OBG08: Chase Headley

Chase HeadleyBefore we get started, I’ve got a new article up at Hardball Times that takes a look back at what Bill James once predicted for the future of Barry Bonds. As they say, it’s interesting if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

Moving on, let’s talk about Chase Headley. Far be it from someone named “Geoff” to run smack on another person’s name, but doesn’t “Chase Headley” sound like a soap opera character? He would wear cardigan sweaters, hunt pheasant, and say things like, “Do fetch me some champagne, dear boy.”

Anyway, the real Chase Headley is a third-base prospect who will see time in left field this spring in the hope of expediting his progress. Headley’s performance at Double-A San Antonio last year (.330/.437/.580) suggests that his bat is ready for the big leagues now. Plus he turns 24 in May, so it’s not like the Padres would be rushing him.

The big questions with Headley are how much of his power spike from last season is real (his ISO jumped from .143 to .250 while moving up a level, which is a good sign, but I think the Sean Burroughs Experience has left me jaded) and whether he can play a reasonably legitimate left field. I’m hedging my bets on both counts: 350 PA, .278/.342/.454.

You know what to do…

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70 Responses »

  1. Although I’d like to see him get more PAs, I’m only predicting like 250.

    His BA will struggle, but his OBP will still be strong I think.

    .268/.353/.448

    On an un-related note, my mom heard Sandy Alderson last night on Too Much Show, and the following are some bullet points from his time there. If anyone else listened or heard, could they corroborate (especiallly since my ilk are known Khalil-lovers):

    - Bonds will not be a Padre. Period. Alderson said the team strives to get a certain type of player, and Bonds is not that kind of player.
    - Mike Sweeney is a definite possibility. Sweeney apparently approached the team first, so maybe he’d be willing to accept a limited role and limited salary. He’s also a Rancho Santa Fe resident (which must be a damn popular place to live if you’re a pro ballplayer).
    - Alderson hopes to resolve Khalil’s ’08 contract prior to arb and believes it can be done.
    - When asked if Khalil wants out of San Diego, Alderson pointedly said that Khalil loves it here and wants to be a Padre long-term.
    - Alderson sounded optimistic that a long-term deal could still be reached and said that even if this wasn’t possible, they might let him go through FA. If the right trade materialized, they’d probably do it, but they won’t trade him next off-season if he can contribute in 09. They’d rather get his production in 09 and net the draft pick (just like GY suggested yesterday).
    - When asked how he feels about Khalil, especially given his low OBP, Alderson responded that the OBP is not the only statistic the team considers in valuing a player. Alderson said that Khalil brings several positives to the team and cited his HRs, RBI, and defense.

    So again, if anyone heard this, could they confirm my take on this is accurate? This is all second-hand and is off-memory, so I might have missed something. The general impression my mom got (and again, this could be misconceived since we’re avid Khalil supporters) was that the team was still optimistic about reaching a deal with himn. At this point, it would seem to be nothing but a money thing, which can hopefully be resolved.

  2. Re:1 sounds like they are going to wait until the last minute to offer him a non-san diego discounted contract…

    Headley .270/.355/.470

  3. When listening to the words of Alderson and Towers, I think it’s worth keeping in mind that any front office worth its salt never announces its intentions out loud to trade a player, because that eliminates a great deal of their leverage. That being said, I think it’s a reasonable strategy to take the next year or so to see if any team comes forward with an attractive offer for Greene. Letting him go in free agency would seem to be the least wise decision. I’d much rather see them wait until the last minute (trade deadline ’09) and go get the most they can, much like the Linebrink deal last year. It’s not that I dislike Greene, it’s just that I think he’s probably worth more to the Pads as a trading token than as a long term solution at SS.

    Headley: 250 ABs .247/.347/.427
    The Pads acquire Murton, Nady or some other veteran OF by Spring Training and Headley starts the season playing LF at AAA. He’ll come up to the big squad some time midseason and platoon with Hairston or whoever else is the starting LF at that time, occasionally filling in for Kouz.

  4. Re: 2 250 PA’s

  5. 3: I hope we don’t waste time trading for Nady as a starting OF. I’m not entirely sure why we’re trading for a corner OF, but I’d rather have Murton’s OBP and defense than Nady’s raw power.

  6. Please bring us Murton…I think that would be a HUGE addition for the Pads…

    Did y’all see that Luis Gonzalez is signing a 1 year deal with the Marlins…

    http://www.azfamily.com/news/local/stories/KTVKSNews20080131_gonzo-florida.776b8a82.html

  7. RE:1 — Phantom, I have searched their archives and can’t find any SA interview in the last couple days…am I missing something?

  8. Oh, and regarding Chase…

    I still think he will spend most of the year off the roster…

    150 AB’s .268/.333/.429

  9. 7: I searched for it this morning as well, but I don’t think it’s up yet. I’ll keep checking for it, and if I see it, I’ll link to it here.

  10. its very difficult predicting this.

    200 PA’s .265/.335/.400

  11. BP’s Kevin Goldstein just released his top-100. 3 Padres properties made the list including Headley at 23, Antonelli at 39, and Latos at 61. All in all, I think that’s a pretty respectable showing. I don’t know that any of our other prospects definitively deserve top-100 status; although I’d wager that there would be a number in the 100-175 range (LeBlanc, Inman, Hunter, etc).

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=7092

  12. 100 PA .240/.320/.410 I don think he spend much time in a Padre uniform this year.

  13. Keith Law has Antonelli at #93 on his top 100 list.

    I’m not going to reprint his exact words because its on ESPN Insider – but he gets a few facts wrong about Antonelli, which I believe screws up his overall analysis (1) he was moved from 3b, not SS and (2) The reason he was moved was not because he couldn’t handle 3b defensively, but the Padres had good depth at 3b (Headley and Freese at the time) and believed that Antonelli could play 2b he would be much more valuable and finally (3) he mentions nothing about Antonelli significantly increasing his power by over a 100 points from last year.

    Also, everyone in the Padres organization that Madfriars has spoken with believes that he can play 2b – the tools are there – he just needs a bit more refining.

    He took some balls in CF, no one is talking about a permanent move off of 2b for him. He will start the year at 2b in Portland.

    I like Law, but that was rather sloppy.

  14. Keith Law’s and Scouts Inc.’s Top 100 prospects for 2008 list is out:

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/insider/columns/story?columnist=law_keith&id=3221365

    Headley: #43
    Blanks: #68
    Antonelli: #93

    Okay, let the Keith Law bashing begin…. I will say this about him, though – the fact he often checks the blog and even responds to reader comments is pretty impressive to me. I may not agree with his opinions, but I admire that he stands up for his opinion and gives Ducksnorts readers an opportunity to converse with him.

    btw – I think he terribly underestimates KK’s defense. I watched a lot of Padres games last year and “stonehands” doesn’t seem like an appropriate description.

  15. 14: If Law wanted to see stonehands at 3b, then I should see if I can get him some video of my performance my junior year in college….. I think I had like 19 errros in something like 35 games started at 3b. Niiiiiiiiiice.

  16. 11. I tend to agree with KG’s list more than Law’s – mainly for the ranking of Antonelli and the inclusion of Latos.

  17. I’m a big Headley believer, and I think he’ll make the team out of spring training as the starting left fielder. 534 PA (same as Kouz last year), .265/.359/.421, with passable defense in left. An excellent year.

  18. With eight precincts reporting: 261 PA, .263/.343/.432.

  19. .280/.350/.440

    200 PA

  20. Keith didn’t like being corrected

    Bill (San Diego, CA)If you have seen Antonelli live more times than anyone else, you should probably know he never played a game in the minors at shortstop. Oops.

    Keith Law: (2:39 PM ET ) He was a shortstop all through college and on the Cape. Facts/way/story.

    Actually Keith he was a 3b in college too.

    http://wakeforestsports.cstv.com/sports/m-basebl/mtt/antonelli_matt00.html

  21. fwiw, the Law list is a free preview. Here’s what he said about Antonelli, although John pretty much covered it:

    “Antonelli is a patient hitter with good hand-eye coordination and plus speed. He has struggled to find a position, playing second base in 2006 after moving off shortstop; a switch to center field is his best route to an everyday major league role.”

  22. I like Keith Law but you’d think with all the bashing he gets around here he’d get it right on Antonelli’s position.

    The worst criticism of Kouz’s defense seems to come from people who don’t see him often and rely on defensive metrics. He seemed ok to me, certainly not a huge liability. I have a feeling he’ll improve this year now that he’ll be more comfortable at the plate.

  23. 20: The way to get Keith Law’s attention is to link to one of his chats / posts. I assume he has some trackback thingy. That’s when he’s showed up before.

    http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=19060

    If Antonelli had played that much SS in college, he’d be playing SS now. He probably played “some” SS in college, the same way Headley played “some” outield, but “he was a shortstop all through college” makes it sound like that was his primary position. Which, no. According to this story, he switched from short to 3b in 2004….his freshman year.

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2004/06/17/cape_league_bound?pg=full

    During last year’s DS-based Law bashing, he said that his opinion on Antonelli’s swing had been formed before the 2007 season, and that he might revise it when he saw him again in the AFL. If he went a whole regular season without seeing him, but has seen him more than anyone else on the list…..something seems off there.

  24. Hairston: .255/.330/.450, 355 PA’s

  25. 21: Well, if he’s going to stick by his belief that Antonelli “moved off SS” in 2006, that’s just pigheaded stubborness. I thought maybe there’d be some wiggle room, like “former SS.” Maybe he was in a rush.

    22: Not all the defensive metrics are so hard on Kouz, but Law seems more the kind to rely on the word of scouts. Or his own eyes. There are plenty of scouts who think Kouz is a butcher.

  26. regarding Kouz’s defense: http://www.tangotiger.net/scouting/scoutResults2007_SDN.html

    There’s 15 SD fans (presumably) that didn’t really like him either.

  27. One other comment on Law’s list vis-a-vis the Padres:

    Blanks was a D&F out of Yavapai Community College in Arizona, not a HS draftee. That’s a wood bat JC league.

  28. 23. Thanks Tom. I thought Antonelli played SS on the Cape, but apparantly not in the ACC according to his bio.

    http://wakeforestsports.cstv.com/sports/m-basebl/mtt/antonelli_matt00.html

    Also when I looked in their archives for his junior year, his last, he also only played 3b.

    As for his power surge we had an interview with him on Madfriars where he broke down what was behind it.

    http://padres.scout.com/2/685354.html

    Also, Law seems to imply that the Padres consider Antonelli a bad defensive player. They don’t. He was moved from 3b because of the (1) depth at that position, (2) they believed that he could handle second defensively and (3) they think he’s made great progress so far, but its tough position and he has to get better at more instictive plays at the position. They certainly believe he’s athletic enough to play there.

  29. I like Law but if you’re going to write as authoritatively on prospects as he does, with a slight bit of condescension when challenged, getting one’s facts correct should be important.

    I agree with Tom, not admitting that you are wrong on getting his position wrong is just a bonehead move.

  30. Headley: 350 PA. 275/345/425

    Here’s something funny from a Jim Callis (of Baseball America) chat on ESPN.com:

    Steve (Norwich CT): Jim, would you make this trade? Khalil Greene and a mid-range prospect to the Red Sox for Crisp, Lugo, Tavarez and cash?

    SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:08 PM ET ) Not sure why the Padres would want to do that.

    Stupid New England fans!

  31. 28: Yeah, it sounds like one of the reasons he was so excited to play on the Cape was to show that he could go back to playing short. So if he played 3b his freshman year, and we KNOW he played 3b his junior year….he didn’t play SS “all through college.”

    Heck, going to SS might have been an easier transition than moving from 3b to 2b. Same side of the diamond, some previous experience, and the pivot, which I’ve heard Antonelli needs to work on, is a lot easier without your back to the runner.

    It’s one thing to just make a mistake during a chat. I’m sure it happens to everybody. It’s another to act dogmatically sure that it’s impossible you’ve made a mistake.

  32. Well, I believe moving from 3b to 2b is generally a lateral move. I don’t see it as a downgrade. Of course, there are different skill sets at each position, but in terms of overall difficulty, 3b is no more difficult than 2b.

    John/anybody: Did Keith say anywhere that Antonelli is a bad defender or that the Pads moved him off 3rd because of fielding issues (I don’t really see it here)?

  33. The gallery patiently awaits the arrival of one Keith Law, food/baseball junkie extraordinaire

  34. 33. I thought he was implying it in his write-up on ESPN

    “He has struggled to find a position, playing second base in 2006 after moving off shortstop; a switch to center field is his best route to an everyday major league role.”

    (1) As documented above, he’s never played a game at SS in the pros or in college – but in the Cape. (2) He was moved to second because he could play there. (3) He took some balls in CF, he’s not moving there full time, if at all.

  35. 35: I can believe that Antonelli might have slid over to short for a few innings or a couple of games during college. You know, the regular SS gets hurt late in the game, or the coach has to make a really weird lineup change. But clearly he wasn’t “moved off SS.” I’m hoping Jack from Boston stops by. I bet he can tell us exactly how many plays (not just innings, not just games, but plays, and of what type) Matt made at short, if any, at Wake Forest.

  36. 24: Geoff, I have no idea why I projected (or wrote … I’m not exactly sure what I did) Hairston there. If you see this, switch it to .265/.340/.450 for Headley with 250 PA’s.

    35: Perhaps, he implied that…I’m not really sure. Of course, yeah, it looks like he was generally wrong about the shortstop thing, but Matt certainly has “struggled” a bit to find a position. I don’t realy think he’s that far off there, but obviously you know the system well.

  37. 36. Maybe Jack has an individual zone rating for Matt at Wake Forest ; ) JZR.

  38. 37. I just think “stuggle” makes it appear as if he’s a bad defensive player – which he isn’t. He’s made “one” move, third to second. By all indications he will be the starting second baseman next year in Portland – especially with Ready taking over the managerial reins in AAA (he worked with Antonelli quite a bit in San Antonio).

    When Law writes that he has “struggled” to find a position I find that more akin to not being able to handle the position defensively. In reality Grady Fuson believes that he could make the majors at several postions, second is the one that will maxize his overall ability the most.

  39. “maxize”….umm, maybe maximize…LOL

  40. 37, 39: It’s fair to say that the move from 3b to 2b wasn’t as seamless as the Padres had hoped, but like John, I read “struggled to find a position” as somebody who has moved all over the place trying to hide a sub-standard glove.

  41. Well, I guess you guys are probably right. But I mean, remember it’s just one comment in a couple of thousand words he probably wrote for the piece. While he has the responsibility, I suppose, to come across as clearly as possible, it’s not always going to work out that way.

  42. 42. It is just a few words, but its the majority of what he wrote on Antonelli and the basis for his ranking.

    I think what bugs me, and I’m guessing it does with Tom, is when he is confronted with an error he just doesn’t react that well. Everyone makes mistakes, its just most of us can admit them.

    Additionally its my guess that Law saw Antoneilli on the Cape and in the AFL this year, when he was dead tired and struggled.

    I doubt he trekked all the way out to either LE or San Antonio this year. If he had, he may have a different opinion.

  43. 42: The section on Antonelli in his prospect rating isn’t all that important to me. I wouldn’t have chosen that phrase to convey Antonelli’s defensive adjustment at second base, but there’s no denying that it hasn’t gone perfectly. And the Blanks piece, I suppose there’s a way for that to be technically correct, since a D&F was a guy you picked out of HS and then watched for a year.

    It’s the Antonelli stuff in the chat that gets to me. Still, I shouldn’t have assumed he would stubbornly defend his position after finishing the chat. In fact, I bet a correction has already been posted.

  44. 44. Yeah, I agree and that’s part of the problem (or at least, limitation) with scouting, imo. If you only see a guy 5-10 times (or less), you may catch him at a bad time. If I want to really evaluate a guy scouting-wise, I’d want an opinion from a bunch of scouts who’ve all seen the guy multiple times.

    43: Glad you caught that, Geoff. Sorry for the confusion.

  45. 7: They still haven’t posted Alderson’s take, but they have posted the interview with Jake (in which he mentions Khalil) that a couple of us were discussing the other day: http://www.mighty1090.com/common/global_audio/40/526.mp3

    From the interview, it does sound like Jake belives Khalil wants to stay and that the team wants to keep him.

  46. Late to the party, but 300 PA, .290/.390/.510. Lots of fill-in time at 3B and LF, but i don’t think he’ll start much. He’ll tempt us with his production, though…maybe enough to get him in there full time in the 2nd half.

  47. I’m a little surprised that Law has not shown up yet to defend his answer.

  48. 49: Mr. Law has posted a correction on his blog The Dish.

    http://meadowparty.com/blog/

    I don’t think he’ll mind my revealing that he and I had an email exchange about Antonelli that moved from mutual acrimony to mutual…tolerance? Mutual lesser acrimony? Anyway, he expected to catch it from Ducksnorts. Posting corrections via Blackberry is commitment.