Brendan Ryan’s Job Should Not Be In Jeopardy

Dave · May 2, 2012 at 10:47 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

With the Mariners scuffling and Brendan Ryan in the midst of an 0 for 25 slump, there seems to be some clamoring for some change at shortstop. I’ll be honest – I find this to be pretty strange.

Brendan Ryan is not a particularly good hitter. At his best, he’s been a bit below league average. At his worst, he’s been one of the least effective hitters in the game. He bounces around between awful and tolerable at the plate, and because he’s not particularly good at hitting, he has stretches where he looks absolutely hopeless – like the one he’s in now.

In fact, Ryan has a stretch like this every few months.

In June of 2010, he had a five game stretch where he went 0 for 17.
In July of 2010, he had an eight game stretch where he went 0 for 21.
Last April/May, he had a six game stretch where he went 0 for 19.
Last August, Ryan had a six game stretch where he went 0 for 15.

This one’s included more strikeouts, so I guess it looks worse than the others, but it’s not like Ryan going hitless for an extended period of time is anything new. This happens to bad hitters more often than you might think.

Of course, Ryan isn’t in the line-up for his bat, he’s in there for his glove, which happens to be amongst the best in baseball. And, yes, Ryan’s defense makes up for his offensive shortcomings, at least to a large enough degree to make him a roughly league average shortstop. Since the start of the 2009 season, Ryan has hit just .247/.308/.333 (that’s a 77 wRC+) but has still been worth +7.4 WAR, the 16th highest total of any shortstop during the last 3+ years.

He’s a classic great glove/no bat shortstop, and Major League teams have been running these guys out since the beginning of time. In fact, the M’s had a young shortstop with this exact same skillset 20 years ago. From 1991 to 1993, Omar Vizquel hit .261/.321/.314 (that’s also a 77 wRC+), yet his excellent defense allowed him to rack up +8.4 WAR in those three years. The Mariners then traded him away for an “offensive upgrade” in Felix Fermin, and, well, you know the rest.

I’m not saying Brendan Ryan is Omar Vizquel. I am saying that Ryan is a top shelf defensive shortstop, however, and he creates enough value with the glove that the Mariners can live with some offensive shortcomings. Getting a worse player in the line-up, even if that worse player brings more offense to the table, isn’t going to help the Mariners win more games. The Mariners don’t “need more offense” – they need more production, and just trading a few more runs scored for a few more runs allowed doesn’t get them anywhere.

Yes, you could put Kyle Seager at shortstop and Alex Liddi at third and take the hit defensively, but what’s the point? If you want to get Liddi on the field, just play him at DH and put Carp in left, or just put Liddi himself in left and see how quickly he can pick up playing the outfield. The Mariners have a useless player with no value to the team and no future in the organization whose playing time can easily be stripped and given to Liddi if getting him more regular work is the goal, and it doesn’t require the team take a significant hit defensively (Figgins, you might have noticed, is a lousy left fielder) in order to make it happen.

If you want to play Seager at short occasionally against righties on days when Montero is DHing and you can only have three of Seager/Ryan/Carp/Liddi in the line-up in some combination of 3B/SS/LF, fine, having him play there once a week or so won’t destroy you, especially if you can line it up with a day that a flyball guy like Noesi is throwing. But, let’s not kid ourselves – Brendan Ryan is still one of the five or six best position players on this team, and the team is worse on days when he doesn’t play.

As for Munenori Kawasaki, he’s an even worse hitter than Ryan. ZIPS projects him for a team worst .600 OPS going forward, and he’s done absolutely nothing to show that his lack of hitting in Japan wasn’t a reflection of his actual skills. He’s never hit, he’s not going to hit, and giving him playing time for any reason besides “Ryan needs a day off” is a waste of everyone’s time.

Over on FanGraphs, we update the rest-of-season ZIPS projections on a daily basis, taking into account all performance up through the prior night’s games, and adjusting for how players have performed most recently. Among position players, here’s how ZIPS sees the relative merits of the guys on the roster for the remainder of the 2012 season:

Ackley: +3.3 WAR
Seager: +2.4 WAR
Ichiro: +2.2 WAR
Montero: +1.8 WAR
Ryan: +1.8 WAR
Carp: +1.6 WAR
Saunders: +1.4 WAR
Liddi: +1.3 WAR

Liddi’s had a nice start to the year, and the team should try to find ways to work him in more often (here’s an idea: release Chone Figgins), but benching Brendan Ryan isn’t going to do this team any good. If they want to give him another day off to help “clear his head”, fine, he’s not good enough to necessitate being in the line-up every single day.

But stop calling for Brendan Ryan to lose his job. He’s the best shortstop in the organization and it’s not even close. He’s not going to slump forever, and he’s not the problem with the Mariners roster.

Comments

49 Responses to “Brendan Ryan’s Job Should Not Be In Jeopardy”

  1. JoshJones on May 2nd, 2012 10:53 pm

    We know what we have in BRyan. Munenori could be a potential .300 hitter without losing much defensively. As a result, i’d rather see him given a shot.

  2. Keo on May 2nd, 2012 10:55 pm

    Your post doesn’t mention Kawasaki. What do you think of him? He seems capable of hitting above .200 and seems to play above average defense at shortstop.

  3. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2012 10:59 pm

    I don’t believe Wedge adequately values defense, although I’m basing that on nothing but assumptions and inferences based on sound bites. But he’s an old-school guy, and I suspect that means he sees nothing wrong with a all-glove/no-bat shortstop (as long as said shortstop doesn’t hit .125 for much longer), just like he doesn’t seem to think hitting is all that important for a catcher.

    So in that regard, Ryan’s catching a break.

  4. Dave on May 2nd, 2012 10:59 pm

    Uhh, yeah, if you think Kawasaki can hit .300 in the majors, you’re nuts.

  5. nad on May 2nd, 2012 11:01 pm

    @Keo, ryan is also capable of hitting > .200, see every year except the small sample size this season

  6. Liam on May 2nd, 2012 11:03 pm

    The most annoying part of all this is that people in the media who should know better keep bringing up his batting average (.125) which makes him look worse than he actually is.

  7. samregens on May 2nd, 2012 11:22 pm

    It’s not just his terrible batting average. (Which at .125 is indeed putrid, by the way.)

    Ryan is striking out more than 1 in 4 times he comes up to the plate. That is worse than Chone Figgins.

    And I don’t like his sloppy mistakes because of lack of concentration or whatever, which have ended up hurting the team a lot.

    The actual damage of Ryan’s untimely errors and goofs are probably not accurately quantitatively evaluated by UZR, etc.

  8. colinokeefe on May 2nd, 2012 11:24 pm

    That 1.8 WAR Zips projection currently puts Brendan Ryan 22nd among Major League shortstops, and assumes he rebounds to raise the average up to .239.

    Is this projection really acceptable to the point that it isn’t at all worth trying alternatives? Is not running out what’s an average to below average shortstop going to prove noticeably detrimental to this team?

    I don’t see Kawasaki being an improvement, but there’s some potential with Seager. Say you run about even in the runs he gives up on the field vs the runs he produces at the plate—worth finding out what you have in him.

  9. Keo on May 2nd, 2012 11:24 pm

    Well here is hoping Ryan bounces back. It’s not like he’s blocking any ready-to-go shortstops stuck in AAA right now.

    However, it’s not like he’s part of the long term plan. I will say that if there was ever a year to try and train Seager to play short to get greater value out of him long term, this would be it…

    If they DFA’d Figgins, who do you think they would bring up? I can’t really think of anyone in the minors I’m dying to see in the majors right now. I guess I would be OK just benching him and throwing him out there whenever a guy needed a day off.

  10. samregens on May 2nd, 2012 11:26 pm

    Playing as bad as Ryan is, I see no reason not to give Muni an extended look.

    Ryan is nowhere near as good or elite a player where he can keep getting away playing as terrible as he has (because of benefit of the doubt).

  11. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2012 11:31 pm

    Brendan Ryan’s strikeout rate is actually slightly lower than Figgins’ – not enough to argue about, though.

    Ryan’s OBP is currently .280, which is higher than Figgins’ by a few points.

    Thing is, Ryan’s BABIP right now is .163 which really is not even remotely sustainable. Figgins, by comparison, currently has a BABIP of .262 – probably still low for him, but it’s not an unbelievable value.

  12. Klatz on May 2nd, 2012 11:33 pm

    Ryan’s BABIP is 0.163 right now with a LD% of 18.2% that suggests that a fair amount of his bad hitting could be attributed to bad luck. His career average is around 0.290. Of course he’s also striking out at 24% clip much worse than his career average of 14%.

    He’s “should” get better with more at bats.

  13. Faceplant on May 2nd, 2012 11:37 pm

    “Ryan is striking out more than 1 in 4 times he comes up to the plate. That is worse than Chone Figgins.”

    His increase in walks more than offsets his increase in strike outs.

    Ryan is running a .163 BABIP while seeing virtualy no decline in his peripheral skills (18% line drive percentage, only a slightly lower contact percentage…)

    There is no possible way that he maintains a .163 BABIP while running those types of batted ball numbers. None.

  14. Keo on May 2nd, 2012 11:38 pm

    I saw his OBP was .280 but I didn’t realize that his BABIP was so low. I guess I’ve just been blinded by his awful ABs as of late…

  15. samregens on May 2nd, 2012 11:48 pm

    Of course I don’t think a .125 BA is sustainable.

    Nobody’s arguing about that.

    But when a player is in such a rut and more importantly looking worse and worse at the plate like Ryan, I think it’s time to sit him down for a while.

    Especially when there are not fully tried potentially interesting replacements.

  16. samregens on May 2nd, 2012 11:53 pm

    Above should have been “not-fully-tried”, sorry.

  17. UnderTheClouds on May 3rd, 2012 12:18 am

    Ryan will have plenty of company to commiserate with over hitting woes this weekend at the Safe–the Twins are coming to town.

  18. groundzero55 on May 3rd, 2012 12:56 am

    I live in Minneapolis and get the *pleasure* of watching the Twins on tv every night. They have looked atrocious this week against the Angels. If the M’s can’t pull off a series win against the Twinkies, I’ll be sorely disappointed.

  19. Miles on May 3rd, 2012 4:43 am

    This is two posts here in a row I’ve read that have talked about Zips projections. Since when does Zips maintain the planets in orbit? Zips is meaningless to the M’s current situation. The M’s aren’t projecting baseball in Tampa today, they are playing it.

    Ryan’s WAR over the last three years is not factored in with his .125 BA currently and just because Ryan has had stretches of sucktitude in the past does not justify playing him now.

    There is zero reason to not give him a day off or two a week until he gets his act together. If in a month he doesn’t, changes must be made.

  20. TiltedMug on May 3rd, 2012 5:58 am

    You can hide a .125 average for strong defense, with a strong lineup. The M’s don’t have that. Heck if interleague play started tomorrow this is what 7(Smoak .184), 8(Ryan .125) 9(Say Felix .125) and top of the order 1(Figgins .198) would look like. .125 is Felix’s career average and that’s what Ryan’s hitting this year. That puts high stress on every pitcher and every other guy in the lineup. Having Ryan and Figgins in the lineup is slowing Ackley and Smoak’s growth and eventually it’ll stunt everyone’s growth.

  21. Liam on May 3rd, 2012 6:26 am

    Since when does Zips maintain the planets in orbit? Zips is meaningless to the M’s current situation. The M’s aren’t projecting baseball in Tampa today, they are playing it.

    Eric Wedge is doing some sort of number crunching or “gut feeling” when writing out the lineup, Zips is that expect much more refined.

  22. jjracoon on May 3rd, 2012 6:27 am

    Brendan Ryan is not the problem on this team. At the start of the year the four players that were identified to provide the offense needed to make this team more productive were Smoak, Ackley, Carp and Montero with a prior to 2011 Ichiro. The only ones coming close right now is Montero and Ichiro and both of them are not showing enough consistent power to make up for the lack of production from the rest.

    If it wasnt for spurts of offense from Saunders, Seager and Liddi plus a couple gems from Jaso this team would probably be in deep doodoo.

    Besides Ryan must be doing something right as he is the top runs scored on the team so he does get on base.

  23. eponymous coward on May 3rd, 2012 7:29 am

    Especially when there are not fully tried potentially interesting replacements.

    Seager isn’t a shortstop (and is doing just fine at 3B, so don’t fix something that isn’t broken by moving a young player from a position they can field defensively to one they can’t) and Kawasaki is a worse player than Ryan (basically, he’s Willie Bloomquist, the Japanese version- grit, hustle, and replacement level).

    The correct person to be throwing out of the lineup for a replacement right now is the guy who isn’t adding offensive OR defensive value. That would be Figgins.

  24. Mariners35 on May 3rd, 2012 8:15 am

    giving him playing time for any reason other than “Ryan needs a day off” is wasting everyone’s time

    Ryan needs a day off.

    Get Kawasaki in there, especially in day game after night game sorts of situations like today.

    Rather than reactive thinking about guys with recurring injury problems, i.e. Ryan’s neck, it would be good to be proactive and rest him once a week. This keeps Ryan’s valuable glove in there more often and more predictably. That is better than unexpectedly losing Ryan’s defense for several days, possibly a 15-day DL stint, due to overuse that happened simply because the defensive dropoff from Ryan to MK, Seager, Figgins, etc. is so large.

  25. Paul B on May 3rd, 2012 8:31 am

    Using comparisons to Figgins to argue that Ryan needs to be benched isn’t a good argument for several reasons, among them:

    1. Ryan has defensive value, and is playing a position on the left side of the defensive spectrum (over there with catcher). Figgins has no real defensive value, and is playing a position on the right side (only 1B and DH to the right of LF).

    2. The M’s don’t really have another SS right now. They have other choices in the OF.

    3. Ryan could reasonably be expected to regress up to his career norms. Figgins is likely to be what we have gotten in the last 2 years.

  26. Double Suicide Squeeze on May 3rd, 2012 8:31 am

    If moving Ackley to 2B to maximize his value was such a good idea, why can’t the same logic be applied to moving Seager to SS? Like Dave said, it’s not like we have anyone ready and waiting in AAA to be the next SS, and Ryan isn’t part of the long term plan. Obviously if Seager can’t handle it defensively it wouldn’t work, but shouldn’t we at least try it since we already know this is a rebuilding year? What do we have to lose? Oh and Figgins needs to go ASAP so that Liddi/Carp/Wells get some ABs…it’s a REBUILDING year, time to start acting like it.

  27. TiltedMug on May 3rd, 2012 9:17 am

    Let’s just trade Ryan and Figgins for Pujols. Maybe the Angels will eat most of Albert’s contract. (Just wanted to be the first to propose an unrealistic, never going to happen trade).

  28. Mariners35 on May 3rd, 2012 9:38 am

    The M’s don’t really have another SS right now.

    Kawasaki, with his 8 Japan League All Star appearances and 2 Japan League Gold Gloves, says “konnichiwa”.

  29. Mariners35 on May 3rd, 2012 9:48 am

    Kawasaki is a worse player than Ryan (basically, he’s Willie Bloomquist, the Japanese version- grit, hustle, and replacement level).

    Incorrect.

    Kawasaki in 10 years in the Japan League:
    .294 average, 27 home runs, 1343 hits, 267 stolen bases.
    Bloomquist in going on 10 years in ML:
    .263 average, 17 HR, 606 hits, 126 SB.

    Unless you can show me wOBA and WAR stats for the Japan Leagues that are normalized to ML stats, or show me a standard, broadly accepted formula that converts most Japan League stats to their ML equivalents, I do not agree that Kawasaki = Bloomquist.

    Handwaving the Japan League level of competition as being AAAA or so, with a side order of shorter seasons and less travel time, does not equate to a 30 point difference in career average and halving the home runs, hits or SB someone could get.

  30. spankystout on May 3rd, 2012 10:06 am

    Ryan may not need to be cut–but he needs a few days off to fix his swing. It has gotten really long and he is check swinging at everything. It looks like he can’t pick up the ball until it is halfway home.

  31. Ibuprofen on May 3rd, 2012 10:15 am

    I don’t think he’s in any danger of losing his job. Per Larry Stone:

    Wedge stressed the need to get Brendan Ryan going with bat. “He’s taken away more runs at shortstop than anyone in the game. That’s real…”If you get a guy that can defend himself at home plate, and just be even borderline average, you have a championship-level shortstop.”

    So Wedge seems to understand that Ryan’s value is primarily due to his glove, and that his bat only has to averagish to be an extremely valuable player.

  32. Paul B on May 3rd, 2012 10:18 am

    Kawasaki is actually a year older than Ryan.
    Kawasaki’s last year in Japan was .267-.310-.327.
    Last year, Ryan was .248-.313-.326.

    Neither one is likely to suddenly develop into a good hitter, but I suppose stranger things have happened.

  33. eponymous coward on May 3rd, 2012 10:52 am

    Kawasaki in 10 years in the Japan League:
    .294 average, 27 home runs, 1343 hits, 267 stolen bases.
    Bloomquist in going on 10 years in ML:
    .263 average, 17 HR, 606 hits, 126 SB.

    Kawasaki was a J League regular most of those years, so using counting stats is misleading. Bloomquist has a grand total of one year as a regular. We’re talking the same basic skill set: slap hitter, not a ton of walks, speed, middle infielder, gets uniform dirty.

    Handwaving the Japan League level of competition as being AAAA or so, with a side order of shorter seasons and less travel time, does not equate to a 30 point difference in career average and halving the home runs, hits or SB someone could get.

    http://www.japaneseballplayers.com/en/player.php?id=ichiro

    Oh, look, half of a HOF’ers homers went away, and a good chunk of batting average.

    Kawasaki’s last year in Japan was .267-.310-.327.
    Last year, Ryan was .248-.313-.326.

    Oh, and Willie Bloomquist’s career numbers?

    .263/.315/.338

    So… yeah. I am unconvinced that Kawasaki is anything more than a backup infielder in MLB.

  34. goat on May 3rd, 2012 11:06 am

    I was thinking in spring training that if Seager gets any time at shortstop it should be when Vargas is pitching because of his flyball tendencies. If Noesi is a flyball pitcher that would make sense for him as well. But I don’t see making Seager the fulltime SS as being a good idea. Munenori might be at the same level as Ryan, but he’s certainly not the future at SS, and he might be considerably worse. The most I can see happening there is some sort of SS platoon if Ryan continues to struggle for weeks. So I’m mostly in agreement: Ryan gets a few days off here and there, especially when struggling, but he should be looked at as the main SS.

    Speaking of Figgins, do you think there’s a chance of trading him to the A’s for Brandon Inge? Even if we pick up all of Figgins remaining salary, it’s probably a good deal. They are both terrible at this point, but Inge was a catcher a few years ago, so he could basically take the role that Jaso had for the first few weeks of the year plus add some positional flexibility with 3B. And the A’s are obviously desperately in need of someone to play third. I realize that this is only marginally better than a DFA, but it might be another option for getting rid of Figgins.

  35. Kazinski on May 3rd, 2012 12:38 pm

    I notice that the people that want Ryan to be benched are talking about his batting average. That should tell you all you need to know right there about what they know about baseball. They don’t mention his BABIP or his team high BB%.

    And forget about ZIPS, right now as much as Ryan is scuffling, his wOBA is 10 points higher than Kawasaki’s. Right now as bad as his 47 wRC+ is, Kawasaki’s is at 33. Based on this guideline for wRC+:

    Excellent 120
    Great 100
    Above Average 80
    Average 60
    Below Average 55
    Poor 50
    Awful 40

    Ryan offensively is between Poor and Awful. Kawasaki is worse than Awful. Defensively Ryan is great, Kawasaki is below average. There really isn’t a rational for playing Kawasaki everyday.

  36. MrZDevotee on May 3rd, 2012 1:11 pm

    What’s sad is that we’re so USED to sucking that we can totally overlook that currently luck really is playing a huge roll in our not scoring…

    I did this myself two days ago with a “this sure feels like the 2nd half of 2011″ post.

    Then, Ryan not withstanding, today I was shocked to hear we’re 4th in the AL in hits right now. That’s REALLY FRICKIN’ GOOD. So, not scoring runs is a flexible thing that should fluctuate naturally. And this played itself out the other night with our 9 hits, 1 run game.

    The ENTIRE TEAM being 0-for-30 with runners in scoring position is more troublesome than Ryan being 0-for-14 with 12 K’s.

    If there is anything real about “pitcher’s bearing down” with guys on base, it also makes sense that with our young roster, a lot of those guys are seeing “best pitches” from many starters and relievers in the AL for the first time.

    As long as he’s taking walks, and making great plays at SS, and batting low in the lineup, I’ll give Ryan a pass… He’s NOT the problem with this team in the same way that Ichiro was NOT the problem with this team last year.

    He’s doing exactly what we expected from him, except getting on base more than I figured because of walks.

    Do I want him up with the game on the line and men on base. Well, no. And that’s the issue really right now, he’s had a LOT of those at bats lately… And there definitely is a difference between batting when the pitcher is pitching to contact to keep his pitch count down against a weak hitter, and trying to K the same guy ’cause there’s a guy on 3rd with less than 2 outs.

    Hitting is Ryan’s weakness… Has been and will be going forward. As long as he keeps his throwing errors down, and as long as we HAVE NO OTHER SHORTSTOP to speak of, he’s fine.

  37. SonOfZavaras on May 3rd, 2012 2:54 pm

    But stop calling for Brendan Ryan to lose his job. He’s the best shortstop in the organization and it’s not even close. He’s not going to slump forever, and he’s not the problem with the Mariners roster.

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Keeping dead weight like Figgins around is the problem with the Mariners roster.

    I think the time to cut bait on Figgins is drawing nigh.

    We’d hoped he would build up some kind of value back. It isn’t happening.

    Cut him loose.

  38. Mariners35 on May 3rd, 2012 3:36 pm

    Oh, look, half of a HOF’ers homers went away, and a good chunk of batting average.

    Oh, look, SSS.

    Again: especially given what site we’re on while discussing this, back up your assertion about Kawasaki being a Japan League Bloomquist with advanced stats.

    If you don’t have the conversion rate for Japan League stats that normalizes them against ML competition, then you’re speculating based on a superficial understanding of his skill set like anyone else (myself included).

    And hey, Kazinski:

    And forget about ZIPS, right now as much as Ryan is scuffling, his wOBA is 10 points higher than Kawasaki’s. Right now as bad as his 47 wRC+ is, Kawasaki’s is at 33. Based on this guideline for wRC+:

    Using wOBA of a player who has 32 ML plate appearances, is pretty funny.

    Especially when you just spent the previous paragraph chiding me for using a 10-year average of someone’s batting average to measure that player’s worth.

    And, in case it wasn’t clear, playing Kawasaki once or twice a week to minimize the chances of a Ryan injury is not the same as “benching”. But hey, as you noted, shows what I know about baseball. Pop quiz, Mr. Baseball Guru: how will Ryan be able to continue contributing with his team high BABIP and walk rate if he lands on the 15-day-DL with a stiff neck again?

  39. Dave on May 3rd, 2012 4:32 pm

    If you’re unaware of the numerous studies on the conversion rates of Japanese stats, maybe you should stop and consider that other people aren’t as ignorant as you are on the subject.

    Here’s one link, which took 10 seconds of googling.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1330

    Kawasaki had a career .727 OPS in Japan. Even if you just translated that at a straight .95 multiplier, you’d have a .680 OPS. Adjust for aging curves and the fact that his recent performance has been much worse, and you get a low-to-mid .600 OPS.

    Or you could just look at ZIPS, which does all of this for you. It projects Kawasaki for a .600 OPS.

    He can’t hit. That’s why he got a minor league contract. Find another thing to be wrong about.

  40. stevemotivateir on May 3rd, 2012 4:53 pm

    I never thought there would be a real serious debate as to whether Ryan should lose his starting job just because of his hitting. But I have believed he would/will be a trade-candidate. It’ll be interesting to see how things play-out. I’m not so down on Kawasaki, simply because we haven’t seen much of him. But I don’t think there’s any doubt that Ryan’s the better SS.

  41. TiltedMug on May 3rd, 2012 5:23 pm

    There are nuggets of use on this site, but at times, Dave, it seems like you’re trying to prove that the world isn’t round. The made up numbers you throw out don’t take in so many variables. At some point a .125 average is what it is. Bad.

  42. Dave on May 3rd, 2012 6:14 pm

    You can cling to your ignorance or learn. Up to you.

  43. TiltedMug on May 3rd, 2012 6:53 pm

    We’re all ignorant in varing ways. And every day is an opportunity to learn and somedays we choose to be open to that and others not. Math is absolute and from what I gather that’s your language. But it’s the people that create those numbers. People make baseball and numbers judge them. Figgins had a high war when we signed him but it was based on a team much different than our own and his war changed drastically. I believe a players environment affects them as much as their skill level or more. Brendan Ryan could be a key asset on a juggernaut offense but on a team such as ours I believe he’s an anchor. That’s my belief and you’re allowed yours. I won’t turn aside your views without consideration. I’m willing to learn just as everyone should be.

  44. Mariners35 on May 3rd, 2012 6:57 pm

    Here’s one link, which took 10 seconds of googling.
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1330

    That’s a ten-year-old study, using data based off of 1990′s Japan Leagues players who came over to AAA. Perhaps another 10 seconds of googling will find more recent or inclusive data?

    Or you could just look at ZIPS, which does all of this for you.

    A small sample size problem is a small sample size problem whether it’s in casual fan forums or a number generated by a Fangraphs contributor and premiere sabermetrician. ZIPS’ accuracy is not so precise year over year that you can take ZIPS’s projections based on 30-odd plate appearances and take it as gospel.

    And, yet again, this is about the merits of a backup shortstop playing once a week, so that Ryan minimizes the chances of getting knocked out by the injuries he’s prone to getting. It’s not about putting Ryan in the Jack Wilson Memorial Doghouse or something. So disparaging Kawasaki with fantasy baseball projection system voodoo, and outdated formulas, in order to pretend there’s no other shortstops on the team, so that you can be as bloody-minded about Ryan as Wedge has been about Olivo, is weird.

  45. Dave on May 3rd, 2012 8:24 pm

    Seriously, you just need to stop talking.

    ZIPS includes translated Japanese stats. It’s based on his entire career.

    When you don’t know what you’re talking about, try to be less emphatic.

  46. Mariners35 on May 3rd, 2012 9:09 pm

    As you wish. It’s your site.

  47. marcus_andrews on May 3rd, 2012 10:59 pm

    As an aside, I agree that Ryan should keep playing and agree that to some degree his BABIP will stabilize, but I don’t know that you can say he’s been ridiculously unlucky. I think that’s part of the problem with BABIP is that people immediately think it tells you if someone has been unlucky or not.

    While of course it should go up, and it will. He also just isn’t hitting the ball that hard. Not to say that there aren’t legitimate arguments for saying he is better offensively than conventional stats say, he still has been struggling a lot with the bat and I don’t think that can be completely discounted.

    His defense is still much, much better than the improved offense we would get with anyone else (especially Kawasaki). With that said, I did argue for Seager playing more at short and I still don’t mind the idea. I don’t think he should be our full-time starter, but as mentioned, maybe when a fly ball pitcher is throwing and Ryan needs a day off it wouldn’t hurt us drastically and would give other guys (mostly Alex Liddi) more chances to show what they can do.

  48. eponymous coward on May 3rd, 2012 11:49 pm

    And, yet again, this is about the merits of a backup shortstop playing once a week, so that Ryan minimizes the chances of getting knocked out by the injuries he’s prone to getting.

    And… if THAT is what we’re arguing about, I don’t have a problem with it. Kawasaki is a backup, not a starter, but then again… so was Princess Willie. Using someone like that for 150-200 PAs a year to back up in the middle infield won’t kill you.

  49. Mariners35 on May 4th, 2012 7:08 am

    Thank you, EC. That is, indeed, what we were arguing about. We’re in agreement.

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