Tag Archives: Chris Dickerson

PECOTA Hitting

Posted by Steve

On to hitting projections. I’m doing my best to get this done before Opening Day, so here goes.

Rickie Weeks

.259/.359/.440, 16 HRs, 12 SBs, 2.0 WARP

While this is still a valuable player at second base, they have Weeks taking a big step back from his 4.6 WARP season of 2010. Most of it comes in the fact that he has an injury history, and they project him for 484 plate appearances compared to last year’s 754. Basically, what this is saying is that if Rickie’s healthy, he’ll produce–which he always has.

Carlos Gomez

.245/.293/.343, 5 HRs, 22 SBs, 0.1 WARP

Gross. Just gross. And Roenicke’s going to hit this joker second in the lineup. Gomez is what he is at age 25, and that is someone who swings at everything. His defense is very good, but his bat makes him nothing more than a backup outfielder, and that’s what he’s most likely to be for the rest of his career. A platoon with Nyjer Morgan is ideal at this point.

Ryan Braun

.303/.364/.531, 30 HRs, 16 SBs, 4.8 WARP

Finally, someone projected to improve upon last season. I think this is the first one between the pitcher and hitter projections so far. They pointed out his odd struggles against lefties last season after mashing them all of his career, and say it’s likely that it’s a small sample fluke. These projections aren’t really meant for guys like Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder–you know those guys are going to hit.

Prince Fielder

.279/.394/.528, 36 HRs, 3 SBs, 3.9 WARP

Another player likely to improve. Fielder showed great discipline, drawing 114 walks last season, but his slugging percentage was just .471. It’s hard to believe Prince is still only 27. He’s had a great tenure in Milwaukee, and there should be no hard feelings when he takes a huge contract somewhere else. Before then, though, he’ll anchor the Brewers’ lineup for one more playoff push.

Casey McGehee

.280/.336/.437, 16 HRs, 1 SB, 1.7 WARP

McGehee continues to reward the Brewers for their waiver pickup in 2009. His defense was awful last season, but his bat still made him a solid starter. Here’s hoping being a full year removed from knee surgery has helped him get into good shape and that he’ll be able to move around better at third base. The Brewers need all the range they can get on the left side of the diamond with Yuniesky Betancourt playing shortstop.

Corey Hart

.277/.334/.473, 18 HRs, 14 SBs, 1.4 WARP

Hart is due for some regression, though hopefully not much, if he performs at a similar level. His BABIP was .324 last year, and while that isn’t astronomical, it’s much higher than his career norm. I’d love to see Hart take more walks, but at age 29, he is what he is. I should be fair and mention that Roenicke is probably only using Gomez in the second spot until Hart comes off the DL.

Yuniesky Betancourt

.263/.287/.378, 9 HRs, 5 SBs, -0.1 WARP

Ladies and gentlemen, your starting shortstop! That’s right friends, your starting shortstop is projected to be below replacement level. What a nightmare of a decision by the Brewers to hand him the job. Best case scenario is that he’s so bad early that the Brewers make a transaction to replace him as early in the season as possible.

Jonathan Lucroy

.264/.328/.384, 9 HRs, 2 SBs, 1.4 WARP

I’d certainly be pleased with this line from Lucroy in his sophomore season. Last year, he was .253/.300/.329, so that’s a big jump. BP points out that he had good on-base ability and double digit home run power in the minors, so they expect him to grow into a solid, everyday catcher. His defense has drawn rave reviews as well.

Nyjer Morgan

.274/.330/.353, 3 HRs, 34 SBs, 0.8 WARP

The vast majority of Morgan’s value comes through defense and baserunning, but he’s definitely an offensive upgrade to Carlos Gomez. I’m anxious to see how long until Gomez’s inability forces a strict platoon with Morgan. I’ll say by the end of May.

Mark Kotsay

.250/.308/.350, 4 HRs, 4 SBs, -0.9 WARP

Encouraging that we’re already on our second player on the 25 man roster that’s below replacement level. -0.9 is truly impressive. This is another terrible decision to have Kotsay over Joe Inglett, Brandon Boggs, or really, anyone else. Gotta love this excerpt from BP, which was written before he signed in Milwaukee: “Given Kotsay’s limited value at any position or at the plate, you can reasonably wonder where he’ll wash up, but places like Houston and Pittsburgh might suit him.” Ladies and gentlemen, Mark Kotsay!

George Kottaras

.233/.329/.400, 9 HRs, 1 SB, 0.8 WARP

There are good things about George Kottaras, especially when compared to most catchers. He has a great eye at the plate, and he’s got a bit of pop in his bat. Unfortunately, he hasn’t ever carried a high batting average. More unfortunately, his defense was horrific last season. Opponents stole on him at will, which led to him losing his job to Lucroy. Kottaras will get a shot at some starts while Lucroy is on the mend, and when Lucroy returns, he’s likely to be kept on as the backup catcher.

Jeremy Reed

Not even noteworthy enough to garner a projection by BP, but he is quite possibly the third man on the 25-man roster who will be below replacement level. His WARP was 0.0 last season.

Erick Almonte

Same story. A 33 year-old who has all of 100 days of major league service isn’t going to get a BP projection. Odds of Almonte, Reed, or Kotsay staying on the big league team all season are pretty low.

Other notables

Alcides Escobar

.271/.313/.370, 7 HRs, 24 SBs, 1.4 WARP

“Escobar was handed the Brewers’ shortstop job in spring training and ran with it, straight through a patch of poison ivy, off a cliff, and into a vat of liquid nitrogen.”

It’s worth noting that this projection sees a pretty substantial improvement in Escobar’s second full season, and that it’s much better than what they project for Yuni Betancourt. Escobar seems to be the biggest immediate loss of all the players they gave up.

Chris Dickerson

.256/.344/.388, 6 HRs, 1 SB, 0.5 WARP

The highest projected OBP by far out of the three of Dickerson, Gomez, and Morgan, and that’s the one the Brewers traded away for a league average at best reliever. Ugh.

Lorenzo Cain

.253/.318/.367, 6 HRs, 11 SBs, 0.4 WARP

While I think Lorenzo Cain will be a solid player, it’s nice to see the Brewers didn’t give up a projected star next season or anything. Cain had a very good debut with Milwaukee, but a lot of it was due to his unsustainable .370 BABIP.

————

Well, we’ve gone through pitching and hitting projections… So what’s the bottom line? The starting rotation should be pretty great, but you have to wonder about the defense and depth for the rest of the team. I wouldn’t call them the odds on favorite for the NL Central, but they’re one of them. As of February, BP had the Brewers projected for 85 wins. I’ll go out on a limb and say 87 wins, which will be within a game or so of Cincinnati either way. The Wildcard won’t come from the Central (should be either the Dodgers or Braves), so the Brewers will need to win the division to make the playoffs.

Should be an exciting season. Keep turnin’ up the heat.


Why?

Posted by Steve

Doug Melvin had a fantastic off-season by acquiring Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, but to be honest, I’ve been pretty underwhelmed by most of his other moves. I understand having to take back Yuniesky Betancourt, but at that point they should have just cut him and upgraded the position. I hate the Mark Kotsay signing, particularly at the expense of Joe Inglett. And I really don’t like Friday’s trade at all.

Chris Dickerson was the fourth outfielder by depth chart, and the third outfielder by actual ability. Trading him for Sergio Mitre, who is pretty much just a guy, makes no sense.

“As long as he throws like he did last year,” said Melvin. “He’s got some experience.”

He’s got some experience? Who cares? He’s a 30 year-old righthander who had a pedestrian 1.81 k/bb ratio and a 4.69 FIP last season. His WAR was 0.0, meaning he’s replacement level.  So “as long as he throws like last year” clearly refers to his extremely lucky 3.3 ERA, because as the peripherals show, he wasn’t any good.

Mitre might be a slight upgrade over Estrada for a couple starts, but when it comes at the expense of Dickerson, it isn’t worth it. Dickerson is huge insurance for Carlos Gomez, who still hasn’t proved anything. Dickerson/Gomez made too much sense as a platoon in center. Now, the Brewers reserve outfielders are probably something like Brandon Boggs, Mark Kotsay, and Jeremy Reed. If those aren’t the worst reserve outfielders in the majors, they’re right up there.

Not only that, but now Carlos Gomez is the clear starting center fielder. This is the guy who had a .298 OBP last year and was benched due to ineffectiveness.

Really, the Brewers are made up of about 9 good to great players, and then a bunch of fringe roster guys. Injuries could be more difficult to overcome than on most teams.

Back from hiatus

Posted by Steve

Not really sure how this happened, but I managed not to post for a couple weeks. It’s not like there hasn’t been a ton to talk about, so I really have no excuse. If it’s any consolation, I have definitely had baseball on the mind. I’ve been working on setting up a sweet fantasy auction league, and I recently got the New Baseball Prospectus handbook after not getting one the last couple years. I’ll get around to the PECOTA projection post pretty soon, I reckon’.

Where to start? I guess Greinke’s injury is as good a place as any. It’s crappy for sure, but I don’t understand people who are angry at him for playing basketball. It’s not like he was racing a motorcycle or something. If he really only misses three starts, it’s not all that bad. Frustrating, sure, but definitely not the end of the world.

However, injuries are starting to pile up. Aside from Greinke, Mat Gamel, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Jonathan Lucroy, Mark Rogers, Manny Parra and Mitch Stetter all have injuries of varying degrees. None are serious at this point, but the team could certainly be healthier.

At least we aren’t Cardinal fans, because then we’d be pretentious and self-righteous. Also, our ace pitcher would be out for the year, and our best hitter, who also happens to be the best hitter on the planet, has one foot out the door.

On the other hand, I’ve been catching some Brewer games on the radio as much as I can. The other day on my lunch break, Yuniesky Betancourt made an error and misjudged a pop-up in a 20-minute span. Here’s hoping that wasn’t a microcosm for the Brewers’ 2011 season, but I will say that I cannot believe Doug Melvin is truly entering the season with Betancourt as his starting shortstop. He had several opportunities to upgrade with free agents, and he chose not to. Using Betancourt all season will cost them runs, which will cost them games. There’s a reason he’s used as the “bad shortstop” in this amazing FIP video.

Other thoughts:

  • The Brewers are apparently trying to convince us that Carlos Gomez is coming around. Of course, he still hasn’t drawn a walk, so, yeah… Not buying it.
  • On a similar note, doesn’t a strict platoon between Gomez and Chris Dickerson make perfect sense? Dickerson can’t hit lefties. Gomez can’t hit anybody, but he at least hits lefties better than Dickerson. If they stuck to a platoon, they could probably at least approach league average production for CF with good defense.
  • With Greinke out, the Brewers will need to figure out who to use as their fifth starter. They’d probably like that to be Mark Rogers, but after his setback it’s not clear yet whether he’ll be ready. I’m fine with Rogers filling in for the short term, but I really want him to get more time in AAA. As well as he pitched in Milwaukee last September, he still needs to show better control. His 5.6 walks per nine innings in the minors last season is way too high, and he won’t have sustained success in the majors until he improves his control.
  • I am pumped for the return of Mark DiFelice. Big time. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he made the team, but even if he doesn’t, I all but guarantee we’ll see him in Milwaukee for much of this season. If he is close to what he was, the Brewers have the potential for a great bullpen between Axford, Saito, Braddock, DiFelice, and Lowe.
  • Aside from retaining Betancourt as the starting shortstop, the most baffling personnel move to me is the signing of Mark Kotsay. Kotsay is a good OF/1B fill-in with solid defense and a nice left-handed bat… If it’s 2004. That was his last good season. Kotsay has been below replacement level the last two seasons, and hasn’t been solidly above replacement level since 2005! His defense is now horrendous in his advance age, and Bill James is projecting him for a .674 OPS. Giving him a major league contract is a baffling move, and I’m going to yell things if he makes the team over Mat Gamel. Gamel is at worst the sixth best hitter in the organization (I’d argue fourth best) and can’t just get a regular spot.

One more story for tonight, along with the caveat that I will be posting much more frequently from this point on. Last weekend I was out in downtown Milwaukee and randomly ran into some guys from Kansas City. I was dumbfounded by their reason for being here: Since KC has no NBA team, they’re all Bucks fans. They drove to Milwaukee from Kansas City to watch the Bucks! That blew my mind, since the Bucks are so crappy this year.

Anyway, I of course asked if they were Royals fans, and before I knew it, one of them was buying me a beer (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and excitedly talking baseball. They were all huge Royals fans, and really wanted to hear about the players they got in the Greinke trade. I ended up telling them that when their team is really good in a year or two, they will come to hate Ned Yost. Other highlights:

“Greinke is a weird guy. He likes World of Warcraft more than baseball. I guess it doesn’t matter, though, since he’s an awesome pitcher.”

I was met with looks of horror when I mentioned Betancourt. “Thank GOD he’s gone.”

“Rooting against the Royals is like rooting against Special Olympians.”

And finally…

“Nobody is worse than Cardinal fans. They get all offended if you show any bit of emotion, or even enjoyment. Sure they have really nice and knowledgeable fans, but they also have the ones who brag about how nice and knowledgeable they are. I CAN’T STAND Cardinal fans.”

Edmonds trade

Posted by Steve

It may have come later than expected, but we finally have a trade to analyze. The Brewers dealt Jim Edmonds to the Reds for outfielder Chris Dickerson.

Edmonds was the most likely player to be traded out of any Brewer this season. He was on a one-year deal and performed well in a platoon role. At 40 years old, it makes sense to send him to a contender rather than have him (possibly) finish up his career on a bad team. Plus, the Brewers are thankfully committing to playing Lorenzo Cain in center for the rest of the season. There was no reason for them to play Edmonds over Cain at this point.

As far as the trade itself, I’m very pleased with the return. I don’t see how anyone couldn’t be impressed by it, actually. They turned a non-roster Spring Training invite into a Major League outfielder with four remaining years of team control. I’m very surprised the Reds gave up a major-league ready player; I assumed the Brewers would have to take a flyer on some low-level prospect. Dickerson is a talented outfielder who plays all three outfield positions well. He’s a defensive upgrade to Ryan Braun and Corey Hart, and he’s an offensive upgrade to Carlos Gomez. He doesn’t have a ton of pop in his bat, but in parts of three seasons, Dickerson has a .367 on-base percentage. His ability to get on base could allow the Brewers to move Rickie Weeks down in the lineup to a run-producing spot after Prince Fielder is dealt this off-season.

A few random thoughts on this deal: It’s interesting to note that the Brewers seem to have gotten a better return for a 40-year old Jim Edmonds than they did for J.J. Hardy last year. I also chuckle at the thought of Dusty Baker considering Dickerson expendable because he doesn’t value walks. Finally, this trade reminds me very much of the one for Jody Gerut last season. Gerut could have been described in the same way as Dickerson: an outfielder with on-base skills but not much power who can play all three outfield positions. Gerut, to my surprise, has not worked out–I’m guessing his time in Milwaukee has run out. I expect Dickerson to have more success.

This gives the Brewers plenty of options for next season. I’d like to see Lorenzo Cain given every opportunity to be the full time center fielder. Unlike Alcides Escobar or Carlos Gomez, Cain has actually earned that opportunity by hitting in the minors. Gomez has a minor league option left; he should be sent to AAA to play full time. Maybe he’ll actually hit. If not, let him go or just settle on him as a fifth outfielder. An outfield of Braun, Hart, Cain, Dickerson, and Gomez sounds good to me. Dickerson can spell any of the three starters against tough righties. He would also be a good candidate for a semi-regular platoon outfielder should the Brewers choose to move Hart or even Braun to first base.

As far as remaining waiver deals, I would not be surprised to see Craig Counsell traded soon. Like Edmonds, at his advanced age, Counsell has no purpose on a team that’s going nowhere. He has value to a contending team as a utility infielder, and the Brewers should get whatever they can for him.