Sizemore Will Come Around

Cleveland Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore entered the 2009 season perched near the top of any fantasy draft list you could get your eyes on. His talents are obvious: the 26 year-old owns a career .369 wOBA, a .275/.366/.485 line and he swiped in excess of 30 bases in each of the past two seasons. Sizemore looked like a very wise investment, and one with upside to boot as he entered what are typically the peak years for hitters.

Instead, Grady’s wOBA sits at a gruesome .299. After compiling 35.2 Batting Runs in 2008, Sizemore checks in at a minuscule -5.5 in 2009. By either measure, he has been the least productive Indian among batters taking at least 50 PA.

So, is it time to barter Sizemore in hopes of recouping some value on that high draft pick? When you dig a little deeper into Grady’s subpar season, the answer becomes apparent: heck no.

In most respects, Sizemore’s core numbers are in line with his stellar work in previous seasons. His walk rate is 11.1 percent, very near his 11.3% career average, and his Outside-Swing Percentage is 19.4% in 2009 (18.6 career average). His strikeout rate is slightly higher this season (24.9%, compared to a 22.6% career average), but not alarmingly so.

Sizemore is driving the ball a little less this season with a .181 Isolated Power (Slugging% minus BAVG; his career average is .210), but it isn’t as though he has been punchless. He’s still making plenty of hard contact, too, with a 20.8% line drive rate (21% career average). Sizemore isn’t suddenly chopping the ball into the dirt frequently, either, with a 35.4 groundball percentage and a 43.8 flyball percentage (his career marks are 36.7% and 42.3%, respectively).

So, if the 2009 version of Grady so closely resembles the 2004-2008 models, then why is his lumber in the gutter? While he is getting jammed more often than usual (his infield/flyball percentage is 17.5%, compared to a 7.4% career average), the main culprit is a .240 BABIP that’s nearly 80 points below his career average of .319. That’s one of the 15 lowest marks in the majors, and goes a long way toward explaining why he has more closely resembled Carlos Gomez at the dish, instead of the championship-caliber player we have come to know and love.

Sizemore hasn’t been himself on the base paths to this point (7 SB and 6 caught stealings, with a 3.9 Speed Score that’s way below his 7.1 career mark). However, there’s not much to worry about regarding his hitting. Sizemore should commence lashing pitches into the gaps and getting on base at a healthy clip from here on out. If you have weathered the storm to this point, hold steady: Grady’s not playing nearly as bad as his surface stats would indicate.




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A recent graduate of Duquesne University, David Golebiewski is a contributing writer for Fangraphs, The Pittsburgh Sports Report and Baseball Analytics. His work for Inside Edge Scouting Services has appeared on ESPN.com and Yahoo.com, and he was a fantasy baseball columnist for Rotoworld from 2009-2010. He recently contributed an article on Mike Stanton's slugging to The Hardball Times Annual 2012. Contact David at david.golebiewski@gmail.com and check out his work at Journalist For Hire.

13 Responses to “Sizemore Will Come Around”

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  1. Dan says:

    I’m confident enough in Sizemore that I’m dangling Haren in order to acquire him.

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  2. Jake S. says:

    He better come around. I just dealt Damon and Abreu in order to get him in my main league. I’m not entirely convinced it’s going to benefit my team, considering the way Damon has been hitting, but I just couldn’t pass on it.

    Come on Sizemore.

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  3. Everett says:

    I’m in a keeper league, and there’s not a chance of me trading Sizemore. I’m commited to him long-term, unless someone decided to offer me Longoria or Hanley (I’ve already got Pujols).

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  4. I got him about a month ago in my keeper league. I traded Erik Bedard for Sizemore and Jason Knapp. I’m pumped, even though he’s struggled a bit in ’09.

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  5. Dan says:

    You got Sizemore for Bedrad – and he threw somebody in? I’m in the wrong league…

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  6. Pat says:

    Yeah I just traded Lincecum, Duke and Lind for Grady and Wandy. I have faith.

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  7. Dan says:

    Which hitters do you think have the most value from here on out, in a nonkeeper, H2H league w/ 5×5 scoring? Sizemore, Markakis, Utley, or Fielder?

    My pitching has been very strong, but I’m weak in RBIs and, to a lesser extent, HRs. In addition to Haren, I have Vazquez, Verlander, Joba, and Lowe as starters, and I’m also stashing Hanson. Assuming Haren has the most name value, I would offer him around. Do you think Haren should be enough to land any of those guys, and if so, is it worth it?

    I’m thinking my 1st choice is Sizemore, as he’ll provide HRs and SBs, and that would give me the flexibility to move Ellsbury for a 2B like Roberts or another RBI guy like Markakis.

    Any advice?

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  8. AJP says:

    In one of my league I drafted Sizemore with my first pick so that I wouldn’t have to worry about offense and I could work on my pitching. Well so far that hasn’t worked out as well as I liked. My pitching to this point has been good but my offense needs another bat in it and I’m really pulling for Sizemore to turn it around because he can be that bat. Right now I’m sitting in the middle of the pack of my league and I still have a legit shot of winning if he can turn it around.

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  9. NV says:

    Just to add to the conversation a little bit, I acquired Sizemore at the beginning of May along with Shane Victorino for Markakis and Mike Lowell. Since I have Miguel Cabrera (with 3B) and Carlos Pena, I figured I could make this swap with a clear mind. Sizemore has been disappointing, but I came to a similar conclusion as Golebiewski and am not looking to move him at all (although I did make a serious offer including Sizemore and Greinke for Longo and Kershaw which was rejected). Sizemore is only 26 years old and he’s always been good. There is good reason to believe that his struggles are mostly to do with bad luck…

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  10. Dan says:

    I hope his issues are luck-related, but I have noticed that he’s swinging at more pitches, he’s already been caught more times stealing than last year, and he has no IF hits (at least as of a day or 3 ago). Some of that could be random luck, but it may indicate he’s hurting a bit.

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  11. NBH says:

    Even though he’s hurting (elbow), getting thrown out on the bases and scuffling with AVG, we’re a little more than 25% done with the season and he is roughly on pace for 28-28-100-100. Obviously we hope his elbow gets better (and not worse) and his SB% starts to climb.

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  12. Michael Swecker says:

    He’ll be on the Dl when Hafner returns. Hopefull the rest combined with better luck will make Sizemore the Sizemore we’ve come to love for the balance of the season.

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  13. Mitsuko Susa says:

    Fantastic blog, many amusing details. I think 6 of days ago, I have viewed a similar post.

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