OBG08: Scott Hairston

Scott HairstonBy now you’ve heard that the Minnesota Twins have agreed to trade left-hander Johan Santana to the Mets for Carlos Gomez, Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey. Beyond the obvious impact this will have on the balance of power in the National League, there’s an important lesson here for those who would trade Khalil Greene simply for the sake of trading him.

Do you see the name of Philip Hughes anywhere in the list of players coming to Minnesota? I don’t, and that’s a problem. Greene wouldn’t fetch such a lofty package, of course, but when folks start suggesting that Coco Crisp and assorted scraps might be a reasonable offer, maybe it’s time to consider other options, like hanging onto the guy, getting some use out of him, and then collecting draft picks.

But we’re not talking about Greene today. Nope, we’re talking about Scott Hairston, the man who came excruciatingly close to becoming last season’s hero.

Hairston was a highly regarded second-base prospect in the Arizona system who shifted to the outfield because of “defensive deficiencies” and then got hurt. He came to the Padres last July 27 in a trade for minor-league reliever Leo Rosales. The Padres were chasing Arizona at the time, and Rosales was on the DL, which gives you a good indication of how far Hairston’s stock had fallen.

Anyway, Hairston batted .287/.337/.644 in 95 plate appearances down the stretch. If nothing else, he proved that he can crush a letter-high fastball — shades of Reggie Sanders.

The questions now are these:

  • How much of Hairston’s improvement in 2007 was real, and how much was a small-sample illusion?
  • Can he stay healthy?
  • Will Chase Headley eat into his playing time, and if so, how will this affect Hairston’s performance?

We saw Russell Branyan kick serious tail toward the end of 2006 before fizzling in a more limited role last year. Could the same thing happen to Hairston?

I think the growth is legit and that Hairston will adapt to reduced playing time better than Branyan did: 400 PA, .266/.318/.481. What do you think?

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42 Responses »

  1. I see him getting all the games against Lefties, who he owns to a tune of a 120 OPS+. He’ll also occasionally spell Edmonds, so I actually think 400 ABs is a pretty good guess.


  2. Who knows who’ll be playing in our outfield come opening day or the final day? Hairston will have some playing time.

    320 PA .275/.330/479

  3. I see Hairston as being a repeat of the Sledge gamble of last season. It’s interesting that in the last two years, the Padres’ biggest question marks offensively have been in LF, the position that would seem to have the best potential for sticking in a power hitter. Anyway, I think Hairston will work out a bit better than Sledge, but won’t exactly light Petco on fire:

    300 ABs .247/.322/.433

    Here’s hoping Headley can learn to play the outfield. BTW, is Sammy Sosa officially retired?

  4. 3: Sosa’s not retired. He turned down the Rangers offer to be a bench player because he thought that he could get more playing time elsewhere. I’ll bet that Hairston outproduces Sosa…

  5. I have much more confidence in Hairston than I did in Sledge

    420 PA’s .279/.328/.477

  6. Padres.com article on our pitching staff: http://sandiego.padres.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080129&content_id=2358987&vkey=news_sd&fext=.jsp&c_id=sd

    A lot of people believed that the Santana acquisition gave the Mets the best pitching staff, but I sincerely think that the Padres are set to lead the league in ERA again. I still think we could use an innings eater (Livan Hernandez anyone?), but it looks like the team will try to go with in-house options to fill the fifth slot.

  7. With 5 precincts reporting: 368 PA, .268/.325/.468.

  8. 6: I’d love to have Livan on board! I like the guys we’re taking risk with to bounce back, but you have to balance risk with reward, too, and Livan is almost guaranteed to reward you with 200+ IP at very low risk. Not much upside either, granted, but those IP are there own upside.

  9. Just an FYI – Last night on the local news (Portland, Or) the Beavers unveiled their new logo and color scheme. They now have the same colors (or close too) the Padres.


  10. I think Headley will earn the full time job in left, with Hairston used as a defensive replacement, to give Headley lots of time off, and to spell Edmonds and Giles against lefties. He gets the starts when Edmonds and Giles go down to injury, too. Most of his performance last year with the Padres was a fluke, but his line is helped by facing lots of lefties.

    413 PA, .254/.313/.450.

  11. Headley will earn the full time job in left, with Hairston used as a defensive replacement ? Not a chance.

    .279 .360 .490 w/ 594 PA’s 20 HR’s 80+ rbi’s

    Hairston will be fixture in the Padres outfield for 3 to 4 years.

    For this next year (or half a year at the least) the Pads should get Headley /and Antonelli some more minor league seasoning while acquiring a vet free agent as a one year (but efficient) stopgap.

  12. 375 PA .275/.325/.490

  13. .269/.330/.500 420 PA’s

  14. I sorta think that Scott Hairston will be like Bubba Trammel.

  15. .260/.330/.440

  16. You should look at Hairston’s minor league numbers vs. Trammell’s and Sledge’s if you think that’s a valid comparison (although Hairston had the benefit of playing in hitters parks, not sure about the other two).

    500 PA. 275/330/485

    Don’t forget that Hairston was the D-backs #1 prospect according to Baseball America in both 2003 and 2004.

  17. Eleven precincts reporting: 413 PA, .268/.329/.472.

    #14: Good call on Trammell. His career line: .261/.339/.459

  18. The average prediction looks pretty good to me, considering we got the guy for nothing. I’ll predict at least a couple more walk off bombs and a line of .275/.340/.490 in 400 ABs, including some passable fill in duty in CF.

    There was an article in the NC Times today about Adrian working twice a week with Tony Gwynn on learning to not get himself out by trying to hit homeruns on outside pitches. I also heard him on the radio last week admit that he struck out too often in 3-2 counts, swinging at ball four. Sounds like he knows what he needs to do to get to the next level and Tony is the guy to learn it from. T said Adrian has the ability to be a .320 – .330 hitter.

    I love that it’s still January and we’re seeing the optimistic spring training type stories. Anyone care to make a prediction on which Padre is going to report in the best shape of his life, and who added a new pitch to his repertoire? I predict Michael Barrett will say he lost 10 pounds and feels great and Justin Germano will pick up some change up pointers from Trevor.

  19. Hairston: .265/.310/.460, 420 PAs

    19: see any report on Edmonds immediately after the trade. He even claimed to have developed a new pitch.

  20. 19,20: Yep, Edmonds felt “the best he had in three years”. The fantasy website roto authority is documenting who exactly is “in the best shape of his life”, who has “added pounds of muscle”, who is “learning a new pitch”, etc. None of our guys there yet.

    There’s also an article that searched for the phrases “best shape of his life” and “pounds of muscle” in articles from last year. The writer documents who did the shaping up and how he did last year in comparison with previous seasons. Headley and Peavy are mentioned, so the cliches were predictive in those cases.

  21. Hairston: .274/.341/.498 in 350 plate appearances. Headley will be the starter.

  22. 19: It turns out Chris Young has been working out this offseason to “strengthen his core through pilates and other exercises”. Unfortunately, no one in the rotation is learning any new pitches, or at least none were mentioned in the rotation preview on padres.com

  23. 23: That will help Young a lot. It really will.

  24. 23. Pitchers at this stage in their careers rarely start to tinker with new pitches, unless it’s a fastball grip (two-, four-seamer). I suppose Greg Maddux could try the eephus pitch?

  25. 25: I’m just guessing, but I think Ben was satirizing the evergreen pre-training cliches. After PED began testing a whole bunch of players “lost weight by doing yoga.” Aging veterans who recently qualified to park in the blue spaces at the supermarket “found a new exercise routine that makes them feel like rookies.” And so on.

    8: Me too. The back of our routine has upside (yay, for the first time in forever) but no durability, CY can’t be called an innings-eater until he shows it, and Maddux, while apparently age-less, still turns 42 a couple of weeks into the season.

  26. 26. Thanks for the tip on that, makes more sense now. For what it’s worth, I took a stab at Cy Young’s chances for the Cy Young in 2008 on my blog at: http://coreybrock.mlblogs.com/

  27. 300 PA’s .260/.310/.440

  28. .270/.319/.450, 420 PA’s

  29. Geoff,

    What do you think of the possibility of Barry Bonds coming to San Diego? Story on http://sdsporting.blogspot.com

  30. Darrell: The organization already is facing a perception problem; bringing in a guy who is reviled by a good chunk of the fan base won’t help that. I don’t see it happening.

  31. 31: Not to reload the Bonds discussion, but isn’t a large segment of the fan base with a “perception problem” upset that the Padres don’t do everything possible to win? That they’re content to strive for 90 wins? Some segment of those (I don’t know how big) could be just fine with the idea of bringing in a 900 OPS bat.

    On the Perception Problem in general: Yes, some fans will complain no matter what the facts are. They’ll complain that the Padres don’t have enough hitters and then complain when the Padres trade a rookie-ball reliever for a rental position player because “that was the next Trevor.” But not all of the org’s problems are because of perception or their presentation. Some of them really are problems.

  32. 26: No, I’ve read that Young really is doing that stuff, and I’m a big believer in that stuff.

  33. Regarding Hairston, I like the Reggie Sanders comparison. Too bad he doesn’t have Sanders’ speed, though. Hairston will have to make adjustments if he’s in the lineup more often. If not, we could be seeing a lot of Chase Headley out in LF.

    I have made my statistical predictions for the projected ’08 starting lineup on my site. These predictions (.247-17-51) are based on Hairston getting the majority of the playing time but not based on him making adjustments and having a great season. If he shows he can make adjustments (similar to what Kevin Kouzmanoff did in ’07), he deserves 500 AB’s and I think he’s capable of coming closer to a season like this: .275-26-85. Here are my predictions for the rest of the lineup:


  34. 33: Oh, I know CY is doing it, and I really hope it helps. But “yoga” was one of the explanations for why so many players (including Nevin) magically dropped 25 pounds when serious testing started a few years ago. It didn’t quite reach the status of “I decided to try to get more ground balls instead of strikeouts” or “I’m in the best shape of my life” among baseball cliches, but it was in that neighborhood. I wasn’t referring to CY’s yoga in that light.

  35. Some great links in here guys, nice job all around.

    I’m very pleased to hear that CY is doing core strengthening workouts. I’ve been doing something similar (far less intense I’m sure) and I’ve been very pleased with the results. It should help him prevent injury and may even add a little extra zip to his fastball. CY at 91 mph is very good, CY at 94mh will be overpowering. He has the most unhittable stuff in the majors; if he stays healthy and strong all year he will absolutely contend for the Cy Young.

  36. 35: I see.

    I remember Pudge and others said they went on great diets. I guess they “did yoga,” too.

    I have found the effect of core training to be negligible when I continue to drink beer at a certain rate.

  37. I don’t think K.T. is going to come up with anything better than Hairy. He’ll win the majority of time, eventually stacking up .276/.333/.474 over 420 ABs with 18 HRs, 22 2Bs & 58 RBI.

  38. 410 PA’s .263/.330/.431, and hopefully with plenty of XBHs.
    I’m thinking he can be like Xavier Nady and negate the need to trade for the real McCoy.

    BTW, now that Johan Santana is a Mets, the Padres should look up Darrell May just for the home series against the Metropolitans.

  39. #39: Nice Darrell May reference. Maybe we can bring back Dave Roberts for the game against Santana as well.

    With 18 precincts reporting: 403 PA, .269/.328/.469.

  40. Count me in as a late entry to the field….a la Fred Thompson….maybe I’ll be slightly more successful.

    Harston: 300AB’s .260/.315/.440