Free Talent

Dave · August 23, 2010 at 7:25 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Yesterday, the Giants were awarded Cody Ross on a waiver claim, likely made to keep the Marlins from being able to ship him to San Diego. They didn’t need another outfielder, but they got stuck with him when Florida just let him go, and so they had to clear a roster spot. The guy who lost his spot, Matt Downs, is exactly the kind of guy the Mariners should be picking up and giving at-bats to.

Downs is a 26-year-old right-handed infielder whose career path probably leads to him being a utility player. He’s played mostly second base in the big leagues, but has played everywhere but center field and catcher in the minors. In many ways, he’s similar to Matt Tuiasosopo – only he’s better. He was a 36th round pick in 2006, so he wasn’t promoted through the farm very aggressively, only reaching Triple-A for the first time at age 24. He’s spent the last two years bouncing between Fresno and San Francisco.

Down in Triple-A, he’s hit .280/.339/.460, showing pretty decent power and contact skills, and occasionally the ability to take a walk. In the big leagues, he’s received 148 at-bats, and while his line is just .214/.291/.328, those same underlying skills are still there – the overall line is just dragged down by a .260 batting average on balls in play.

Based on his skills, ZiPS projects Downs for a .321 wOBA going forward. That’s not bad for a guy who can hold down second base and fill in at multiple positions, including shortstop in a pinch. For comparison, ZiPS has Tui posting a .284 wOBA going forward, and Downs is the better defender to boot. If you like Tui, you should like Downs. Same thing, just better.

At this point, the Mariners are just throwing at-bats away with Jose Lopez in the line-up and Chris Woodward on the bench. There’s no chance either of those guys will do anything for the Mariners next year. Downs actually could. Dustin Ackley struggles against lefties, so the team is going to need a right-handed second base option for 2011 in order to give him some days off against tough southpaws, and they may even want to keep him down in Tacoma to start the year to work on his defense and keep his free agent clock from ticking.

Downs could be a cheap, useful fill-in while they wait for Ackley to take the job, and then could easily slide into a utility role after Ackley is promoted. He’s the kind of guy this team should be giving playing time to – someone with some potential to be useful going forward, and who will cost essentially nothing to acquire.

Give the Giants a mediocre relief arm for Downs, and then he and Tui can fight it out for the right-handed utility infielder job. Woodward can go away, and Lopez can stop playing everyday. This is what lost seasons are good for – giving guys like Downs a chance to see what he can do. The Mariners shouldn’t waste opportunities like this so that they can keep running out useless players who will be in another organization next year.

Comments

65 Responses to “Free Talent”

  1. Willie Mays Haze on August 23rd, 2010 7:55 am

    Dave, great article, just the type of great work that is reason I visit this site.

    I hope this turns out to be another example of when the M’s see the same thing as you and add a useful plus player for basically nothing, alá Langerhans.

    And if there is one thing that would make this terrible season a bit more bearable(out side of Felix Days or Ichiro!) is not to have to watch Lopez hack away in the 4 hole anymore.

  2. FelixFanChris420 on August 23rd, 2010 7:58 am

    At this point I’d rather see them trot the Moose out to play 3rd and hit 4th than Lopez.

  3. lalo on August 23rd, 2010 8:14 am

    Great post Dave, you think Mangini has a chance to take place in the team this season or next? He has good numbers in Tacoma and some power …

  4. ShaneA on August 23rd, 2010 9:05 am

    Excellent post Dave. Makes me wish you were a Mariner executive of some sort. Having said that, I’m willing to bet that this move will not be made, and that we’ll see a lot more of Lopez wasting space

  5. FelixFanChris420 on August 23rd, 2010 9:39 am

    Do you think if we got enough signatures on a petition they’d stop playing Lopez? LOL

  6. djtizzo on August 23rd, 2010 9:40 am

    Like sombody was saying earlier, ariticles like this are what keep me coming back. Couldn’t agree more, this is a pick up the M’s MUST look in to. I really don’t think Ackley is as far developed as the orginization thinks he might be. He can hit, but his defense is sketch and he dosn’t hit lefty pitching that great (like Dave points out). He has potential, but he’s no star………..yet!

  7. IwearMsHats on August 23rd, 2010 9:45 am

    I have no faith that the M’s will make a move like this this season.

  8. pgreyy on August 23rd, 2010 10:09 am

    I have no faith that if the M’s DID make this move this season that the player in question wouldn’t suddenly begin hitting at a unfathomable sub-career low clip.

    Doesn’t make the idea to pick him up wrong, of course…it’s just the way things have played out this year…

  9. TomC on August 23rd, 2010 10:11 am

    This is what lost seasons are good for – giving guys like Downs a chance to see what he can do. The Mariners shouldn’t waste opportunities like this so that they can keep running out useless players who will be in another organization next year.

    Precisely. This needs to be said over and over to the people in charge of Mariners’ player decisions until they get it.

    Lopez is not worth league minimum anymore. In addition, he is costing us future success at this point. Bench him, DL him or just plain cut him – I don’t care. Just don’t give him any more playing time.

  10. nick.h on August 23rd, 2010 10:36 am

    Huh…. that’s a darn good point. It kinda begs the question: Why has the team that most closely resembles a AAA affiliate been completely inactive on the waiver wire? Do we honestly believe that every person put on waivers thus far is inferior to our roster?

  11. bookbook on August 23rd, 2010 10:49 am

    Great idea. Here’s why I think it won’t happen:

    the potential upgrade from Tui to Downs is real but not earth shatteringly large.

    the potential perceptual hit to the M’s (especially with casual fans) if Tui breaks out with someone else is large. The M’s lose “face” even if Tui only “breaks out” to Mike Morse like levels of usefulness. (There are still folks out there bemoaning our loss of Bloomquist, for example.)

    This front office absolutely will risk the fans’ ire for a large potential upgrade. For a small one, they may calculate the risk-reward isn’t worth it. (Not worth going to the mat with Howard Lincoln?) If I’m right, I bet a lot of teams would decide the same.

  12. Dave on August 23rd, 2010 11:07 am

    You don’t get rid of Tui to make room for Downs. You get rid of Chris Woodward and you stop playing Lopez everyday. Downs and Tui can split time between 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and LF, and you can even use Downs at SS some to evaluate him there.

    There’s room for both this year. Next year, the loser of the fight between the two can go to Tacoma.

    It’s not an either/or situation.

  13. just a fan on August 23rd, 2010 11:07 am

    Is there any reason they don’t DFA Lopez? There obviously isn’t room for him next year anyway, expecting Ackley at 2nd (unless they deal next year’s 3B Figgins). He would’ve been traded at the deadline if he had any value. So, he has no value, and no spot next year. What is keeping him around?

  14. Rick Banjo on August 23rd, 2010 11:08 am

    Not to open a separate, enormous can of worms, but [deleted, off topic]

  15. Rick Banjo on August 23rd, 2010 11:15 am

    Apologies, Dave.

  16. ShaneA on August 23rd, 2010 11:29 am

    It was asked in an earlier comment, but I’ll ask again. Is there any reason, what-so-ever, for the Mariners to not DFA Lopez at this point? There has to be a reason and I just want to understand.

  17. NorthofWrigleyField on August 23rd, 2010 11:36 am

    Can they send Tui to AAA next year? Won’t he be out of options? I would assume not many teams would want him if he can’t beat out Matt Downs for a utility job… but I wouldn’t be shocked to see a team claim him, if he goes on waivers.

  18. Dave on August 23rd, 2010 11:53 am

    He’s only been optioned in 2009 and 2010. He has another option year.

  19. msfanmike on August 23rd, 2010 12:06 pm

    Nice article and nice find Dave. There is no reason for the Mariners to not make this type of move. It only makes sense, it improves the team, it provides organizational depth, it costs basically nothing and it allows the team to shed parts that are of no value – or are no longer necessary.

    Is the priority for making waiver claims based on reverse order of this years current won-loss record, or is it based on reverse order of last years final regular season won-loss record?

  20. vern on August 23rd, 2010 12:15 pm

    These situations make me wonder if I am just completely out of step with the average Mariners’ fan. I don’t want to see Lopez and Kotchman play. I love watching Saunders, Tui (if he’ not replacing Saunders), and any players who might actually help this team in the future.

    Are there casual fans who think this team can get on a run and win this thing? People who will be turned off from the M’s if they don’t see Lopey in the line-up?

  21. Steve Nelson on August 23rd, 2010 12:25 pm

    Reading this article and the comments, I immediately thought of Marco Scutaro, who went to Oakland from the Mets on a waiver claim.

    Which means that the Mariners did not put in a waiver claim for him because they had the awesome Willie Bloomquist filling that role.

    At that point Scutaro appeared to be simply a reasonably useful utility player with a decent eye at the plate. You don’t need to project that Scutaro would go on to significant improvements; just based on what he was at that time he was clearly the better player.

  22. Utis on August 23rd, 2010 12:37 pm

    I don’t understand why people want to run Lopez out of town. Yes, he has been a disappointment, but so has the whole team. Even in this, his worst season, Lopez rates out as a league average player. In the right ballpark and lineup he could get back to being a 2 WAR player as he was in 08 and 09. He could be effective palying multiple positions (1B, 2B, 3B). He is still relatively young and has been unlucky on BABIP (0.255 vs 0.281 career). Is there any harm in hoping he has a hot September and lifts his trade value? Those of you who want him DFAd are selling him a tad short. Why give him up for nothing when he still has some value? Couple that with the fact that he is Felix’s buddy and a DFA may not be worth it.

  23. msfanmike on August 23rd, 2010 12:46 pm

    Are there casual fans who think this team can get on a run and win this thing?

    Nobody is that blind. Nobody.

    Although the search continues through every farm house, hen-house, crackhouse, white-house, out-house whore-house and dog house to find one … in order to build the 2011 marketing campaign.

  24. Dave on August 23rd, 2010 12:47 pm

    Jose Lopez has no value. The Mariners have been trying to trade him for a year. No one wants him.

  25. just a fan on August 23rd, 2010 12:59 pm

    What is Felix going to do if they ditch Lopez now instead of in November? Buy a time machine and not sign his extension last offseason? Continue his frightening decline that began when they sent Rob Johnson back to Tacoma?

    At least Tuiasosopo won the Rose Bowl.

  26. Utis on August 23rd, 2010 1:06 pm

    Jose Lopez has no value. The Mariners have been trying to trade him for a year. No one wants him.

    He sucks. Get over it.

    If you are correct, the team should DFA him. Care to speculate why they haven’t done it? Perhaps the reason no one wants him is that they realize the Mariners will have to give him up for nothing so he’ll join the pool of interesting freely available talent. I am remainded of Miguel Olivo who also appeared done after his Seattle days.

  27. fdeezle on August 23rd, 2010 1:08 pm

    At least Tuiasosopo won the Rose Bowl.

    No he didn’t. His brother did.

  28. Steve Nelson on August 23rd, 2010 1:15 pm

    If you are correct, the team should DFA him. Care to speculate why they haven’t done it? Perhaps the reason no one wants him is that they realize the Mariners will have to give him up for nothing so he’ll join the pool of interesting freely available talent. I am remainded of Miguel Olivo who also appeared done after his Seattle days.

    Because Dayton Moore doesn’t yet burst into gales of laughter when they mention Lopez to him. Unfortunately, the Royals believe they are well covered already at second, third, and first.

  29. msfanmike on August 23rd, 2010 1:18 pm

    No he didn’t. His brother did

    .

    And that is what made his joke so clever. He was joking. I know that he knows that it was “his brother” … and I don’t even know who he is.

    He also mentioned a “frightening decline” in Felix’ performance since Rojo left. Also a cleverly worded joke.

  30. eponymous coward on August 23rd, 2010 1:41 pm

    I’m pretty sure Jack Zduriencik knows what free talent is, because Ryan Langerhans is part of this organization.

    The problem is that Ryan Langerhans only has about 92 plate appearances to go along with his 0.5 WAR… but Matt Tuiasosopo is playing in LF (-0.5 WAR) with Saunders injured, and Lopez (0 WAR) and Kotchman (-0.3 WAR) are playing every day.

    So the problem isn’t Jack, per se. It’s that the rest of the organization has problems identifying who deserves to play, and who deserves DFAs, beyond the really, REALLY obvious (Junior).

  31. eponymous coward on August 23rd, 2010 1:46 pm

    Oh, and bonus prediction: Lopez will leave the organization after the end of the season, go somewhere where extreme pull RHBs don’t get a complete screw job, recover somewhat, and this will be cited (erroneously) as another case of “why can’t players develop as Mariners”- and if he goes somewhere where pull RHBs are made to look good, it will look like he’s “finally arrived” (even though his “recovery” and “improvement” will all almost CERTAINLY be context-related to his environment).

  32. Westside guy on August 23rd, 2010 1:50 pm

    What is Felix going to do if they ditch Lopez now instead of in November? Buy a time machine and not sign his extension last offseason? Continue his frightening decline that began when they sent Rob Johnson back to Tacoma?

    He’s looked so shell-shocked and lost out there since Rob’s demotion. I’ve noticed Moore’s tried to reassure him by occasionally letting a ball get by him to the backstop; but even with that, it’s obvious Adam doesn’t have the foot-watching skill set of Johnson. That’s why Moore’s cERA is so high, while the Rainier’s pitcher’s ERA has been plummeting the past few weeks.

  33. Pete Livengood on August 23rd, 2010 1:53 pm

    Utis wrote:

    “I don’t understand why people want to run Lopez out of town.”

    I’m partly with you, and party agin’ ya.

    Shannon Drayer recently wrote an interesting defense of Lopez, the person, and I found myself agreeing with everything she said. That’s the part that is with you.

    The part that isn’t with you recognizes that, even in Lopez’ supposed good years, he really wasn’t very good, and he is at best a replacement level player right now. I agree with Dave, he has no trade value. He may have more value to the Mariners than most other teams – and that isn’t saying much, because even the Mariners have no business playing Lopez right now.

    I have little doubt that, if and when Lopez finds another club, he will do what all right-handed hitters who leave Safeco do – improve – but it is past time to cut bait, good person or not.

  34. Westside guy on August 23rd, 2010 2:01 pm

    I have little doubt that, if and when Lopez finds another club, he will do what all right-handed hitters who leave Safeco do – improve – but it is past time to cut bait, good person or not.

    Well I wouldn’t bet too much money on that. As far as another rightie with a similar approach at the plate goes, Yuni seems like a good match – and he didn’t exactly tear things up after he left Safeco. His wOBA is pretty much spot-on what his numbers here were.

  35. eponymous coward on August 23rd, 2010 2:02 pm

    He may have more value to the Mariners than most other teams

    In this ballpark? No, he has LESS value.

    Seriously, this is probably the thing that irritates me the most about the current regime. FIX THE F***ING PARK SO IT DOESN’T UNDULY SCREW 60-75% OF YOUR HITTERS. THERE’S NO WAY YOU CAN FIND ENOUGH LEFTY HITTERS OR ADD ENOUGH CHEAP JARROD WASHBURN CLONES TO THE ROTATION TO MAKE UP FOR THAT.

    Yeah, you could get away with extreme platoon splits in the “Death Valley” version of Yankee Stadium when it was the 1930′s through the 1950′s- and you had carte blanche to stock your farm system with DiMaggios and Gehrigs (and some of the league WAS your farm system, anyway). Those days are long, LONG gone. Go figure, Adrian Beltre looks like an MVP candidate again, now that he’s not playing half his games at Safeco. Whoocoodanode?

  36. JH on August 23rd, 2010 2:06 pm

    Even in this, his worst season, Lopez rates out as a league average player. In the right ballpark and lineup he could get back to being a 2 WAR player as he was in 08 and 09.

    League average = 2 WAR. Jose Lopez = replacement level.

  37. Adam S on August 23rd, 2010 2:17 pm

    Is there any reason, what-so-ever, for the Mariners to not DFA Lopez at this point? There has to be a reason and I just want to understand.

    I’ve wondered the same thing, really more why they keep hitting him cleanup, and actually have a plausible answer. The Mariners offense sucks. Right now we have two good hitters (Branyan and Ichiro) and two guys who are OK (Gutierrez and Figgins, who I believe had a fluky 1st half). We’ve been void at 1B, SS, and C all year and Saunders is hurt. Lopez had a 760 OPS in 2008 and 2009. If you believe his 600 OPS represents his true talent level, then he’s terrible and should hit 7th or 8th. But if you/the Mariners believe his true talent level is a 680 OPS then he actually should be hitting 4th or 5th. While that may be a poor assessment of him, it’s not hard to conceive that the M’s think that.

    Even if you think he’s a 600 OPS guy, what are you going to do if you release him — play Tui and his 530 OPS and bad glove? Until they’re ready to bring up Ackley, they don’t have a better option than Lopez.

    Jose Lopez has no value. The Mariners have been trying to trade him for a year. No one wants him.

    Dave, are you asserting that Lopez won’t get another major league job after the M’s release him, whether during or after the season? I’d take that bet.

  38. gwangung on August 23rd, 2010 2:18 pm

    FIX THE F***ING PARK SO IT DOESN’T UNDULY SCREW 60-75% OF YOUR HITTERS.

    And note…that does not mean making RHs equal to Lefties. Safeco can still favor lefties over righties at the bat; it’s just that you don’t need to absolutely kill and stomp all over your righties….

  39. eponymous coward on August 23rd, 2010 2:25 pm

    I’d actually kind of favor a “everybody gets a small screw job” approach ala Dodger Stadium, to be honest, but OK.

  40. Xteve X on August 23rd, 2010 2:25 pm

    Dave, are you asserting that Lopez won’t get another major league job after the M’s release him, whether during or after the season? I’d take that bet.

    Signing a guy to the contract of your choice and trading anything of value for him are two different things.

    I could see Lopez hanging around as bench fodder/backup utility guy for some crap team like the Royals who seem to love our castoffs. Good and/or smart teams don’t give up anything to get players like that though.

  41. Paul B on August 23rd, 2010 2:31 pm

    Dave, are you asserting that Lopez won’t get another major league job after the M’s release him, whether during or after the season? I’d take that bet.

    No value is not the same as no one year deal loaded with incentives by some team somewhere.

    If he is “free talent”, which is what the post is about, someone somewhere will take a flyer on him in the hopes that he can hit like he did in 2008 and 2009. That doesn’t automatically mean that same team would give up a decent prospect for him.

  42. Utis on August 23rd, 2010 2:58 pm

    The part that isn’t with you recognizes that, even in Lopez’ supposed good years, he really wasn’t very good, and he is at best a replacement level player right now.

    Yes, this year he is performing as a replacement level player which has minimal value. If a change of environment gets him to the 2-3 WAR range, he could deliver fair value at $4.5M. I suspect the Ms would need to take on some of his salary to find a trade partner.

    WRT his good years, are you saying that his 2 WAR years in 08 and 09 were flukes? Or are you saying that not all 2 WAR years are equivalent? If the latter, how one can one spot the difference. Yes, the lucky homerun rate in 09 inflated his stats (and isn’t sustainable in Safeco) but many of those would have been doubles.

    It is also worth noting that Lopez’s defense at 2B last year was better than what Figgins has delivered this year despite the fact Figgins should be a better defender. We should have a post sometime about why Figgins faltered on defense at 2B. That what went a long way towards the failure of the position switch and was quite surprising.

  43. JMHawkins on August 23rd, 2010 3:02 pm

    …Even in this, his worst season, Lopez rates out as a league average player. In the right ballpark and lineup he could get back to being a 2 WAR player as he was in 08 and 09…

    2 WAR is the definition of league average, so if Lopez needs to “get back to” that level of productivity, then he’s most certainly not a league average player. He’s pulling 0.0 WAR this year – absolute replacement level. In 2007, he was as bad as he’s been this year. Both years, his power has just dissapeared. In between he had a couple good years, and 2006 was nearly league average, but that’s 3 our of 5 years that he’s been okay. Average WAR over the last five years is 1.26 – a role player, not a starter.

    I like Lopez, seems like a decent kid. But for whatever reason, he’s terribly inconsistent.

  44. msfanmike on August 23rd, 2010 3:07 pm

    Seriously, this is probably the thing that irritates me the most about the current regime. FIX THE F***ING PARK SO IT DOESN’T UNDULY SCREW 60-75% OF YOUR HITTERS

    Ridiculous.

    Was there something wrong with the park when the Mariners won 116 games? Was there something wrong with the park when the team won 85 games last year. If you “fix the park” (by making it smaller presumably) – you do a big favor for every opponent.

    The Twins have intentionally made a pitchers paradise park – and they are just fine because they have players. The Mariners need better players, not new Architects.

  45. eponymous coward on August 23rd, 2010 3:37 pm

    Was there something wrong with the park when the Mariners won 116 games? Was there something wrong with the park when the team won 85 games last year

    Yes. It’s broken. If your argument is that all the M’s need to do is put together another team that sets a MLB record for games won in a season, you’re proving the point. (Incidentally, the Mariners have almost as many 100-loss seasons playing at Safeco as they do in the Kingdome, so arguing based on the win-loss record might be a problem.)

    Again, look at Adrian Beltre. Look at Mike Cameron. Look at some other players. There’s a consistent problem with RHB playing in this ballpark.

    If you “fix the park” (by making it smaller presumably) – you do a big favor for every opponent

    God knows we wouldn’t want to do favors for opponents when we have been such a dominant team at Safeco… oh, wait, no, we haven’t.

    The problem isn’t that both teams won’t play in the same environment. The problem is that Safeco makes it hard to realistically evaluate and develop RHB. We basically have Dodger Stadium circa the 1960′s for RHB (and a neutral/somewhat positive ballpark for LHB)- and I can think of a number of players who played for the Dodgers during that time who didn’t look so impressive, like Frank Howard and Tommy Davis, who left that ballparks and all of a sudden turned into good/great hitters once they got out of a crap ballpark for hitting. Like, say, Adrian Beltre and Mike Cameron.

    The Mariners need better players, not new Architects.

    Why can’t you have both, and not have to go “well, we can’t really use this RHB because, well, Safeco will just kill him 81 games a year”?

    I actually like the idea of a BALANCED pitcher’s ballpark. What we have isn’t balanced. We basically make it easier for mediocre LH flyball pitchers and hose RHB. It’s not a particularly difficult fix. So make it.

  46. Idaho M on August 23rd, 2010 3:47 pm

    I am really tired of thinking that we add another teams cast offs that we can build a team. I sure hope the Mariners have their sites set on better talent than this.

  47. Pete Livengood on August 23rd, 2010 4:12 pm

    E.C. wrote:

    “He may have more value to the Mariners than most other teams…”

    In this ballpark? No, he has LESS value.

    I know what you mean, but that’s not where I was going….

    Even if you think he’s a 600 OPS guy, what are you going to do if you release him — play Tui and his 530 OPS and bad glove? Until they’re ready to bring up Ackley, they don’t have a better option than Lopez.

    I was thinking more along these lines (and remember, I qualified all this by conceding that this doesn’t represent much “value”). The other thing I was thinking is that our infielders in the high minors are overwhelmingly LH hitting, and the M’s might have use for a veteran RH infielder who can play both corner IF spots adequately, and 2B semi-adequately. I think that is pretty much Lopez’ role, and value, going forward, and even with the park diminishing whatever talent he has, that may be of greater value on a club constructed as the Mariners are than on other clubs…

  48. Pete Livengood on August 23rd, 2010 4:15 pm

    BTW, I’d still play Tui over Lopez, if only to better figure out if 530 OPS is Tui’s “true talent level” (which I don’t think is true).

  49. Utis on August 23rd, 2010 4:30 pm

    the M’s might have use for a veteran RH infielder who can play both corner IF spots adequately, and 2B semi-adequately. I think that is pretty much Lopez’ role

    I think you are right but is that a role worth $4.5M? If the M’s want him for that role they have to decline his option and resign him as a FA to a cheaper contract. If that’s their plan that would explain the lack of a DFA. After the Ms decline his option however, some team will probably take a gamble on him. Moreover, I am sure Dave would claim that Matt Downs would be better for that role than Lopez.

  50. Pete Livengood on August 23rd, 2010 4:46 pm

    No, he’s not worth that, and for this season I’d rather see Tui (or Downs) fill that role. You’re right – Dave would say Downs is better suited for the role, and while I don’t know much about Downs, a cursory look at his numbers suggests Dave is right.

  51. msfanmike on August 23rd, 2010 5:25 pm

    If your argument is that all the M’s need to do is put together another team that sets a MLB record for games won in a season, you’re proving the point

    I wasn’t making an argument. I was pointing out how poor I thought yours was. The ballpark is balanced,except for one aspect … the amount of talent provided by the home team through a myriad of decisions that have nothing to do with 326′, 331′ or 385′.

  52. snapper on August 23rd, 2010 8:01 pm

    the overall line is just dragged down by a .260 batting average on balls in play.

    Dave, I get your overall point, but this is sloppy sabremetrics.

    You know very well that BABIP is a skill for hitters, and given Downs lack of MLB time we really have no idea what his true talent BABIP is.
    It could be .260.

    Stick to his AAA stats when making your argument.

  53. JH on August 23rd, 2010 8:50 pm

    Yes, this year he is performing as a replacement level player which has minimal value.

    Actually, by definition, it has no value. Well, at least no value over a replacement level player. Factor in his 7-figure salary, and Lopez actually has significantly less value than a replacement level player.

  54. Jack Howland on August 23rd, 2010 8:58 pm

    Tommy Davis, who left that ballparks and all of a sudden turned into good/great hitters once they got out of a crap ballpark for hitting.

    Tommy Davis had two great years at Dodger stadium, and never became a good hitter for any consistant length of time after he left.

  55. marinerblue on August 23rd, 2010 9:55 pm

    If Tui is playing on this team next year, we suck. He is not a major league player, at least not on an average (or above average team). Its great he’s a hometown kid and all, but we need to cut the court. He can’t hit and is a stiff in the field. He’s hitting .169 for sh!ts sake!

    Enough with the human interest side of baseball. This team needs winners and the best players possible, not a guy that brings in an extra 60 fans a game because some fans like the fact he’s local and his bro played football for UW. If he’s playing next year, we’ve become Kansas City.

  56. Dave on August 23rd, 2010 10:28 pm

    You know very well that BABIP is a skill for hitters, and given Downs lack of MLB time we really have no idea what his true talent BABIP is.
    It could be .260.

    You know what we don’t do when we don’t “know” something? Assume that the guy is an outlier. There’s no reason to believe his true talent BABIP is .260. Assume .300 unless you have a reason not to.

  57. snapper on August 24th, 2010 5:21 am

    You know what we don’t do when we don’t “know” something? Assume that the guy is an outlier. There’s no reason to believe his true talent BABIP is .260. Assume .300 unless you have a reason not to.

    .300 is MLB average. That includes all the really good hitters.

    As a 26 y.o. waiver wire pick-up with mediocre minor league stats and modest power, the far safer, and more likely assumption is that he is worse than MLB average. His career AAA BABIP is <.300, ~ .295 by my quick calculations, why would you assume he not only doesn't fall off, but betters that in MLB?

    Sure, regress him some from the .260, but don't pretend you should regress it all the way to average. We have a lot of information that suggests he's a worse than average MLB hitter. Exhibit A: he's freely available.

  58. terry on August 24th, 2010 7:49 am

    Dave, I get your overall point, but this is sloppy sabremetrics.

    You know very well that BABIP is a skill for hitters, and given Downs lack of MLB time we really have no idea what his true talent BABIP is.
    It could be .260.

    Stick to his AAA stats when making your argument.

    I love irony so, well, I feel the need to point this out…

    Downs’ AAA BABIP is .305 over 707 at bats…. For those who are interested in more than just AAA numbers, his career minor league BABIP is .321 over 1614 at bats.

  59. Dave on August 24th, 2010 8:09 am

    Yeah, snapper is just wrong. ZiPS projects his BABIP going forward at .286. You don’t project outliers based on a lack of data. For coming in with your normal attitude and claims of “sloppy sabermetrics”, maybe you should try harder to know what you’re talking about?

  60. gwangung on August 24th, 2010 8:09 am

    I wasn’t making an argument. I was pointing out how poor I thought yours was. The ballpark is balanced,except for one aspect … the amount of talent provided by the home team through a myriad of decisions that have nothing to do with 326?, 331? or 385?.

    I think you did nothing of the sort. You pretty much blew off the point and ignored it.

  61. baetown415 on August 24th, 2010 11:09 am

    Frandsen… now Downs… watch for Ryan Rohlinger in the next couple of seasons if the Giants don’t give him a shot.

  62. heyoka on August 24th, 2010 11:12 am

    Giants could use Sean White…..swap! swap!

  63. snapper on August 24th, 2010 11:24 am

    Yeah, snapper is just wrong. ZiPS projects his BABIP going forward at .286. You don’t project outliers based on a lack of data. For coming in with your normal attitude and claims of “sloppy sabermetrics”, maybe you should try harder to know what you’re talking about?

    .286 which is not .300.

    How is that inconsistent with my statement?

    Sure, regress him some from the .260, but don’t pretend you should regress it all the way to average.

    People throw around low, or high BABIP all the time saying the guy is going to regress. Well, for hitters they don’t all regress to .300.

    Just making the leap: low BABIP = regress to .300 is sloppy sabremetrics.

  64. terry on August 24th, 2010 12:16 pm

    .300 is MLB average. That includes all the really good hitters.

    Presumably it includes all of the really bad hitters too….

  65. terry on August 24th, 2010 12:20 pm

    Just making the leap: low BABIP = regress to .300 is sloppy sabremetrics.

    Given all we know about Downs, which is a bigger leap-his BABIP will regress to .300 or the assumption that he could be a true talent .260 BABIP guy?

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