Hey Buddy, Can You Play the Outfield?

Dan Hayes at the North County Times reports that Chase Headley, Matt Antonelli, Scott Hairston, and Chad Huffman will be working out at Petco Park this week to improve (or learn) their outfield skills.

The switch-hitting Headley, a third baseman by trade, is blocked by Kevin Kouzmanoff and may get a look in left field this spring. Antonelli, who already has moved from third to second base in his brief professional career, will get some reps in center field, as will Hairston.

Quoth GM Kevin Towers:

It’s probably the biggest challenge for Headley, with him having never really played outfield at all. But if he’s able to do it he’ll be a big part of our club (this) year.

The Bill James Handbook 2008 projects Headley to hit .310/.409/.522. For the record, BJH08 projects him to have the sixth highest OBP in the big leagues behind Barry Bonds, Miguel Cabrera, Todd Helton, Ryan Howard, and Albert Pujols.

Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt.

CHONE has Headley at .252/.335/.392, Marcel has him at .276/.349/.427, and ZiPS has him at .264/.353/.410. That CHONE projection seems low to me, but I could see either of the other two happening.

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28 Responses »

  1. In a perfect world, Headley can play an adequate left and Hairston a fair center. This — with Chase’s switch hitting — allows Haiston (hitting like he did last year with the Pads) to provide some rest for both Edmonds and Giles against lefties. A nice four outfielder rotation.

    Meanwhile Antonelli masters center in half a season in Portland and is ready to contribute later in the year … if Edmonds goes down, or start the 09 season.

    I’m guessing it won’t work out quite so perfectly though.

  2. I’m guessing Antonelli sees very little time, if any in CF at Portland, and is the Padres starting 2b in 2009.

  3. I can’t believe how high the James projections for Headley are. I know that OBP translates fairly well from level to level (better than any other skill as far a I can tell). Hopefully Headley really is that perceptive and patient at the plate.

  4. 2: Agree. Unless they see something magical with Antonelli in CF, this seems like the bare minimum of emergency planning. It may be more about getting him out to SD to check on his fitness and save him from a few days of New England winter.

  5. Antonelli at 2B in ’09 seems like the reasonable expectation to me as well. Petco is a great park, imo, and I love the way it plays, but it demands a premium defensive CF, and preferably plus corner OF’s as well. To expect him to become comfortable out there in such a short time while learning to hit and play at the MLB level is just not reasonable.

  6. Holy Moly! Thanks to yesterday’s thread I just realiezed Ben B. is not even old enough to drink alcohol legally in the state of CA. Ben, I have to tell you I’ve always been impressed by the intelligence and maturity of your posts, but now, knowing your age, I’m absolutely blown away.

  7. Good stuff from Posnanski (who’d have thunk it? ;-) ):


  8. 6: Second that. I was very surprised. Must be the age-ist in me.

    Bunch o’ whippersnappers round here.

  9. Marc Normandin did a review of 3B-men at BP today … had this to say about KK …

    Kevin Kouzmanoff snuck into the top 15 VORP leaders for his position last year, and that was despite an awful start to the season where he hit just .108/.172/.193 through May 7. From that point forward, Kouzmanoff hit .309/.362/.511 for the Padres, including a dominating performance against left-handers (.407/.426/.691) and a solid showing at Petco (.303/.358/.451). Those numbers help him look like a better bet to stick as a top 15 third baseman, especially with the Padres deciding that top prospect Chase Headley may just be the left fielder they are searching for.

    Kouzmanoff’s BABIP was .309, around the league average, and it matches up well with his eBABIP of .302. He managed to start cutting down on strikeouts as the year progressed and finished with 50 extra-base hits despite the glacial pace he set in April. Since Kouzmanoff’s game isn’t power, he doesn’t lose a ton of value when he plays his home games; use this to your advantage at draft time, since Kouzy is capable of starting every night he plays for you. He’s not one of the best third basemen around, not by any means, but he certainly deserves to be one of the first 8-10 drafted, and he may even drive in 85-90 runs, depending on where he hits in the Padres lineup.

    … and I concur!

  10. Speaking of OF’ers, here’s an old (12/21/07) look at OG …


    re: OG … Giles, who had microfracture surgery on his right knee two days after the season ended, has been a familiar face at PETCO Park as he continues to rehabilitate the knee that was nearly in constant pain throughout the 2007 season. Once the surgery started, doctors concluded the damage was worse than they originally thought.

    … anyone heard/seen any updates to this?

  11. The only thing I question is “Since Kouzmanoff’s game isn’t power…”

    He is not a power hitter like Adam Dunn is a power hitter, but dude should be able to put up very respectable 3 Bagger numbers/power.

    Oh yea…and if Headley hits anywhere near the James projections, I will buy the first round of drinks at 2009 ST.

  12. 11: Agreed. Kouz doesn’t hit mammoth moon shots. He hits laser beams. Sometimes he elevates those a little bit and they can go for a while. I actually think Petco helps someone like Kouz, because if he’s able to hit the gaps, he’s got extra-bases all day long. Parks with bigger OFs will give him more opportunities to get knocks.

  13. Nothing Earth-shattering here, but Corey Brock just posted the Middle IF preview for 08… http://sandiego.padres.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080115&content_id=2347038&vkey=news_sd&fext=.jsp&c_id=sd.

    I had no idea that Khalil’s fielding set a franchise record. Obviously we were all aware of the records he set offensively, but that’s pretty cool to see the defensive numbers he put up.

    I really think that with Adrian/Iguchi/Khalil/Kouz that we likley have one of the top IF in the NL. Aside from Kouz, we have a very defensively capable IF and Kouz wasn’t all that bad. We really don’t have a weak spot in the IF, unlike most of the other talented teams

    Phillies: No 3B
    Rockies: No 2B
    D’Backs: No 3B/Jackson is meh as 1B
    Dodgers: No 3B/Ken’ts aging
    Cubs: No 2B/SS
    Mets: No 2B/Delgado was horrible last year

    Throw catchers into the mix, and I still think we have one of the best IFs in baseball.

  14. The James projections always seem relatively high to me. I’d guess it’s too much weight to minor league numbers and/or not enough regression to the mean. James is obviously a smart guy, so maybe it’s something else. Unfortunately, I really haven’t seen a basic description of them and why they could be so different than some of the others. Anyone seen anything on them?

  15. OT … a fun look at some recent stadium demolitions …


    … link comes compliments of UniWatch …

  16. I don’t know if anyone else saw the Sports Illustrated issue with Belichick on the cover last week. But it included year-end stories, including one on Trevor Hoffman. It reminded why I’m such a big fan of his and why I’m not a fan of the sports talk radio, must-win crowd:


  17. My first Padres game, a day late.

    Sept. 21, 1997: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SDN/SDN199709210.shtml

    It was my 24th birthday. It was my first and only trip to San Diego. It was with my girlfriend at the time. She was 38. (It was a very good year.)

    Not to get all “City Slickers” on you, but it’s up there as far as my “best day.”

  18. 16 … THANKS for that link, Kevin … Tom Verducci is a *stud* writter!!!

    Here’s my favorite line …

    It was like watching a five-car pileup unfold on an icy freeway: double, double, triple, walk, sacrifice fly. Maybe the Rockies’ Matt Holliday never did touch home plate with the winning run, but by then there was a move-it-along-there’s-nothing-left-here-to-see feel to the proceedings.

    … oh, man … does that capture it for me … move it along … what a wreck … onward we go … to 2008 …

  19. This quote from Hoffman isn’t bad either: “I know this: Baseball is important, but that is not who you are. Your true identity is found in what kind of dad and husband and friend you are.”

    Hey, Lynch, can you send me your email? Mine is on my site.

  20. 19: Absolutely agree with you Kevin, and with Trevor’s quote. I had read the article a while back and I think it really sums up Trevor’s character for me (as much as I can understand his character through the media filter anyway). I’ve always read how strong his family influence was on him and it doesn’t surprise me that his view on life is in order and he understands/believes family is first.

    Sort of keeping in the theme of first games, I remember sitting at Petco after the first Opening Night Game there and letting the crowd clear out. One of the neatest things to see was Trevor’s kids running around and playing on the outfield grass. Good times, good times.

  21. OT … just doing some winter “scoreboard watching” (so to speak) …

    Dodgers RHP Jason Schmidt making good progress


    … what I’m hoping this means is that he’s well enough to get a lot of starts, but not good enough to post a sub-5.00 ERA :-)

  22. Can somebody tell me how long we have Headley under contract? If I were him I’d be like, “Screw this outfield crap. I don’t need this. I could get a job playing third base with a dozen other clubs out there.”

  23. 22: I read that article a couple weeks ago too and really enjoyed it. Gotta love Trevor.

    And on a loosely related note (since I just finished reading Bill Center’s Padres Essential)…I also love that Trevor initially told people in SD that he was a cookie maker to avoid disgruntled complaints about the Sheffield trade.

  24. 23 … the answer to that question isn’t straight-forward, if I understand things correctly … the full answer to your question would require understanding the “Basic Agreement” … which can be downloaded from here …


    … starting on page 69 with Section XX = Reserve System. I don’t even know enough about the details to provide with an accurate guess … is it “typically” 6 years? And Chase’s “clock” started with his call-up last year …

  25. 23: Six seasons, typically.

    Do you have reason to believe that’s what his attitude might be like? The Pads have a pretty decent option already at 3B, someone who showed for four months that he can hit in the bigs. You know, the ol’ “it’s a good problem to have”?

  26. Ex-Padres player Jim “King” Leyritz is in big donkey doo-doo…


    He was originally charged with simple vehicular manslaughter, but the charges are going up since his blood alcohol level was double the legal limit.

  27. Towers chatted with MLB.com yesterday…talked about adding a corner OF via trade…


    Read the parting line and that really makes me wonder what he is up to. Jason Bay perhaps? A White Sox OF’er?

    Wish there was a way to get Melky Cabrera.