Review the Preview: Hitters

Back in April, I wrote my annual “Looking Forward to…” piece on the Padres over at Baseball Think Factory. In the interest of holding myself accountable, and maybe learning something in the process, I thought we should do a quick review. We’ll cover the position players today and the pitchers on Monday.

Marcus Giles, 2B

What I said: “…he should provide the Padres with a nice mix of on-base skills and gaps power. On balance, Giles probably is no worse an option than last year’s starter, Josh Barfield.”

What happened: Technically this last statement was true, but only because Barfield had a disastrous season in Cleveland. Giles hit .229/.304/.317 and eventually lost his starting job to Geoff Blum. Giles had a terrific April (.327/.376/.459) and played solid defense, but a .191/.277/.268 line over 340 plate appearances from May 8 onward killed his season. On-base skils? Gaps power? No, and no.

Brian Giles, RF

What I said: “At age 36, we shouldn’t expect anywhere near a full rebound [to his performance in Pittsburgh]. A return to somewhere between his ’04 and ’05 levels, however, isn’t out of the question.”

What happened: He basically repeated his ’06 season, sacrificing a little in the on-base department to make minimal power gains. For the second straight season, Giles notched a career-low OBP. This doesn’t necessarily bode well for the future. On the bright side, after being sidelined for much of the first half, he hit .266/.353/.461 after the All-Star break. Giles isn’t a star at this stage in his career, and folks need to get over that. He still provides decent value on offense and does a very nice job negotiating a difficult right field at Petco Park.

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

What I said: “Gonzalez’ power numbers may have taken some observers by surprise, but with his ability to drive the ball hard to all fields, those most likely are the result of real growth and not a fluke.”

What happened: Well, his ISO increased from .186 to .220. As we’ve already noted, Gonzalez’ drop in batting average this year has masked his growth in the power and on-base departments. Needless to say, ’06 was not a fluke.

Josh Bard, C

What I said: “Bard won’t repeat that [2006] performance in expanded duties this year, but he should do a pretty nice Johnny Estrada impression (with a chance of pushing into Michael Barrett/Ramon Hernandez territory), which isn’t too shabby.”

What happened: I underestimated Bard…

Statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.
Bard, 2007 .285 .364 .404 105
Estrada, career .280 .320 .406 86
Barrett, career .266 .322 .426 88
Hernandez, career .263 .328 .423 98

If you think it’s unfair that I present Bard’s ’07 against those other guys’ career numbers, know that if I used their ’07 stats, this would look even worse.

Mike Cameron, CF

What I said: “At age 34, Cameron hasn’t yet experienced any appreciable decline. To the contrary, last year he finished with a career-best .482 SLG despite his slow start and the fact that he plays half his games in a pitchers’ park.”

What happened: I didn’t really commit to any predictions with Cameron, which was a mistake. In my head, I thought he would repeat his ’06 performance, but in fact, he slipped quite a bit. Cameron’s batting average dropped 26 points, but that could be due to anything. More disconcerting are the 25 point swoon in ISO and the 22 point rise in K/PA. Normally I’m more in the “strikeouts don’t matter” camp, but when the power goes down and the inability to make contact goes up, that raises some red flags for me. Cameron still is an above-average center fielder who should command plenty on the open market this winter, but I’m not sure that it’s in the Padres’ best interest to be the ones flipping the bill.

Khalil Greene, SS

What I said: “He still looks like a good candidate to bust out with a few Rich Aurilia/Jose Valentin type campaigns.”

What happened: Sort of, but not really…

Statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.
Greene, 2007 .254 .291 .468 98
Valentin, 1996 .259 .336 .475 99
Aurilia, 1999 .281 .336 .444 106

The OBP is miserable, of course, but I like to focus more on what a player can do than what he cannot. What Greene did is knock 74 extra-base hits, play a solid shortstop (this was the first year that both his fielding percentage and his range factor were better than league average), and most importantly, stay healthy enough to play 153 games. Any discussion of Greene runs the risk of turning into a religious debate about his value to the Padres, but if we focus on his actual contributions, we see a useful player. Greene is not as good as his most ardent supporters would have you believe, nor is he as bad as his detractors might claim. He is, like Valentin and Aurilia before him, an above-average shortstop with flaws in his game.

Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B

What I said: “There’s cause for enthusiasm with Kouzmanoff, although it should be tempered somewhat by the fact that he’s already 25 years old. Think of guys like Mike Lowell and Todd Zeile — not stars, but useful players…”

What happened: Kouzmanoff hit .275/.329/.457. His line stood at .121/.178/.209 through May 13 but manager Bud Black, in one of his finer moments, stuck with Kouz, who hit .310/.364/.514 from that point forward. Baseball-Reference hasn’t come out with their latest version of comparable players yet, but Kouzmanoff’s ’07 looks a lot like Lowell’s ’01 (.283/.340/.448). Lowell was two years older and a much better defender than Kouz, but that doesn’t detract from the overall point, which is that there’s a lot to like in Kouzmanoff’s rookie campaign.

Terrmel Sledge, LF

What I said: “Sledge could end up being a real nice surprise in 2007 and make the deal with Texas look even more lopsided than it already is.”

What happened: BBBBBBBBBBZZZZZZZZTTTTTTTTTTTT…….. Sledge was terrible. Sometimes you give a guy a chance and he doesn’t do anything with it. Sledge showed some power and on-base skills, but his inability to make consistent contact or play the outfield negated those. I don’t know what exactly I’d expected, but what I got was another Mark Bellhorn.

Geoff Blum, UT

What I said: “He hasn’t seen an OBP north of .300 since 2002 and his range isn’t great, so you don’t want to see him in the lineup more than once or twice a month, but he won’t kill you if used in moderation. Unfortunately, if the previous two seasons are any indication, Blum most likely will see close to 300 plate appearances.”

What happened: He broke the .300 OBP barrier (.319) and notched 370 plate appearances. Blum finished the season starting at second base, which is to say that finding a more permanent solution at the position remains a priority.

There you have it. We’ll get the pitchers next week…

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82 Responses »

  1. G.Y. Great job! I love that you brought back your predictions from April (like what you did at KC).

    I have to give it to B(l)um he did a nice job at 2B this year (post ASB) his D was terrible but he filled the big gapping hole in the lineup. And this is coming from one of the biggest anti-b(l)um guys that post here.

  2. has a link to UZR numbers for 2007. it only lists the top and bottom 3 for each league at each position. NOG was the third best second baseman defensively in the NL at 6 saved runs per 150 games. No Padre was in the bottom 3 at any position.

  3. Sometimes it would help if I read the ends of threads from yesterday. What Ben B said last night at 1 am.

  4. I know we’ve had this discussion already, but what precisely is our most pressing need for next year? How does the market affect that?

    I’d say our needs are two-fold: We need credible back of the rotation starters, but we also need a defensive-minded CF. The pitching concerns me less because KT seems to always find diamonds in the rough (although honestly, if you’re a GM and KT asks for pitchers, how do you let them go?)

    The CF situation worries me. We could go with stop-gap like Lofton, which wouldn’t be awful, but doesn’t exactly solve the organizational need. We could pursure the Rowand/Cameron/Hunter-types, but it’s almost guaranteed they’ll command stupid money.

    I like the idea of trying to trade for Crisp. Would anyone do Headley/Crisp straight up? Do we think our CF is more important than a potential slugging corner IF/OF? I’d also like to pry something from Tampa. Maybe they’d bite on a K-Cam/Jared Wells for someone trade (reportedly, they are looking for relievers)?

  5. Nice review, Geoff.
    Yup, Silent L: MVUP, most valuable utility player, despite his lack of glove. NOG was a big disappointment with the stick.

    Looking forward to the pitchers’ entry.

    Meanwhile, another funny:

  6. 4: I think Crisp is the best fit for this club: cheap-ish, very good range, a little speed. Of course I’d prefer Hunter or Jones but they’re likely to be way out of budget. Personally I think Headley is too much to give up for Crisp, and I probably value prospects less than most of the DS commenters. I just think we can get Crisp for less and if we’re going to let Headley go we need to get back a decent young starting pitcher.

    I’d love to see Moores open up his Scrooge McDuck bank vault and bring in Tori Hunter. I’d also love to win the lottery; unfortunately there’s a better chance I’ll be cashing that megabucks check than there is of seeing Hunter in a Padres uniform.

    On another note, I’m part of an OOTP7 ( startup league that’s looking for owners. It’s a 16 team fictional international league with a sense of humor and lots of trash talking. Contact me via the contact form at if interested.

  7. 4: You gotta assume the the BoSox would be interested in Headley in that situation. I dont think they really would be.

    But I agree, and i think that is what most of us have been saying. We NEED 2 SP and a legit CF definesively.

  8. Is Buster Olney drunk on Vermont tea:

    His blog links today: • There is some debate in Baltimore about whether the O’s should pursue Andruw Jones, writes Roch Kubatko. The more likely landing spot for him, I’d bet, would be San Diego, where a good friend and Boras client — Greg Maddux — is already entrenched, and could serve as a lure. The O’s outrighted three players to their Class AAA roster.

  9. 7:If Lowell gets away, they’ll probably have some interest in third-base depth. They can move Youklis back to third, but he hasn’t played there in a while.

  10. Re: 8 some team will offer Jones a 4-5 year deal, he is still a young guy and there are alot of dumb teams out there.

  11. Hey everybody. Just wanted to apologize if I got a little carried away on Tuesday. I’m sure as DS readers you can relate to being passionate about the team and about the game, so hopefully you can forgive me if I got out of line.

    Here’s to a fun off season! Thanks to Geoff for providing a great forum and to all the folks who contribute comments and analysis and share ideas. Cheers!

  12. GY, Thanks for taking the time to compile that. Can’t wait to see what the Padres do this offseason.

  13. #11: No worries, Pat. That was a difficult time for all of us. Personally I’d rather see passion than indifference. Thanks, as always, for your contributions!

  14. 7 – Lowell’s not getting younger, not sure what the BoSox organizational depth is like at 3B. But I also agree with Anthony that we as a team can’t just make that trade straight up, need some pitcher back too (always get an arm per KT).

    We need 2 good SP, we’ll get one and KT will roll the dice with the Germano/Cassel/Tomko pupu platter, mark my words.

    Looking at Barfield two years ago and Kouz this year, KT isn’t afraid to go young to plug a hole. He’ll plug Antonelli in at 2B provide he doesn’t completely embarrass himself in spring training, backed by keeping Blum in the Bellhorn “supposed safety net” role.

    Crystal ball here, but I see LF being Hairston/Bradley only. KT will feel ok with Hairston while Bradley heals and then them sharing the spot once MB’s back. I don’t see KT spinning his wheels on the much-hoped for “big bat” in LF when he’s got those options (and i know MB’s a FA, but I don’t see much hot pursuit of him out there).

    So, it’s all about CF and SP this offseason. I do expect KT to pull a couple relievers out of his magic hat too, as per usual. If it’s only those 2 positions, what Moores ok’s for spending might fund a more expensive guy, who knows.

  15. Re: 14 I don’t think Moores cares what position the budget is allocated towards I think he just cares what the budget is. The one nice thing I do have to say about Moores is that he lets his FO make most of the baseball decisions.

  16. LF could be more interesting then that simply because of the Headley/Kouz situation at 3B. Depending on how they grade Kouz’s defense both this year and his ability to improve in the future he may be moving to LF(he won’t be able to ever handle RF defensively in Pertco)

    If Kouz/Headley move to LF then I don’t see any reason to bother with resigning Bradley as long as Hairston is on the roster.

    SP is a need and they are going to have to spend for a decent CF, especially if they have 2 rookies starting at 3b/2b.


  17. Re: 16 I think Kouz’s bat has put him at 3B next year and I think Hairston’s Heroics in LF has put him in that spot to start the year, leaving Headley in AAA or on the trading block.

  18. 14: I wasn’t sure how valuable we see Headley as being. I think an arm + Crisp for Headley would be a decent call.

    No way we could get Bucholz, right? Especially after he threw the no-hitter?

  19. Re: 18 RSN would riot

  20. 18: We’re not going to get a lot more than Crisp for Headley. One below-average hitter/excellent defensive CF in the majors for a very solid prospect. We’re not going to sniff Bucholz unless we’re giving up someone like Bell or CY. Maybe not then.

    If we’re not going to move Kouz, we need to seriously consider trading Headley now or next year. He’s one sprained knee away from losing a lot of value.

  21. I would be really supprised if they Moved Kouz to LF, He’s just not quick enough to play in Petco.

  22. 4: I think the most pressing need for us in the offseason is addressing the almost total lack of team speed (and by extension, OBP). CF is the most visible area to me where the FO has a big decision ahead of it.

    Outside of Mike Cameron, what running threat do we have on this team? Speed works on both offense and defense, and we’re looking at losing the only speed threat we have to free agency. Do I believe that Mike Cameron should be brought back? That is a tough argument – here’s the ‘for’ side as I see it:

    1) Only speed threat we have in the lineup.
    2) His clubhouse presence and 110% effort every day.
    2) Gold-glove caliber defense playing in a big outfield.
    3) No depth in the system to fill that position, meaning we’d have to go to trade or another FA.

    The ‘against’ side: offensively, I think he’s on the downside of his career…he’s a career .250 hitter who will strike out a lot – and you don’t improve on that as a 35 year old player. He will be looking for a multi-year deal (say 3 years?) and from a financial standpoint it just doesn’t make sense for this team IMHO.

    I’ve heard names like Hunter (another natural team leader) or Crisp (who plays very good D, has speed, and who I’m sure the Red Sox would like to move with Ellsbury ready to play). However, whichever way they go in the CF debate still leaves out speed at pretty much every other position. Can’t do anything about that at C, 1B, SS, 3B, or RF, so that only leaves LF and 2B. I don’t know enough about Shrek and his speed, as his major league stats don’t show enough to give me an opinion one way or the other.

    I’m no stats expert, and I’m not a ‘moneyball’ guy, but I lean against bringing back Cameron, but only if you can get an equivalent (and younger) talent coming to us via FA or trade. In any case, this is going to be a very interesting offseason for the Pads.

  23. Re: 22 how much does the FO value speed?

  24. re 23: Speed is nice to have, but I doubt it is part of the evaluation process.

    Andruw Jones isn’t the fastest guy, doesn’t steal bases but has been an all time great defensive CF over his career. Positioning and getting a good jump are more important then foot speed for outfield defense….Giles is a much better defensive outfielder then people give him credit for.

  25. 17.

    I think you are right about Kouz in 2008 at 3rd to start the year but if his defense is an issue early in the season I don’t think he is cemented there. Especially if Headley is raking in AAA. It will be interesting to see what happens when Scott Hairston goes back to being Scott Hairston as well. I agree with his heroics this season he has probably earned himself a nod in LF for 2008 but chances are he won’t keep hitting bombs like he did last month. He doesn’t appear to be a real good avg. guy and he strikes out a lot as well.

  26. 23: Not much. This year’s team was the slowest of the last 3 and won more games.

    22: The Red Sox may be willing to trade Crisp, but they don’t need to. They have plenty of money to keep him around and Drew/Manny spend weeks on the DL every year. They’re not just going to hand him over.

  27. Depends on how many homers the speedster can hit. A Coco Crisp deal might work. Wasn’t it just last year that people were dissing his defense?

  28. 23: Steve, I’m not sure they do, but I do ;)

    I think it matters that you have a team that can’t run especially since we saw too many times this year this team having a problem in scoring runs. It’s great when your offense can string together a bunch of hits and get the 3-run bomb, but that isn’t an everyday occurence for this team – manufacturing runs takes good situational hitting and the ability to run in favorable situations, neither of which we did well at all for much of the year.

    Maybe I am a Moneyball guy…

  29. 25: Hairston always hit in the minors. He was a monster, hitting for average, getting on, hitting for power. He’s only had 1 season’s worth of major league at-bats spread across 4 years, I’d be willing to give him a shot. Unless we acquire Cabrera, and then he’s on the express train to Bench City.

  30. 20.

    I think I am begining to feel the same way about Peavy. I think his trade value is going to be about as high as it’s going to get as soon as the CY Young is announced. I would hate to see the rotation without him but he is also probably our best shot at getting any top prospect/s back before he leaves as a free agent or starts having arm issues.

  31. 27: Yes. I haven’t looked up Crisp in any standardized measure, but you’re right, last year he was being savaged for his glovework.

    28: In the 4 seasons that Petco has been open, we’ve scored the most runs with the fewest stolen bases. More speed would be nice, as long as the players can do other things well.

  32. 22: Speed has little to do with OBP. I won’t say nothing, but it’s not as important as plate discipline and the ability to recognize pitches. See Josh Bard for a case study on how someone with absolutely no speed can still have a respectable OBP.

    The only people that speed really helps OBP wise are guys like Tavarez, Matsui, et al.

    Given that we’ve pretty much settled it would be Crisp for Headley straight up, do we do the deal? I also agree that with Kouz at third, we should probably deal Headley for something valuable while we still can.

  33. If they move headley I would rather see them do it for a younger CF with more upside than Crisp. I would not mind seeing the Pads trade for Crisp bu I just would rather not trade our best prospect for him.

  34. 32.

    If you are sold that Kouz is going to be a better big league 3rd baseman than Kouz yes you probably want to move him while his value is still pretty high.

  35. Crisp’s OPS+ the last two years has been 80 and 86. He’s Juan Pierre with fewer steals and better defense. I’d much, much rather resign Cameron, who is a better player, doesn’t cost talent to acquire, and I’m guessing won’t command anywhere near the money of Jones or Hunter. If it requires three years to get it down, so be it; there’s a solid chance he’s still better than Crisp in three years.

  36. 31: Crisp vs. Cameron (07 & Career). I don’t know much about the different defensive metrics, so this is strictly fielding, ZR, and RF with OBP and OPS mixed in for a more complete perspective.

    Crisp 2007

    Fielding Pctg: .998
    ZR: .911
    RF: 3.07
    OBP: .330
    OPS: .712

    Cameron 2007

    Fielding Pctg: .987
    ZR: .877
    RF: 2.52
    OBP: .328
    OPS: .759

    Crisp Career

    Fielding Pctg: .993
    ZR: .875
    RF: 2.65
    OBP: .329
    OPS: .738

    Cameron Career

    Fielding Pctg: .985
    ZR: .901
    RF: 2.87
    OBP: .341
    OPS: .786

  37. Do we all agree that Cameron took a step back this year both in the feild and at the plate?

  38. 35: Good points.

  39. Just for fun, what would everybody here pay for Andruw? More importantly, what would the FO? Just $15 mil for one year? Sabernomics posted a compelling (to this dope, anyway) defense of Jones after Jayson Stark’s “Overrated” thing came out.

  40. Jones hits well at petco but there is no way I would give him a deal longer than 3 years at $15/mil.

    Anyone thing that moving Headley + other to the Indians for a young OF (Franklin Gutierrez or Louis Franciscoand) and Lee might be able to work.

  41. I wouldn’t move Headley for anyone who has been mentioned yet, in fact I’d just stick Headley at 3B at the start of the year and worry about it again in 2014 when he is a FA.

    Yes, that means I’d move Kouz to LF. We’ve seen tons of defensive metrics, they all show him to be from Bobby Bonilla bad to somewhere around bad.

    Given those totals it would be hard for Kouz to be a worse defensive outfielder then he is a 3B just based on the number of plays that he’s be required to make every game.

    The team would also be able to take him out late in the game for a defensive replacement.

    Lastly it would be important for KT to find an elite defensive CF to help cover the gap in left center.

  42. On Andruw Jones, I’d be willing to go around 4/60 without thinking twice about it.

  43. If it was my money, I’d even go as high as 16-18 million per year to get Jones. Might be a lot next year, but with the way salaries are going, by the end of the contract it will be a bargain, especially if he gets back to pre-2007 Jones.

  44. A. Jones will probably get at least a 5 or 6 year deal with someone, I’m personally not really high on that length.

    I heard the Orioles may be wanting to move Brian Roberts (via trade). That would be a real nice fit, I think… fill that hole at 2B and bat lead-off, move B. Giles to the 2-hole.

  45. Re: 44 Move Antonelli to CF?

  46. #41

    Where does Ryan Klesko bad fall on your scale? If Kouz is physically and mentally capable of playing LF better than Klesko did, then run him out there for a while in the spring, with Headley at 3B, and see what happens.

  47. 44: Antonelli in 09?

  48. Re: 46 Jose Conseco bad, I kept wating to see a ball bounce off of his head

  49. #48

    So that explains the Rhino hats…they were protection, not fashion.

  50. Re: 49 Exactly