09 November 2011

Free Agents - Second Base

This is the third of a series of posts on free agents.

C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | LF | CF | RF | DH | SP | RHRP | LHRP

It is with sadness that I must say that I have no expectation that Brian Roberts will ever be a meaningful part of the Baltimore Orioles on the field.  Effort must be given to replace him at second.  In this post, we will look at available free agent options and who the Orioles have internally.

For the purpose of this post, we are using the following groupings:
Elite: Greater than 4.5 WAR / 600 PA
Good: 3.5 to 4.5 WAR / 600 PA
Above Average: 2.5 to 3.5 WAR / 600 PA
Average: 1.5 to 2.5 WAR / 600 PA
Poor Starter: 0.75 to 1.5 WAR / 600 PA
Backup: Below 0.75 WAR / 600 PA
Jamey Carroll might be a good target.
No one below a projected 0.75 WAR should be offered anything more than a minor league contract with an invite to training camp.  The values were calculated by weighting performance of the past three seasons normalized each year to 600 PA.  This ranking does not consider injury status which will likely affect some players.

Good (3.5 - 4.5 WAR / 600 PA)
Kelly Johnson (3.5)
I have thought well of Johnson for a while, but no one seems to think of him as a good player.  I might be missing something.

Above Average (2.5 - 3.5 WAR / 600 PA)
Jamey Carroll (3.2)
Carroll is another second baseman who has flown under that radar.  He provides very good defense and simply gets on base.  He is not flashy whatsoever, but he does the little things well.
Nick Punto (3.2)
Punto has always had an amazing glove.  It gives him a great deal of value.  Much of his projection here has to do with his hitting performance this past season.  I think the projection is overly inflated.  I think he is a good example of using projection as a rough number that needs to be used with other tools.  Statistics alone, or any tool alone, is not a good way to make decisions.  That said, a metric rating a player higher than you expected sometimes gives you pause and reconsider the players' worth.  Personally, I think he very good year at the plate last year does not accurately portray his true talent level and skews the projection.
Jerry Hairston Jr. (2.6)
Hairston has a decent bat and he can still provide above average defense at second.  He has recently been used as a super-sub, but he really belongs at second.

Average (1.5 - 2.5 WAR / 600 PA)
Clint Barmes (2.2)
Barmes provides some power and excellent defense at second.  It made little sense for the Astros making him untouchable during the deadline, but he can produce.
Mark Ellis (2.1)
During the summer, Ellis was rumored as a player the Orioles were scouting thoroughly with plans of signing him in the off season.  Hopefully, it would be cheap if they do engage because he will be 35 and coming off a poor season.
Aaron Hill (1.8)
After two underwhelming seasons, Hill bounced back last year.  It looked like a last hurrah to me.

Below Average (0.75 - 1.5 WAR / 600 PA)
Adam Kennedy (1.2)
His projection is due almost entirely to his 2009 season.  Not a good indication.
Willie Bloomquist (1.1)
Bloomquist is a more athletic version of Cuddyer with a much lesser bat.  He plays several positions and none of them well.
Robert Andino (0.9)
Andino's value here may be below his true talent level after his solid performance last year.
Ryan Adams (0.8)
The bats plays at second, the glove does not.

The Rest (less than 0.75 WAR / 600 PA)
Craig Counsell (0.5), Aaron Miles (0.3), Jose Lopez (0.2), Felipe Lopez (0.2), Orlando Cabrera (-0.3), Bill Hall (-0.5), Alex Cora (-0.7), and Cesar Izturis (-1.9).

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