Chavez in CF

BTW, with Endy Chavez swinging the bat so well by his standards ... I DO like Endy in CENTER field.

If and when Franklin Gutierrez finds his level as a lousy hitter, at least for 2009, a Chavez/Gutierrez jobshare would IMHO be a worthy tactic for chasing the pennant.

You could have Chavez and F-Goot split the 600 PA's in center, and then give them another 200 in the corners at times, and they'd have 800 PA's between them. That would be about right, if they're going to turn out to be light-hitting glove specialists.

I wonder when the time comes when Wok begins thinking about giving Chavez some of F-Goot's AB's, especially against real tough RHP's.


Franklin Gutierrez is hitting .220/.304/.366 as we write this.  That would be unacceptable for Willie Bloomquist -- off the bench.

Granted, Adrian Beltre is hitting even worse than that, since the season is only 10% done.  But Adrian Beltre did not also hit .248/.307/.383 last year, as Franklin Gutierrez did in 400 AB's.


You could do this in the OF:

RF - Ichiro for 162  (I know, I know)

CF - Chavez & F-Goot  for 162

LF - Wlad, Griffey, maybe Tuiasosopo, with 150-200 AB's for Chavez and Cedeno

That way you still get your stacked defense for quite a few games, but you don't landlock yourself into an illogical, dead-end, let-the-benchies-play paradigm into the future.


=== Landlock Dept. ===

There is a school of thought that proposes, well, RIGHT NOW you don't have a good hitter for DH, so you might as well take F-Goot's and Chavez' defense together until you do.   In other words, you don't pull an 80 OPS+ glove man out of the outfield until your DH is hitting 110+ or better.

This paradigm counts up the runs that Chavez saves, and compares it to (say) Mike Sweeney's offense at DH.  Until Sweeney's hitting goes to about .280/.360/.470, goes the argument, you're better off with the defensive runs saved.


This argument misses the big picture.

Would it be okay to give the season to Greg Dobbs at 1B, if he's a great fielder, unless-and-until the day arrives 1B suddenly starts hitting .320 for you at Safeco?   Of course not.  You want a MOTO at 1B, and if you don't have one yet, you invest time in the future 1B that you believe in.

The M's shouldn't play an OF full of backup center fielders unless-and-until somebody starts hitting.  They need a few MOTO bats, and if they don't have it at the moment, they should invest time in a developmental hitter that they believe in.   Wlad Balentien or Matt Tuiasosopo or Mike Carp or, shortly, Jeff Clement should be taking the AB's.

NOT because THAT FRIDAY, the developmental hitter can outperform a veteran backup outfielder's overall game -- but because in the long term, you're not satisified to landlock yourself into veteran backups as your starting position players.


=== Dee-Lish, Dept. ===

I don't know *how* to counter the impression that Dr. D thinks defense has zero value.  It has value.  A lot of value.  Just not as much value as twenty wins or forty homers, so to speak.

But, I've got to admit, Dr. D has always enjoyed the situation in which it is him against the world.  :- )

The Mariners' team OPS+ was 77 going into Tuesday night's game.  It's fine to play glove specialists, but somebody has to drive in some runs.

Love and kisses,



Taro's picture

I don't think Endy Chavez' streak is going to continue (a guy who I think should be in an OF rotation) and I don't think hes as good of a fielder or a hitter as Gutierrez. By this logic you would bench Ichiro, Beltre, Lopez, and Griffey too.
Gutierrez is showing that his BB spike at the end of last year WASN'T a fluke. While the results aren't there yet the approach is:
10.9 BB%
18.1 O-Swing%
83.6 CT%
17.1 K%
0.71 BB/K
.146 IsoP
18.2 LD%
If you only looked at his OPS line you'd think this is a guy thats struggling at the plate. That just simply isn't the case.
EVERYTHING is improving. So far early this season hes showing that hes getting better. His been more patient. Hes making more contact. Hes not swinging at bad pitches. Hes hitting for decent power. Hes squaring up the ball better. That .242 BABIP ISN'T going to continue if he keeps hitting like this. The guy HAS been hitting like a legit 800 OPS hitter so far early in the season.
If Gutierrez continues like this hes going to be the current answer to Mike Cameron in his prime. He'd be THE best position player on the team including Ichiro.

Sandy - Raleigh's picture

Nice numbers, Taro.
I was going to ask the rhetorical question - "How long do you wait for a young hitter to put it together before moving on to the next one?" Your numbers would indicate there is strong reason to be optimistic about F-Gut, (my own optimism had been formerly based on a generally positive view of "Z" in terms of baseball knowledge and prospect development).
The thing that I'm wondering about with Endy is this ... could he actually be the second coming of Raul Ibanez. Ibanez was, in fact, a #4 OF until age 30. He didn't break .800 until age 29. (No, I don't mean this LITERALLY - but in the sense that Ibanez was a guy whose stats said he wasn't worth giving PT to -- only to become an All-Star in his 30s).
26 --- 98 - .699
27 -- 227 - .734
28 -- 140 - .630
29 -- 279 - .847
30 -- 497 - .883
31 -- 608 - .799
32 -- 481 - .825
Endy Chavez
24 -- 125 - .785
25 -- 483 - .648
26 -- 502 - .688
27 -- 116 - .562
28 -- 353 - .779
29 -- 150 - .705
30 -- 270 - .638
31 -- 54 -- .878
Endy got two full years at age 25/26, and couldn't cut it. No argument there. He's NEVER had the power potential that Ibanez had, (and still doesn't). BUT, both did have similar nice looking eye ratios. Is it "possible" that Endy is a smarter player today - and that he (and Ibanez) share a common trait - that production goes up with regular playing time?
This is, of course, mostly conjecture. But, Endy in 2006 and 2008 played the same number of games. But he got almost 100 more PAs in 2006, (and posted a .779 OPS). There could be some chicken and egg here -- he loses playing time BECAUSE he's struggling. But, if he can hit .295 (he hit .306 in 2006), and if he retains any of his current spike in patience, (he's 63 patience, while 41 is his rock steady norm), and manages a 105 ISO (career number is 98), then you're looking at a: .295/.345/.400 hitter -- a .745 producer with plus-plus defense.
Is *THAT* enough to warrant continued starting status?
Personally, I think as long as he stays in the 2-hole, he's going to continue to benefit from a production boost where Ichiro in front and B B and the Kid behind make him 'better' than his ability.
But, too many parts of Endy's games are off his career tracks to do anything more than guess. His ISO is down 24 points, while his patience is up 22. This "smells" like he's approaching hitting differently than before. But things often go bonkers during hitting streaks.
But, ONCE HE SWOONS, I would agree with the assessment that the team is better served to crowbar more PT for the talent of tomorrow -- and Endy is the leading candidate to surrender that PT. I'm still afraid of the potential ramifications of Wlad in left, (no real sense of how defensively committed Wlad is, yet). But, I think to keep the chemistry thing rolling, you've gotta juggle kittens -- because you don't want to serve up a helping of veteran entitlement, NOR do you want to send a message that the first slump you run into means you're benched. It's a razor thin line to walk to hold onto the current magic. Thus far, I'm liking everything I see from Wak in this regard.
I'm actually growing more confident that he'll likely make the very types of changes that Doc is supporting - and do it in the proper time frame that limit the dangers of unintended consequences.


And a smokin' analysis on Chavez too San-man...
If Chavez can keep his OPS+ around 100 +/-, and steal some bases, and if he is a genuine 15-20 runs defender in LF, then he is a reasonable starting player in LF, no argument.
Despite the 2,300 terrible AB's up to age 32, he has looked good at the plate in 2009. It's a cognitive dissonance there. Maybe Raauuuuul is the solution :- )

Taro's picture

The one thing Chavez has shown so far is an increased BB rate. At the same time his O-Swing% is actually higher than career rates this year (25.7% to 22.2% career) so the BB rate is unlikely continue. Combine that with the fact that his contact% is actually also WAY DOWN from career rates at 77.6% this year. Even his ISoP is lower than career rates this year. He could be sufferring from the NL to AL conversion.
The one thing hes doing early on is hitting line drives, but then his BABIP so far has been .422. Me, I think hes partly on a hot streak, and partly dumb luck.. I think regression is coming soon, and its going to be brutal.
If you get a .275/.320/.365 year out of him, I think you take that.


Doc said, "Would it be okay to give the season to Greg Dobbs at 1B, if he’s a great fielder, unless-and-until the day arrives 1B suddenly starts hitting .320 for you at Safeco? Of course not. You want a MOTO at 1B, and if you don’t have one yet, you invest time in the future 1B that you believe in."


Sorry about the double post.
Doc said, "Would it be okay to give the season to Greg Dobbs at 1B, if he’s a great fielder, unless-and-until the day arrives 1B suddenly starts hitting .320 for you at Safeco? Of course not. You want a MOTO at 1B, and if you don’t have one yet, you invest time in the future 1B that you believe in."
But what if you don't believe in Balentien or LaHair or whomever? I think THAT is why Chavez is playing everyday -- he isn't blocking anyone.


If you are at that point, at which you don't have a single developmental bat you are interested in, and have to play dead-end veterans even (in essence) at DH ....
Sure, (1) play the Moneyball veterans, and
(2) You're at quite a point of despair, I'd say... :- )
Can you imagine the A's without a single Travis Buck, Jack Cust, or Matt Murton type that interested them enough to give 200 AB's to?
But yeah. If you don't like any of your young bats, that's another subject.


Me personally, I *do* like Wlad Balentien more than well enough to give him developmental time. He was always supposed to be 40 homers if he could ever make contact, and then he made contact, and they decided never mind...
IIRC he was a MOTO in A+ at 20, in AA at 21 and in AAA at 22...
Also am curious whether you guys think that Matt Tuiasosopo is about ready for developmental time in the bigs...
Obviously Jeff Clement needs to be in the bigs as soon as he gets his wrinkles ironed out...
Mike Carp looks like he's arriving sooner than expected...
Mike Wilson, let's assume that he's not ready (though Wok said that if rosters had 26 spots, Wilson would be a Mariner).
Wlad, Tui, Clement, Carp, isn't that four guys interesting enough to give AB's to?


Again, don't get me wrong ... as long as Chavez is hitting so many LH sharp grounders in Safeco, he is at least a very good #10-11 player who deserves significant PT...
Am merely offering my $0.02 on the idea that your developmental player must perform from day one, or you play the mediocre established vets ...


Also -- this IS a situation in which the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" applies, for me, in the short term.
I'm not taking Chavez out of the lineup for TONIGHT's game :- ) not while he's swinging the bat this great.
WOULD like to see the M's trade for that one more bat they need. And would give up significant talent to get it.
In my view, they should have added a Dunn, Abreu, Teixeira, whoever, this winter, but in the enthusiasm over defense we figured, what difference does it make whether we have a cleanup hitter. But they're going to hit an iceberg on that, unless a bunch of guys like Branyan and Carp/Wlad and FGut solve the problemo for them...
Not sure who the trade targets are right now Taro. And I know there aren't going to be any that are painless to acquire, as cyber-Seattle would have liked Bedard to have been painless to acquire. But whoever the available bats are, I wouldn't be afraid to pay for them.

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