account our (normal fans) lack of scouting ability to begin with….

        So yeah, frankly, I don’t think Giants fans perceptions are very relevant to this conversation. I think you can probably add some regression to Lewis’ numbers to get a more accurate evaluation of his defense. That’s fine, but I’m just really not seeing any reason why we should call Lewis any worse than a +5 or so defender.

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      • marklar says:

        B: It is true what you say about offensive stats being dependent on other factors. The problem in equating the limitations of UZR with the limitations of offensive stats, is that you have many more offensive stats to work with. You can find the outliers easier. I as far as I know there is no equivalent to BABIP for finding the potential of how much luck played in a good season, as it does for in hitting. Defense is too hard to quantify on the level of offensive stats, and is no where near as illuminating. So if offensive stats are flawed, defense stats are deeply flawed.

        It is a nice theory that so many Giants fans perception will be skewed by being pissed off for days about a dropped ball. All players make errors. When you see Lewis turning the wrong way, starting in, stopping, and then running back, and taking circuitous to balls; when anything slightly more than routine is an adventure, I think seeing is more valuable that flawed stats.

        And btw, I am a baseball fan, not just a Giants fan. I watch every baseball game I can, no matter who is playing.

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      • B says:

        “Defense is too hard to quantify on the level of offensive stats, and is no where near as illuminating. So if offensive stats are flawed, defense stats are deeply flawed.”

        Well, I’m not sure why offensive stats are flawed. But you are right about defense, and it’s a correctable flaw. It’s really just a sample size issue, and why you shouldn’t look at one year of UZR data for accurate results. Once you start getting to 3+ years of data, it becomes a pretty accurate representation of what happened. Lewis’ sample size is on the small side – so to correct for that, throw in some regression to the mean. That doesn’t mean there’s some flaw in the metric that makes it not worthwhile or inaccurate…

        And my “theory” isn’t some wild theory – it’s a truth about how humans observe things. How big the effect is is opinion, for sure, but I assure you, that kind of observational error does happen….

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      • marklar says:

        “…offensive stats… are dependent on what the fielder does.”

        I took this to mean that offensive stats are not perfect, thereby flawed. If that is not what you meant then I apologize. Although, I do not believe that any stat, offensive or defensive is perfect, and if offensive stats are less than perfect, defensive stats are even more so. I am a big believer in stats, but if they were perfect, there would never be an underrated, or overrated, player. I believe in looking at stats and watching a s much as I can before forming an opinion. Just as in the Delmon Young example, I would not venture an opinion based solely on stats, and I just haven’t seen him play nearly enough. The value of watching a player perform is vastly underrated these days. Stats cannot tell you everything.

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      • MBD says:

        Actually, offensive stats ARE imperfect if we’re trying to determine from a small sample how much a hitter’s actual results are based on skill and how much they are based on luck. For this reason, we look at larger samples and also BABIP, as you mentioned yourself. Any stat that doesn’t adjust for the park is also less useful for comparisons across teams. And the classification of “hits” also depends on the subjective determination of what is an “error” (this last is directed more at DickAlmighty’s point than at Marklar’s).

        Players are over- and under-rated not because the stats are imperfect, though they are to some extent; these misperceptions of value occur because people use the wrong stats (e.g., errors, stats that find a pattern in random chance) or use them incorrectly (e.g., small sample size, stats from 5 years ago when projecting next year’s productivity).

        It makes sense to watch players in addition to reviewing their numbers, but relying on what we see more than the numerical record of the results is too much like trusting our eyes and trick knees over the weather forecast (another imperfect science), our memories of past rainfall amounts covering 162 days over records of actual measurements, our sense of how a patient looks over the MRI and the tests run on his/her blood. If we want to see beautiful plays, we watch. If we want to long beyond the distracting appearances and see who is really contributing and how much, we have to look at the data. Oh, and relying on the naked eye and the cloudy memory is the other reason players are over- or under-rated.

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      • MBD says:

        *look beyond

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      • B says:

        Marklar, keep in mind the most basic purpose of statistics is simply to count things. We count the hits a guy gets, the HR’s, the strikeouts, walks, and everything else, and the stats are just a written record of these actual events. From that standpoint, there is nothing flawed about them. We can look to the past to see exactly what a player did…

        I’m beginning to realize this could be a very long conversation, so I’m going to stop here and just say there are many uses for statistics, some of them will be “flawed”, some not flawed but merely imperfect (think of predicting the future, our model can be completely right but we’re still looking at a distribution of possibilities because of sample error, so we can’t know what’s going to happen, just the probability distribution of what will happen), and others perfect, like simply counting and recording what happens….so…..yeah. It really depends on what your purpose for the statistic is what way this conversation goes.

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  45. JoeIQ says:

    I suspect Derosa will play 2B. I also suspect this comment is so deep no one will ever read it.

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  46. Steve says:

    I think the Giants are trying to play the big year lottery. They’re trying to find a guy who will put up big numbers on the cheap. I don’t have any math to justify this but just instictively I’d say Huff has a better chance of putting up a 900 OPS this year than either Ishikawa or Garko.

    Personally I think last year was a career year for Ishikawa with an unusually lucky BABIP, luck on the home runs according to HitTrackerOnline (a, and a favorable reading by UZR. Despite all this luck he was a 1 WAR player roughly.

    The big mistake was getting rid of Garko. But that was already a fait accompli when Huff was signed. No sense in compounding one mistake (getting rid of Garko) with another (leaving in Ishi or signing LaRoche to a big deal).

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    • B says:

      I actually think your first paragraph is pretty accurate, both in terms of that being the Giants thought process, and in terms of Huff’s potential. I wouldn’t be surprised if a good forecaster told me Huff has a better chance of having a great year than either of those other two – he’s had great years in the past. My problem is I think, on average, his production is not going to be any better than Ishikawa’s.

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    • DickAlmighty says:

      Isn’t that what Sabean does every year? Signs a bunch of vets, and bets against the odds that one person whose supposed to decline will not?

      Sabean has built a great team of role players to support Barry Bonds. Unfortunately, Barry Bonds isn’t there anymore, so now you’ve got seven role players and Pablo Sandoval, who, despite being a good hitter, is not Barry Bonds.

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      • B says:

        Yep, on average, those veterans do exactly as they’re projected. Every once in a while one overperforms and we all rejoice (ignoring the one who counters by underperforming). In the end, it leaves us….not very good.

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  47. Ghost Dog says:

    First of all, Fred Lewis is a TERRIBLE defender and is addition by subtraction for the Giants. Lewis probably won’t even make the 25 man roster and will either be traded or released. Second, Uribe flourished in the super ultility role last year and may replace Renteria at SS by May, if he continues his decline. The only downside I see to this deal is that the Giants won’t sign Laroche. Would have liked to see him at 1B for the next 2-3 years. I’m also guessing is price was going to come down as only BALT is still in play for him. Laroche played hardball with negotiations and maybe SF should have waited him out a bit longer..Huff may have still been around 3 weeks or so from now.

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    • B-Chad says:

      Clearly not signing LaRoche to a 2-3 year deal is a huge mistake because left-handed power plays awesome in AT&T. Home ballpark recognition = FAIL.

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  48. Ryno says:

    Wow, suggesting that Fred Lewis plays “solid defense”! That’s hilarious. And a “weak” bat is definitely an understatement. Lewis struck out 84 times last season in a grand total of 295 at bats, with 20 RBI and a measly .186 avg with RISP.

    Even during a crappy year last year, Huff drove in 85 runs, something the Giants need badly. One year @ 3MM without holding up any youngsters is not a bad move. Normally, I would hate on Sabes, but this post is ridiculous.

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    • Joe R says:

      omg guyz, RBI!

      And nice, RISP, that’s not a product of a ridiculously low BABIP in a small sample. 2008, Lewis hit .360 with RISP.

      You and the guy below you, come on, if you’re going to try trolling, at least come with something that is a useful point like marklar.

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      • Ryno says:

        omg guyz!

        Useful point: Lewis hit .260 with RISP in 2008, not .360.

        And if you watched him play at all last year, you would realize he’s pretty garbage!

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  49. Larry Ellision says:

    This write is a joke. He should be banned from the internet and sent to North Korea so he can cover ping-pong. Huff is worse than internal options? Prove it. Any fool like you can make a statement. Sandoval is better than A-Rod. Ishikawa is better than Pujols. Any sports writer is better than you.

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    • Nate says:

      seriously did you not read the article because he did provide evidence to why Huff is worse than internal options. If you want to complain about you have to provide evidence to why he’s better or your even worse than him.

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      • Larry Ellision says:

        HAHA, are you kidding. This is what he says: “Travis Ishikawa, a good defender with a weak bat is a better first baseman than Huff, all things considered. The runs saved by Ishikawa outweigh any runs produced by Huff, despite the lack of balance between run production and run prevention for the Giants.”

        In other words the Giants can buy a big big sack of shit and have a just as good defender that can’t hit. It won’t even cost Ishikawa’s 500k.

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  50. Not David says:

    Still not as good as the Jacobs thread, but no less amusing.

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  51. Illustrious says:

    Interesting analysis, but entirely false. We simply don’t know whether Huff can repeat his ’07-’08 successes, but if he can it’s a GREAT deal for Sabean and the Giants. Definitely an upgrade over Ishikawa. Defense is a good tiebreaker, but a 1B does not save more runs than they put up on the board!!! And if they keep Ishikawa they can always put him in for late inning defense.

    The real unknown in the G’s equation is Bowker who plays RF/1B. If he hits in the majors like he did in the minors – a big question mark – he can be a game changer. What tells me that you don’t know the G’s very well is this: Lewis all but gone from the team. If he can’t be traded, he will be released in March and won’t come back with them to SF.

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  52. BakedZito says:

    You’re a moron, Jack. Fred Lewis plays atrocious defense and his bat isn’t even good for sac flies. This is a great deal for the Giants; they didn’t have to give $10M annually to LaRoche and his long loopy swing.

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  53. Mitchell says:

    Don’t forget about Andres Torres. CHONE projects him to be 1.6 WAR. If he’s not DFA’d to make room for Huff, he will be for Bengie. As a yanks fan, I’d like to see a Gardner/Torres platoon.

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  54. Brian says:

    well, I stopped reading after you said that Fred Lewis is a good OFer…..Please watch the Giants before pretending to write an informed article, because if you know anything about Fred Lewis, he is by far the worst LFer in all of baseball…..they guy just flat out misses balls and he cost us a game or two because of that….so your whole article is bunk…..if you are saying it is subtraction by addition (which means getting Aubrey Huff would relegate Fred Lewis to the bench) your article is worthless…..as a Giant’s fan (and everyone else will tell you the same thing), Fred Lewis is the worst player on our team, and either will be traded or designated for assignment…….so, next time you write an article I suggest you get your facts straight before spouting out meaningless dribble….please, keep your day job

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  55. Brian says:

    oh and by the way……have you ever heard of Madison Bumgarner….the top pitching prospect in all of baseball…..he is our number 5 starter…..so no need in spending any significant money on that…..sorry, but you don’t know much about this team…..stop writing about them

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    • Joe R says:

      Because a 20 year old pitcher who has a total of 10 innings past AA is a lock to be a starter.

      Stop saying things.

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    • B-Chad says:

      Congratulations Brian you are the 1000 poster to FAIL today. Brian clearly it is you that don’t know much about this team, though I suppose I should give you props for not spelling Madison Bumgarner’s last name wrong. Bumgarner isn’t a lock for the 5th starter spot, nor should he be. He is working on his secondary offerings (which means non-fastball pitches, I’d hate for that to fly over your head). His velocity was down on his fastball, which is a big deal, considering it’s his only offering, so I’d assume the Giants would like to see that return before trotting him out to the wolves in the Majors. The Giants best option IS to sign a 5th starter so they don’t need to rush Bumgarner. The Giants need to think long-term and let him get some seasoning in Triple-A, plain and simple. As for the Lewis comments, I’m a Giants fan and I watched nearly every game last season as I had no cable and my lone viewing was the MLB package on my computer from April-July, and I don’t agree with your supposed Giants fan consensus that he’s the worst player on the team. I think he’s far from it. While it can be maddening watching him butcher plays, he is at least average in relation to other LF’s (I won’t rehash this any further for the 102318209382103 time). What boggles my mind is why even with his eroding contact rate, he wasn’t given an opportunity to play everyday given his ability to work walks. If nothing else, he should have started every game against RHP’s given his splits that show him as being a solid hitter against them. Given his best skills are his patience (i.e. ability draw walks) and his speed, he would have been a fine in house candidate to lead off. It is downright embarassing to be a Giants fan and read all these know nothing posts that slam the author of this post. This is a well written article, and isn’t just based on statements such as, “OMG DoN’t YoU WaTcH GIANTS GAMES FrEd LeWiS suXXXXXXXX.” End rant, go Giants.

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  56. arsoperative says:

    I second that Jack you are a MORON if you think Fred Lewis plays good defense. He’s terrible. Obviously Jack’s opinion on the Giants is totally illrelevant. On top of that the Giants have no intention on Starting Fred Lewis…..

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  57. Chris says:

    Couldn’t the Giants field Joe Martinez as their 5th starter? They wouldn’t have to keep him for the full season either. If, by the end of the first half of the season, Madison Bumgarner is performing well at AAA they could always call him up and put Martinez back in the pen.

    But I do agree, Huff doesn’t help them at all, and Uribe sitting on the bench instead of starting at just about any position isn’t good.

    I think the Giants would have been better off spending their $3,000,000 on a bargain basement OF like Nady.

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  58. Mister Underhill says:

    Anyone who follows the Giants knows that Fred Lewis isn’t going to start with or without Huff. He would have been a fifth OF at best. And perhaps you’re not aware of a fellow named Madison Bumgarner… he is the second rated SP prospect in the country. Pucetas might get a shot at Spring Training, but he is certainly not the favorite for the number five spot.

    Huff is mediocre, but so is your research.

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  59. Joe says:

    The writer of this article has clearly not watched many Giants games. To call Fred Lewis “solid” defensively is downright laughable. I have not seen a major league player take so many bad angles and mis play so many balls since Glen Allen Hill. He is atrocious defensively. He hits for very little power and despite a ton of speed is a very mediocre base runner. This is a case where all of the new stat evaluations don’t tell the entire story.

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  60. Kevin S. says:

    I have to think the bashers in this thread are all one person who keeps changing his handle. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the exact same drone-like opinion from this many people in one place before.

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    • Adam L says:

      The article is on mlbtraderumors.com and it is horribly written and thought out. This is why everyone is p*ssed off at this unqualified writer who does not have a clue about baseball.

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    • B says:

      I’m beginning to think you might be right. I hope you’re right, because if it really is a bunch of unique people, they’re really making the Giants fanbase look like we’re a bunch of idiots. We’re not all like that, promise….

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      • Kevin S. says:

        I was feeling really sorry for you up thread, having to contend with all of that. It’s like the lone intelligent Philly fan on ESPN.com. At least with my Yankees, there’s a decent subset of people who know what they’re talking about, even if the vast majority are flatulent morons.

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      • B says:

        Yeah, usually they don’t invade the places I read, though (which tend to be where you find the knowledgeable fans). Stupid MLBtraderumors….

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    • oldjacket says:

      you’ve never seen the SF Chronicle’s comments!

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  61. Adam L says:

    This is a horribly thought out article.

    1) Fred Lewis was never going to start even if the Giants signed no FAs. It was going to be Velez/Torres and Schierholtz.

    2) Fred Lewis is a solid defender LMAO!!! Did you ever watch him play? I don’t think so.

    3) Pucetas is not the 5th starter no matter how to slice it. He is a spot starter at best. They will either sign a FA 5th starter or let Bumgarner the best MilB pitcher have a shot.

    You, sir, fail at writing baseball articles.

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      • WY says:

        Except he didn’t really say anything about stats. I think his information re: the Giants depth chart is more on target than Jack Moore’s.

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      • B says:

        Well, his first point is correct – Fred is the best player of that bunch, but Sabean was going to bench him because Sabean’s an idiot, so on that technicality, Adam L is right. The second one does seem to imply a complete lack of understanding into UZR. The third one should have stats behind the underlying point he made about Pucetas….right?

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      • Kevin S. says:

        B, does Sabean tell Bochy who to play, or does he just give him a roster? Not that I think Bruce is any smaller a pile of fail, just curious on a trivial level.

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      • “2) Fred Lewis is a solid defender LMAO!!! Did you ever watch him play? I don’t think so.” == Stat Fail

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      • Joe R says:

        This is the same Bruce Bochy who refused to play Buster Posey (and wasted a month of service time) in a playoff push, opting to give the dynamic Molina / Whiteside duo 109 PA’s to Posey’s 17 in September.

        But hey, Molina’s OBP broke .300 in September, that has to count for something, right?

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      • B says:

        Kevin, my impression is they let Bochy have the ultimate say (not completely certain about this, though), but they’re definitely both involved in the process, and both deserve a large amount of blame for those things. I can’t find the exact quote right now but Bochy said something this offseason about how he and Sabean discuss the lineup all the time during the season.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Joe, Molina’s OBP broke .300 going which way?

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      • JoeR43 says:

        Surprisingly, over .300 in September.

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  62. kap88 says:

    I completely agree with Adam–does the person who wrote this article even follow the Giants? Quite frankly I have never read a blog article with so many mistakes–it proves it is true that people can say virtually anything on the web and there are no quality checks. This was unbelievable to me–so much so that I took the time to respond. Fred is not even on the Giant’s radar (there are at least 3 others ahead of him for that final outfield spot). Fred has horrible defense–a better bat at one point–and tremendous speed. Juan Uribe was one of the best bats on the team during the 2nd half–not even a weak bat…Madison is the 5th starter–not Kevin P. I could go on further–these are just such glaring mistakes and spoken with such authority. Unbelievable really…I’ve never seen such a poor write-up in my entire life.

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    • WY says:

      I agree that the combination of “glaring mistakes…spoken with such authority” is what gets me the most. And it is sometimes the case that some of the bloggers will give WAR-heavy analysis of a team that they might not be as familiar about as they need to be. In these cases, the over-the-top arrogance can be pretty tough to take.

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  63. B says:

    I suspect the person that keeps posting the same opinion and changing their handle is none other than Brian Sabean…

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  64. vivaelpujols says:

    Huff has spent the last two years in the AL East, where he has faced the toughest pitching (and defense) in baseball more than nearly anyone else. It would have been nice to see you make a league or quality of pitchers faced adjustment on Huff’s past 3 season, then re-doing a rough Marcel’s.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      AL-to-NL is believed to be ~ 0.25-0.5 WAR. The AL East might be a bit more, but the NL West, for as much as it’s ragged on, has pretty decent pitching. It’s the offense that lacks.

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    • Or, failing that, you could just look at CHONE’s context-neutral (for park and league) projected linear weights, now with Huff in SF:

      http://www.baseballprojection.com/2010/SFN2010.htm

      CHONE has Huff as a +1/150 hitter. So even as an average defender at 1B, he projects a sub 1 WAR player over a full season.

      But enough of this. I was hoping we could hear from a Giants fan or two who had seen Fred Lewis’ defense and could give an opinion on it as opposed to worthless-ol’ UZR.

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      • Joe R says:

        MATT DUDE, DEY SEE HIM PLAY, WE NO NOTHIN

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      • B says:

        AT&T is going to sap Huff’s HR power, though, so I think you can safely project his offensive production down. AT&T is basically a neutral park for hitting, but more specifically, it’s almost impossible to hit HR’s to RF there. If you check out Huff’s spraychart….every one of his HR’s is dead pull. Those don’t go out in our park unless they’re absolute bombs or right down the line.

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      • Daveinexile says:

        Haveing followed the Giants scine the end of the 2 Willies Days ( Mays & McCovey) ,Non stat wise, I would say Lewis is Lonny Smiths son. Very good rage, good speed, poor breaks on the ball, reasonable arm and his hands seems to have spasms at unpredicable times. He isn’t pretty but he is effective over all and entirely capable of messing up any single defensive play.

        The Rib Eyes / build a MLB team like a beer league softball team give him extra crap because they got spoiled seeing Bonds out there so once Lewis started off the season slumping at the plate he became that faction’s Whipping Boy and frankly nothing was going to reduce Rowand’s, Winn’s, Molinia’s or Renteria’s play time as the season went on so they just transferred their frustration on to Lewis.

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  65. Yak says:

    Please, MLB Trade Rumors, do not open your awful gates to this site by linking here again.

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    • Joe R says:

      I think we may have to troll MLB Trade Rumors if they’re going to troll here.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        I’ve never trolled before, but apparently it’s what all the cool kids (as opposed to us pointy-headed stat geeks) do.

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      • Joe R says:

        It’s easy, here’s some templates that’ll help send any moron off:

        For ironic faux-agreement:

        – J.D. Drew sucks look at his batting average and RBI
        – Ichiro is the best hitter ever
        – Ryan Howard is underrated
        – Mark Teixeira is a gold glover
        – FRED LEWIS SUX!!! (evidently)

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Of course JD Drew sucks. I’d have to hand in my Universe membership card if I suggested otherwise. :-P

        I’ve got no problem with Teix being considered a gold glover at first base. Given the relative paucity of range in a first baseman’s defensive value, the metrics are going to have trouble with the position, so I’ll take the word of scouts (and to my own untrained eye, he did look pretty beastly).

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      • JoeR43 says:

        I never thought he was all that special.
        I mean, he seems good, but the orgasm people had over his defense (especially as a 1B) bordered on insane. Even Youkilis has never approached that tent-pitched level of love.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Reputation + Contract + New York + Webgems will do that, certainly. Also, following Jason Giambi is a good way to make a solid impression. And this is entirely subjective and not being used as an actually analysis, but Teix just looks good doing his thang over there.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Also, what’s up with the 43 appearing in your handle at random?

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      • JoeR43 says:

        Sometimes I’m logged in, others I’m not.

        Currently, logged in.

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  66. Big Oil says:

    More surprising than the number of comments here?

    obsessivegiantscompulsive wasn’t one of them!

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  67. Joe R says:

    Thanks for the entertainment today, office was dull.

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  68. Richard says:

    I’ll read through the comments in a bit, but I can’t say this quick enough – You sir, are a blithering idiot.

    Fred Lewis isn’t being ‘pushed’ anywhere. He isn’t even in competition for a bench spot at this point. He’ll be lucky if he’s on the roster Opening Day.

    Uribe’s bat is not ‘weak’, as you so tritely mention. His bat kept the Giants in the chase for 40 games at the end of ’09.

    Huff is an upgrade over Ishikawa, especially when you consider Ishi’s terrible R/L and H/A splits. Even if used in a platoon, he’s a worthwhile addition for a reasonable cost.

    Get your head out of the advanced statistics every once in a while and see what’s ACTUALLY occurring in the sport. This article is worthless.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      Uribe’s bat is not ‘weak’, as you so tritely mention. His bat kept the Giants in the chase for 40 games at the end of ‘09.

      Last year was the first time in half a decade Uribe’s bat even remotely approached league average, though it did clear that standard comfortably. Wanna bet on *that* repeating itself?

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      • Richard says:

        I’m not betting on Uribe repeating his success, but at the same time, Huff is neither taking away his spot on the roster, nor will I expect him to repeat his bad luck from ’09.

        The writer of this article is woefully unaware of the actual state of the Giants’ system, and that’s the problem. I can deal with knowledgable disagreement and analysis of a signing, but this drivel misses the mark entirely. The projected lineup involved DeRosa at 3B and Sandoval at 1B, not Derosa LF, Uribe 3B, Sandoval 1B. Uribe, before the Huff signing, was slated to be a super utility player again. Maybe he would’ve won a spot in ST, maybe not, but that’s what the expectation was. This writer completely ignored every piece of credible, verifiable information available when “researching” for this piece, and it shows.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        You certainly seemed to be betting on it, because only by focusing on ’09 and ignoring ’05-’08 could you conclude that his bat isn’t weak, which is what you said. I have no knowledge of what the Giants are doing, so I can’t comment on the rest of your claims, but the criticism I focused on was unfounded on your part.

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    • B says:

      “Fred Lewis isn’t being ‘pushed’ anywhere. He isn’t even in competition for a bench spot at this point. He’ll be lucky if he’s on the roster Opening Day.”

      This is true, however, some Giants fans out there (really just speaking for myself) like to ignore this and pretend Sabean isn’t that dumb, because Fred’s the best OF we have on our team.

      “Uribe’s bat is not ‘weak’, as you so tritely mention. His bat kept the Giants in the chase for 40 games at the end of ‘09.”

      Well, this is true for last year, but as it’s already been said, it’s the first time since 2004 since he’s been close to, much less above, league average as a hitter.

      “Huff is an upgrade over Ishikawa, especially when you consider Ishi’s terrible R/L and H/A splits”

      This is not true. Ishikawa isn’t very good, that much we can agree on. The problem is, Huff is at least as bad, and probably even worse. H/A splits in a sample of 500 total career PA’s don’t mean a thing. Same with R/L, and if you look back at his minor league numbers, his splits aren’t that big – and even that’s too small a sample to get much from. You have to assume his R/L splits are the same as any other lefties in that case.

      “Get your head out of the advanced statistics every once in a while and see what’s ACTUALLY occurring in the sport.”

      Why is it assumed that people who take the time to educate themselves on “advanced statistics” don’t know what “actually” occurs in the sport? Do we realize statistics are simply a record of what “actually occurred”? How is taking the time to learn more about the game a negative thing that somehow discredits someones opinion?

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  69. Fred Lewis says:

    I just want to thank my defenders here at fangraphs for finally realizing I’m not all that bad of an outfielder. Yeah I like to take unorthadox routes to balls, but thats just me getting in a little practice so i can keep up my wide reciever skills (you never know, especially when the Niners keep playing Arnez Battle). Also, part of making the routine plays look difficult is me just not wanting to show up my boy ManRam. If you want me to I’ll stop with all the shennaigans and show my boy Carl crwaford how to REALLY play the outfield.

    Also I’ve been working with my boy Barry on putting on some muscle and my contact. He calls it the fast track plan to a 1.000+ OPS… i trust the guy. He hit a lot of HRs so it can’t hurt. Your boy Freddie and the Kung Fu Panda gonna bring it in 2010, check it.

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    • Jim Edmonds says:

      No sweat.

      I used to run just fast enough to finish off each routine play with a dive.

      Nothing was as satisfying as making a diving catch on a ball that I could have caught at navel height, had I kept running at regular speed. It’s better than those over the shoulder, behind the back catches I’d make at the warning track.

      It’s all about style. Routine fly outs are fascist and boring. I don’t remember where I heard that phrase, but it was probably from somewhere cool.

      Once and a while, throw in a botched sliding catch attempt just to give a virtual “shout out” to Manny. Fans seems to love you more when you that stuff, cut off throws you have no business catching, and rolling over on balls that you drop. If Manny were a rodeo, he’d be the rider and the clown. It’s more fun like that.

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  70. CircleCircle11 says:

    The descriptions of Fred Lewis (who I admittingly don’t see much of) remind me of Willie McGee. McGee was known for “mental lapses” (to be kind), both on the bases and in CF. He was also known to just plain drop balls either from taking his eye of it too early, or due to the aforementioned “lapses” (he was also prone for getting picked off first base while looking into home plate before the P released the ball). Throw in swinging at pitches in the dirt, and you can have a guy that is very frustrating to watch. However, all the good things he did far outnumbered the “brain fart” type plays.

    Anyway, back to what I was going to say, McGee would take bad routes and break back on shallow balls, but his “recovery speed” (to use a football term) was just outstanding. He could break in on a ball over his head and end up making what would appear to be a “great running catch on the track”. Combines with his leaping ability, and he won 3 GG’s (Go figure). Compared to a technical and instinctual OF like Van Slyke, the difference was significant.

    I doubt that Lewis’s recovery speed is as good as McGee’s or fans might find him more endearing (or if he could hit like Willie). But, my overall point is NOT to over-puninish the mental/physical blunders at the expense of recognizing that speed allows for some mistakes and still be able to make plays that other OFs might not make. It’s not fair, certainly, some some guys have this speed to make up for poor judgement and/or skill, but that speed sure does come in handy, if you’re willing to look at the total package.

    I will say, overall, Fred Lewis is no Willie McGee. Their similarities seem to be [1] Occassional blunders, [2] speed.

    As for the other stuff, it does appear that the G’s are making some attempts at increasing their offense, which killed an otherwise good team (as funny as it sounds to call SFG a “good team” with such a poor offense). Huff is what he is. He could be a big payoff if he has a great (relative) year, and he could just be a 3M, 1-WR player, in which case the only downside is if he is blocking someone of much greater value … which it does not seem like he is.

    The moves overall, will likely be judged on how DeRosa hits (duh). If he hits well, then he may be a good fit in LF. Heck , if he hits well he’s a good fit at 2B, 3B, 1B, etc. SFG do appear to have some flexibility in where guys play, being able to rest guys, and even cope with some injuries since they are not entirely dependint on 1 or 2 hitters. Again, that sounds funny given their anemic offense.

    IMO, the 2 most interesting teams are both in the West, the Mariners and the Giants … seeing how their moves/changes translate into wins (or not).

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    • durs836 says:

      You bring up a great… let me say it again, GREAT point. Fred Lewis’ problem is between his ears and ever Giants fan knows that. Where the real frustration comes from is he came into ’09 as being the savior, not Sandoval. Many fans, including myself saw an early Bonds in the making… mixing power and speed enough to enter the 30/30 club. He has shown that type of potential and many dubbed him (incorrectly at that) to be the chosen one. He started off that way too in the first few weeks of the season, made a few goofy plays and started declining. Thats what will forever cement him as a terrible defender…. he’s average at best but he’s also not terrible, those titles are reserved for the likes of Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham.

      So again Fred Lewis has the skills enough to be an average to solid ball player but his problem is in his head, not with his skills. I tend to look at the glass half full, but i think given the chance he can bounce back from last season AND the dude has a power stroke, just needs to start making contact with the right pitches. He’s not very good at looking fastball, adjusting to offspeed… he does the opposite which gets him behind when he gets the fast ball which either means foul ball or whiff. That can be corrected with the right coaching… but on the bright side he has the tools to work with unlike some other guys like Velez.

      BTW… i like the fact that you guys found the humor in my Fred Lewis post

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    • durs836 says:

      and BTW… one thing Lewis needs to learn is how to properly utilize his speed. He’s one of the faster guys in the game right now but can’t steal a base consistently to save his life because again there is not much going on upstairs. He’s a waste of a natural athlete… at the end of the day, to be elite at anything in baseball requires an elite ability to out think your opponent. That is something i’m afraid Lewis will never be able to do well.

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    • B says:

      Well, the McGee comparison seems almost exactly right on – you describing Willie McGee sounds like Fred Lewis to me. The only difference is Fred has great plate discipline (in that he just doesn’t swing at all) – so you won’t see him swing at balls in the dirt. Instead, he takes called strike 3’s down the middle. That “discipline” comes with a lot of walks, though, so I’m really not complaining.

      I did think the Lewis/Edmonds dialogue was funny, and a refreshing little break from a normally very serious, analysis based site. I have one thing to say, though…I really don’t see the power potential in Fred that you do. He’s always had gap power, which is great, especially as a lefty in SF, but he’s never been much of a HR hitter. I think Sabean miscast him in a “run producer” role, and when he didn’t hit HR’s, saw him as a failure (ignoring all the good things he brings, especially gettting on base)…even though a lot of it had to do with the hitters in front of him never getting on base. So Sabean decided Lewis failed because he didn’t hit those 30 HR’s…and so started Lewis’ exile from the San Francisco Giants for getting on base too much.

      The expectations Sabean sets to begin with are off, we should have never expected a power hitter or bought into that potential. At this point he’s unlikely to get any better, so he is what he is, but that’s a useful player making the minimum. He would help the Giants a lot, but it looks like the more likely scenario is he helps some other team instead – one that has a GM that isn’t as incompetent as Sabean, somehow the longest tenured GM in baseball….but that’s a conversation for another day.

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      • durs836 says:

        The power potential is there if consider he has the ability to hit HRs. That ability is more in his mechanics/build, which even Bonds has said he could be a monster if he LEARNED the art of hitting for power. Thats the biggest illusion i see in just analyzing stats… the idea of power on the stat side is just his historical production, which speaks nothing to the potential of the player. That potential is something only a keen eye (scout/coach/player/enlightened fan) can see… Lewis as well as Ishikawa have the mechanical/build potential to hit 30+ bombs, but what they lack (at least from watching them) is the right approach and an elite eye which some never develop.

        So i know you guys here rather crunch numbers than analyze tapes, but Freddie COULD be made into a monster hitter or even a monster leadoff guy. he just seems to be too dumb or never had the right coaching to help him achieve that potential. As a Giants fan the biggest criticism i have for the organization is in the coaches they hire… Botch is what he is and i think he’s a pretty decent game coach but the development program they have in the minors doesn’t teach these guys squat which could be seen all last season in the inability to lay down a bunt when the situation called for it… the idea of actually grooming players for certain roles is lost on our minor league system. Not every player will have the raw talent of the lieks of a Sandoval, Pujols, Arod, etc…. the others need groomed with an end goal in mind. That seems lost on the Giants minor league system and the hitting/base running coaches they’ve hired at the ML level seemed like they were hired based on what they did as ball players and not as coaches. Until that changes (and getting Muellens at the ML level is a great first step), i fear no matter what we draft, we’ll never be able to develop the type of players that could make our offense match our pitching.

        Sorry for the long post, but when i see Fred Lewis i see a lot of wasted talent. In the right hands he could be made into an above average player… but the Giants organization can’t seem to do that and then set absurd expectations when these kids hit the ML level. BTW… there is a rumor that the Giants brass brought Bonds in to work with Lewis this offseason (actually they tried to hire him as a coach in some form but he turned it down). If this is not just a rumor, maybe we will see a different guy this spring. Say what you will about the roids but Bonds had the best hitting approach of just about anyone I’ve seen play ball, so if anyone can teach Lewis the true art of hitting, i hope it would be Barry. But then again those that can do, usually aren’t the best teachers… its the ones that can’t who usually are the best teachers.

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      • JoeR43 says:

        I think you’re missing the point of statistical analysis, durs836.

        The point isn’t projecting what Lewis COULD do, it’s projecting what is expected based on past performance. Sure, some can pull a Ben Zobrist and suddenly ISO around .250 when he was mostly a low to mid .100’s guy in the minors with a change in mechanics, but it’s not something you can project.

        It’s like when people said if Adam Dunn just learned how to make more contact, he’d be a legend. Well, maybe, but maybe that’s just not in the cards. He flashed a Major League equivalent ISO of .134 in 2006 at Fresno, that’s pretty much been his high point. So sure, he could fix his swing and start driving the ball more, but the norm usually wins out in the end.

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      • B says:

        “So i know you guys here rather crunch numbers than analyze tapes, but Freddie COULD be made into a monster hitter or even a monster leadoff guy.”

        Thanks for that. You do realize that generally people interested in the statistics of baseball are interested because they like baseball in general, right? So yeah, most of us do actually watch it. Here’s the reason I don’t see power potential (for HR’s) in Lewis. First – he’s only been successful as a hitter overall when he’s kept his swing short. When it starts to get long (which he needs it to be to hit HR’s), he just strikes out too much and doesn’t make contact enough to succeed. He also is successful when he’s spraying the ball all over the field – but to hit HR’s, he has to pull the ball (all his HR’s except one in 2008 and 2009 were to RF or RCF…the one exception was to dead CF), and that approach doesn’t work for him. Finally, he’s never really shown the ability, and he’s at the age where he’s unlikely to suddenly develop into a whole different player. Maybe once upon a time he had that potential, but the Giants failed to bring it out in him, and it’s too late to start over now.

        I do think you’re right about the whole Giants organization’s failures in developing hitters, though. I don’t think there’s a successful strategy in place (in fact, I think there’s a failing strategy in palce that develops hackers with no patience), and I don’t think we have good/knowledgeable teachers throughout our organization to help these kids develop. Maybe another org could have made Lewis into a good power hitter, I don’t know.

        A monster leadoff hitter, on the other hand – definitely see the potential for that. I lokoed at his career production recently, and he’s actually been a better hitter over his career than your average leadoff hitter from the NL put up in 2009, both in terms of overall production (wOBA) and getting on base. So he’s already a little above average, and definitely has the potential to be better…

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      • circlechange11 says:

        Unfortunately, I learned this through my own baseball career. Potential is simply “unproven ability”. It really isn;t worth a whole lot unless you’re ‘potential’ is the realm of “extremem elite”. If it’s not in that category, then it’s most likely to go in the ‘wasted’ category.

        Secondly, almost all of the guys in MLB are who they are. Lewis isn;t going to develop into a power hitter at the MLB level any more than Ryan Howard is going to develop into a double to the oppo gap hitter.

        The pitching at the MLB level is far too difficult for guys that are “struggling to survive” to develop something spectacular simultaneously.

        Fred Lewis is who we thought he was. I’m you wanna crown him, then crown him … but we let him off the hook. Sorry rant from athe wrong sport. Bad me.

        At this point the best Lewis can hope for is to steal a base late in a playoff game, that helps lead to the series win, and he can be remembered for being much better than he actually was.

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      • durs836 says:

        JoeR43… I’m not missing the point, I actually get the point very clearly. Also don’t take my responses as disagreeing because i get and respect the analysis and for the most part agree with it. I also understand that you can throw out as many stats as you want, but without the narrative (watching tapes of a player/understanding the roles he was asked to fulfill) you will never have a complete picture of a players season.

        So i do get how projections are made and how most of the time they’re accurate, but like anything other metric, its just a number until you combine it with a scouting report and tapes on a player. So when i say Lewis COULD turn into something it has more to do with saying he has the potential, which is based more on his build/mechanics. When you say trends show he most likley Shouldn’t be anything more than average you’re using statistical analysis. Both are correct forecastings that should be combined to make a decision on. At the end of the day a metric, analysis or scouting report is useless unless some decision one way or another is going to be made.

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      • JoeR43 says:

        You’re pretty much making the Dave Duncan argument if I’ve ever heard one, aka slap a toolsy player with a good coach and he might shine. Makes sense.

        Still not sure if I see why, given we’ve all seen enough of Lewis at this point both visually and statistically, that we should still hold ourselves on a high reliance for tools. Unless he has a breakout, he’s a 4th OF type player.

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      • durs836 says:

        B… didnt mean to imply anyone doesn’t watch it. I actually think it would be very sad if someone spent all this time analyzing baseball stats and didnt watch many games. What i meant by watching tape is watching their mechanics in a cage or BP. Yeah its not a real life situation, but if anyone has ever had the joy of watching Lewis in BP, would know the dude can crush the ball. Why he can’t do that in the game comes down to his plate approach and his ability to read ML level pitching. And no you do not need a long swing to hit bombs, you can do it with a short swing (which will generate the same amount of momentum) if you have enough upper body strength and are selective about which pitches you look to go yard with. bonds is the perfect example of that.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        but if anyone has ever had the joy of watching Lewis in BP, would know the dude can crush the ball. Why he can’t do that in the game comes down to his plate approach and his ability to read ML level pitching.

        Okay, without over-analyzing the differences between BP and actual game pitches ….

        If MLB pitchers threw …

        [1] 75mph fastballs
        [2] straight as an arrow
        [3] down the middle of the plate

        then Fred Lewis (and basically everyone in college) would be a decent MLB power hitter. I’m not being snarky, I’m just stating the obvious. Lots of guys can ‘put on a show’ in BP, if that’s their aim. I know broadcasters go crazy with Wade Boggs and Ichiro’s BP power performance, and I wonder why?

        And no you do not need a long swing to hit bombs, you can do it with a short swing (which will generate the same amount of momentum) if you have enough upper body strength and are selective about which pitches you look to go yard with. bonds is the perfect example of that.

        If you’re relying on upper body strength to hit HRs at the MLB level, then you better be among the strongest 5% in the league, with a quick bat (not likely). Power comes from the legs/hips via hip rotation (VERY quickly). Bonds and Pujols are two of the best “hip rotators” ever, despite taking different approaches (Bonds narrow stance, bat close to body … Pujols wide stance, bat away from body). Pujols rotates so violently that his back foot often comes off the ground, alla Frank Thomas (completely dismantling the “squish the bug” myth). The upper-body & arms are just the “last links” in the chain.

        Fred Lewis, will not and cannot develop into a power hitter at the MLB level. He doesn’t generate the explosive hip rotation, nor possess the bat speed & strength, to get it done.

        You mention momentum, which is mass x velocity. The mass stays the same (bat), so the only way to get more momentum is to swing the bat faster. Good luck improving that at the MLB level. If Fred Lewis could swing the bat faster/harder, he most certainly would. He’s not holding back, saving something for the later years of his career.

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      • durs836 says:

        CircleChange11… i agree with you on the lower body, but my comment about upper body strength was more in reference to guys that already generate explosion with the hips but have a shorter extension with the arms. MOST power hitters have very long swing which creates the extra momentum and hence more power. Those players require a greater swing speed than the guys who have shorter swings, therefore guys with the shorter swing need more strength in the upper body (a la Bonds). ALL power hitters have a huge explosion in the lower body and hips, but a guy that has a shorter swing need to compensate with upper body strength to create the force needed to get the same pop. The benefit of a shorter swing is a faster swing speed so again Lewis can be a power hitter, the difference between him and guys that hit 30+ bombs is that those guys hit the right pitches to go yard with.

        And as far as the BP comment i clearly stated its nothing like actual ML pitching. But most players cannot hit HRs in BP as consistently as Lewis and when he hits them, he HITS them. So again he has the capability to hit the bombs, just doesnt possess the brains, the eye and the experience to do it consistently against ML pitching.

        But just to put this to rest, i do agree with you that the likelihood of Lewis miracliously turning into a perrenial power hitter is slim to none. If he hasn’t done it by now then he most likely never will. BUT the idea that he doesn’t possess the physical ability is not true… his mechanics are solid, just doesnt have it going on where it really counts, about 3 ft above his bum.

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      • B says:

        Extending your hands to lengthen your swing can produce more power – the farther the bat head is from you, the faster it’s angular velocity…

        But as I said, and as all Giants fans will actually agree with I think – when Lewis’ swing gets long, he really struggles, and cannot hit at an acceptable level.

        To be fair, I looked it up, and for Fred’s 2008 season, he did actually hit his HR’s pretty far. They were pretty much all solid – definitely not cheapies. But I still agree that his power is still line drive gap power and I don’t see him improving on it substantially.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        I also forgot to mention ‘The Kid’, who in his prime was a perfect example of a batter with a big ass & legs and a slight upper body that ripped the ball with other-worldy hip rotation.

        The notion that batters must get their “arms extended” to hit with power, overlooks the obvious fact that most sluggers are bigger guys with longer arms, and thus often need to get their arms further from their body (as to prevent jamming themselves), to drive the ball deep.

        Another aspect is bat speed. Power hitters generally have bat speeds measuring at around 100mph or greater. (Strong guys, swinging a light bat, very quickly). Pujols, FWIW, has a bat speed in the upper 80s, signifying a more line drive type hitter, or some type of ‘tweener’. This is why Bryce Harper gets so much adoration. The youngster had MLB Power Hitter bat speed at 16 (unreal).

        I mentioned him earlier, but Chase Utley is an absolute freak in this regard, and should get more attention for his unbelievably compact, short, power (slightly upward) swing. He also has shorter arms, and is a smallish ‘slugger’ so he doesn’t need to get his arms as “far out” (from his body) as a bigger guy (like Howard). You’ll sometimes see Utley mash balls that look like he “should get jammed”. He would …. if his arms were longer.

        The other item not mentioned is the path of the bat. In order to hit a ball travelling on a downward plane (6’0+ foot pitcher throwing off a mound), as a line drive or hard fly ball, the bat has to travel at a slightly upward path (not like the “swing level” crap we’re taught in Little League). Griffey, Bonds, and Pujols are perfect examples (as is, IMO, Prince Fielder). Rarely, do they “swing level”. If they do, you end up hitting the “top half” of the ball which results in grounders (even if you center it with a level swing, you’re more likely to get a 1-hop grounder, than a solid line drive), not liners or fly balls. The slightly upward path combined with striking the “center” of the ball with the “center” of the barrel results in balls that have the “right” trajectory to travel a long way.

        I do not watch Lewis often (I’m in Illinois), but given that he’s a speed guy, he has probably been taught to “swing level”, use his arms to a greater degree, with a shorter type swing, to maximize contact and reduce fly balls. Likely not too far from the “Willie Mays Hayes” type of thing. In short, his whole swing is likely different from that of a power hitter. (Lewis is a career 28% fly ball batter, 54% ground ball). Chase Utley, a little smaller than Lewis is a career 49% FB, 31% GB guy. It’s swing path, Baby. Also, 27% of Utley’s fly balls leave the yard. Lewis sees 9%.

        So, not only would Lewis likely need to get stronger, but he’d have to have a complete “swing makeover” … all the while “practicing” that swing on pitches that are 85+ mph, changing speeds, lots of movement, and being spotted all over the plate/zone.

        PEDs aside, as we have seen with countless batters (and pitchers), when they get to the ML level, they are who they are.

        It’s interesting discussion … at least to me.

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      • durs836 says:

        nice post CircleChange11… and i agree Lewis would probably need a complete swing make over and would need to learn the approach of the players you mentioned due to the main fact (as you said) he swings along a flat plain.

        Its funny a lot of the stuff you mentioned is things i talk about with my swing coach (golf of course at this point) but many of the same things apply. And i think you inadvertantly hit on why Lewis struggled as much as he did last year. When they had him plugged in the 3 spot at the beginning of last year he started with his same old flat swing… and for the first three weeks was performing better than anybody expected. EXCEPT he wasn’t hitting any bombs… he then started bringing in a slight upper cut and all of asudden not only was he not hitting, he was swinging over pitches at an absurd rate and his SOs ballooned.

        I said it before and i’ll go back to it again… the Giants farm system is very good at wasting a players raw talent. The word groom is not in their vocabulary… maybe thats why the best players that come out of our system are the ones that spend the least time there. Maybe there is too much expectations from fans like me but i would think a guy who was touted as potentially Bonds’ replacement would have been groomed to be a power hitter BEFORE he got to the majors.

        None the less very good discussion… a nice break from the UZR war Lewis created.

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  71. John says:

    Fred Lewis sucks at defense, watch the games its pretty obviouse, big deal if hes better on paper at defense than all star type offensive players playing Lf on other teams. He will never even be a decent offensive player so why would he ever start on our team? We needed more offense this offseason and have failed to deliver. Chone Figgins should have been our guy, he would have been a great additon in every way possible, thanks alot sabean

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  72. TheImpossibleMan says:

    Isn’t there a chance Huff acts as a backup? He’d be good as a LH pinch hitter and would be quite acceptable as the backup 1B. You talk like it’s simply automatic that he’s the starter – which I don’t know, maybe that’s the case, but it seems to me like he could be an effective guy off the bench.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      Given the Giants stated desire to add more offense at all costs this offseason, reasonable people would conclude that he’s being brought in to start. Not saying what you suggested isn’t a logical use for him, just that it seems unlikely given the situation.

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  73. oldjacket says:

    I see the Fred Lewis wars have come to Fangraphs.How can such a thoroughly average player be so controversial?

    McCovey Chronicles also experienced some epic meltdowns discussing him last year.

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    • JoeR43 says:

      Average may even be a generous way to describe him.

      Educate me here, why does it seem like so many Giant fans have such an irrational distaste for Fred Lewis that they’re willing to short sell their own team to bash him? A 29 year old with a career 101 OPS+ playing sometimes debaucherous but overall acceptable due to range defense in an easy position is no star, obviously, but at $440,000 salary in 2009, it’s far from shitfit-worthy.

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      • B says:

        Because he does things that are really frustrating, and to the casual observer who doesn’t take the time to look past that, he seems terrible. In the field Lewis truly does make more frustrating mistakes than anyone else I’ve watched in baseball – he just flat out drops routine balls, he can look ridiculous with some of the routes he takes…..so yeah, it makes his defense look really bad. Combine that with striking out a lot (and often looking), and you get a player, that “to the eyes”, looks bad. And you know there are a lot more casual fans that don’t know what they’re talking about then educated fans you typically find around here, so it’s kind of turned into a little war between educated fans and casual fans who “want the game”. Throw in a little mix of Bochy/Sabean taking the casual fans side and hating Fred and pretty much blaming him every time Bengie hits into a double play, and thus benching him for far worse players like Eugenio Velez…and yeah, it becomes a pretty passionate issue.

        Those of us who hate Sabean take up the cause because it represents so much more than just Fred Lewis – it represents the failing ways of an organization that that refuses to acknolwedge its failing ways and continues to repeat the same mistake over and over again, refuses to acknolewdge the importance of getting on base in this post-“Moneyball” world. In short, Fred Lewis represents progress within our organization – englightenment on the part of our management. That they still don’t get it is frustrating and maddening. On the other hand, to the rest of the fans, they’re just so convinced that “what they see” accurately represents reality, that they refuse to believe evidence to the contrary, as you’ve seen throughout the comments section. I recently read a psychology paper (more like just the abstract, but oh well) that basically concludes the less a person knows about a subject, the more they overestimate how much they know about it…and I think baseball fans drive that point home to the extreme…

        I will note I also see this same kind of thing when discussing similar things, like Al Jefferson and how he actually sucks at basketball (in the context of how his production helps his team win – quick summary: it doesn’t). Fans that don’t understand efficiency and point to things like “points per game” (kind of like basketball’s RBI’s) just don’t know what they’re talking about but take his cause up pretty passionately, so suggesting he may not be very good can lead to some pretty heated arguments…

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Ah, points per game. The reason my boy Brook got jobbed out of ROY last year. Well, that and his draft slot.

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      • JoeR43 says:

        Like how in 07-08, Al Jefferson was credited with -542 points?

        Albeit last year he was +191

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      • JoeR43 says:

        And for anyone who hates on Paul Pierce:
        Him in ’08
        vs.
        Kobe in ’08

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      • Kevin S. says:

        To be fair, there are selection bias issues with those numbers, since basketball players tend to play the majority of their minutes with the same group within a season.

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      • JoeR43 says:

        True, and of course, one team’s “star” or even perceived star is going to play against the other team’s best, while his teammates will get to log more minutes vs. bench players.

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  74. Circlechange11 says:

    Short power swing — Chase Utley. But, I’m inclined to say that’s something you cannot ‘teach’ at the MLB level.

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