Friday, October 27, 2006

A’s grades part III…

Continuing along with our grades for the A’s hitters. Previous posts on A’s grades can be seen here and here.

Dan Johnson – 1B/Hatteberg clone – BA 0.234 / OBP 0.323 / SLG 0.381 / OPS 0.704
9 HR / 13 2B / 1 3B / 37 RBI / 40 BB / 45 K
There’s no question that Hatteberg Jr. had a rough year. After struggling earlier in the season, the A’s brass decided he needed to be sent down to AAA to regain his stroke, despite the fact that in June he hit 0.321 / 0.406 / 0.543 in 81 AB with 4 HR. Let’s also not forget that both Ellis and particularly Crosby were also struggling at the same time with equal or even worse numbers, yet it was poor DJ who got sent down. I guess infield defense counts for a lot more than 1B.

I was one of those few who supported DJ before he got sent down, pointing out that while he struggled mightily in April and barely hit at all in May, he was having quality at bats. Dan Johnson has a good eye and is patient at the plate. He rarely strikes out and the way he works pitch counts would make Hatty proud. And let’s not forget that DJ walks more than most. From April-June, Dan Johnson had an equal number of walks vs strikeouts (31 to 31) and ended the season with 40 BB vs 45 K. In his 2 short years in the majors, he has a 90 to 97 walk-to-strikeout ratio.

Dan Johnson was sent down to AAA where he literally destroyed AAA pitching. Later in the season he was brought back where he struggled again, albeit better than in April and May. Not able to count on regular starts probably contributed to his difficulties. While I was disappointed in his overall numbers, he continued to show patience in his approach.

Overall Grade: C-

Playoff Notes: Official bench warmer.

Where he will be in 2007: He’s young, he’s cheap, and has patient at bats. He only has 2 short years in the majors and should be able to improve on this years numbers. The A’s would be stupid to let him go, but should definitely work on his development and give him a chance to start regularly at 1B again.

Bobby Kielty – OF – BA 0.270 / OBP 0.329 / SLG 0.441 / OPS 0.770
8 HR / 20 2B / 13B / 36 RBI / 22 BB / 49 K
Kielty once again played the dutiful role of backing up the OF and the occasional insertion against LHP (left handed pitchers). Kielty managed to contribute most of the time he was in the line up with pretty consistent numbers throughout the months, although he had a poor Sept. His best months were June and August and this marks the third straight year of improvement from Mr. Kielty:
2004 – 0.214 / 0.321 / 0.370 / 0.691
2005 – 0.263 / 0.350 / 0.395 / 0.745
2006 – 0.270 / 0.329 / 0.441 / 0.770
Kielty is known for his patience and racking up a fair share of walks, but the rise in strikeouts this year is cause for some concern.

With Kotsay’s back acting up it created the perfect opportunity to bring Kielty into the game more often, but thanks to Kotsay’s incessant whining and complaining about being in a platoon, Kielty didn’t see as much playing time as he should have. In fact, I was very disappointed hearing Kotsay’s complaint about “platooning” and playing time, particularly when Kielty was hitting better than Kotsay and is the far superior option against lefties:
Kotsay vs LHP: 0.265 / 0.293 / 0.410
Kielty vs LHP: 0.325 / 0.358 / 0.607

This is an easy decision for any manager, particularly one dealing with a light-hitting CF with a bad back. Sorry Kotsay, but I would have sat you every time we faced a LHP, putting Payton or Bradley in CF so Kielty could be in the lineup. The fact that Kotsay failed to understand this and whine about playing time is pretty disappointing.

Overall Grade: B

Post-season notes: Kielty only had 2 at bats in the playoffs, despite the A’s facing a multitude of LHP. Macha claims he bent to pressure from Kotsay to make him happy by playing him instead of Kielty and that this is one of the reasons he was fired – for making such a bone-headed decision in the midst of the playoffs I would have been tempted to fire you too.

Where he will be in 2007: Barring an unreasonable salary raise in arbitration or being involved in one of Beane’s infamous off-season trades, Kielty should be back for 2007, again in a limited role, although I think he deserves far more playing time than he has received in the past. Put him in there against every left handed pitcher and the occasional righty as well just to mix things up and give aching Kotsay and perhaps Bradley a spell. It’s also possible that if Payton is let go that Kielty could get a shot as an everyday player, but that’s doubtful.

Mark Kotsay – CF/future Bengay spokesman – BA 0.275 / OBP 0.332 / SLG 0.386 / OPS 0.718
7 HR / 29 2B / 3 3B / 59 RBI / 44 BB / 55 K
Despite an aching back Kotsay still managed to snag more than 500 AB for the third year in a row. Once again he exhibited stellar defense and is easily one of the best defensive CF in the game. Unfortunately 2006 also marked his worst offensive year since 1999 where he sported an OPS of 0.708 and easily his worst year with the A’s so far. He failed to reach double digits in HR and failed to SLG 0.400 or better for the third time in his career. It also marked the third straight decline in his overall offensive numbers, where he started off with a bang in 2004 only to put in a mediocre 2005 and a pretty weak 2006. We now have an expensive, light-hitting, but strong defensive CF under contract with a bad back who can be expected to miss regular time season after season. A big Kotsay fan when he first came over from San Diego, I was disappointed when I read that he was whining about playing time and sharing at bats with Kielty.

Overall Grade: C- (only reason it isn’t a D is because of his defense)

Post-season notes: Kostay was again a light-hitter, but was the talk of the town briefly for his inside the park HR vs The Twins that had him racing for home with his shirt coming out of his pants.

Where he will be in 2007: Not too many teams looking for a weak-hitting CF with a bad back locked up for big money. Kotsay will be back in 2007 but better start learning to share field time with his teammates.

Marco Scutaro – SS/2B/Mr. Clutch – BA 0.266 / OBP 0.350 / SLG 0.397 / OPS 0.747
5 HR / 21 2B / 6 3B / 41 RBI / 50 BB / 66 K
What’s not to like about Scutaro? The timely game-ending hits, the chants of “Marco………Scutaro” in the coliseum, and the ability of this likeable sparkplug to capably play any infield position available combine to make him a fan-favorite player. Injuries to Crosby and Ellis be damned! We have Scutaro to right the ship!

Scutaro has played in an incredible number of games during his 3-year stint with the A’s thanks to the multiple injuries of Crosby and Ellis. While his range his limited, he has nonetheless dazzled with his defense. Although a light-hitter, he has managed to improve on his overall numbers year after year:
2004 – 0.273 / 0.297 / 0.393 / 0.690 – 16 BB / 58 K
2005 – 0.247 / 0.310 / 0.391 / 0.701 – 36 BB / 48 K
2006 – 0.266 / 0.350 / 0.397 / 0.747 – 50 BB / 66 K
In each of his season with the A’s he has managed to dramatically increase his walk totals without sacrificing any power. He also has a penchant for the dramatic game-ending hit, which has made him a fan and media favorite in Oakland. Although he had a horrible May and a mediocre June, he steadily improved on his numbers from July through September, hitting all 5 of his HR during this 3 month period and 4 of his 6 triples. His outstanding performance on the field in place of Crosby and his far superior numbers at the plate turned Crosby into a “non-entity” to borrow a phrase from Macha. Crosby who? Oh yeah, he used to play SS for the A’s – is he still on the team?

Overall Grade: B

Post-season notes: Scutaro was the hero during the ALDS but watched his numbers collapse with a lackluster performance during the ALCS

Where he will be in 2007: Scutaro would probably be an everyday player on another team and is invaluable as a back up for the A’s. While he is due for a substantial raise, expect him back in yet another back up role awaiting the inevitable injury to Crosby where he will shine again in Crosby’s place.

Antonio Perez – Who? – BA 0.102 / OBP 0.185 / SLG 0.204
Other numbers: who the heck cares.
Perez suffered from a lack of playing time, which, when it did come, was intermittent. Coming in for the occasional pinch hit or rare game it’s difficult to get into your groove or build up any kind of consistency. With a lack of regular at bats, Perez floundered, and even when given several games in a row failed to do anything noteworthy. Still, he’s a young player and has yet to play a full year in the big league. There’s a chance for him yet.

Overall Grade: F

Post-Season notes: Huh?

Where he will be in 2007: This is the second bust in a row for Beane, who traded for Keith Ginter in 2005 to back up Chavez with similarly disastrous results. Ginter got sent down to AAA early in 2005 and spent all of 2006 there with lackluster numbers. Surprising that Perez didn’t get sent down, but with Chavez playing injured I guess they wanted Perez around just-in-case. With his dismal numbers look for Perez to be sent down or released. Beane will have to look yet again for a suitable back up for Chavez.

Adam Melhuse – backup C/benchwarmer – BA 0.219 / OBP 0.273 / SLG 0.375 / OPS 0.648
4 HR / 8 2B / 18 RBI / 9 BB / 34 K
Poor Melhuse never had a chance with iron-man Kendall pushing to start every single game he could bully Macha into giving to him. Of course it doesn’t help when you don’t have a good relationship with your manager and even worse when you don’t perform too well the few chances you were given. Still, he was a capable back up who has served the A’s well over the years, but with Kendall onboard for 1 more season with the A’s and Beane pushing to get Money-baller Jeremy Brown into the lineup, look for Melhuse to head elsewhere.

Overall Grade: D (probably would have been better with some regular playing time here and there)

Post-Season: Never mind.

Where he will be in 2007: Gone to greener pastures, I hope. Someone should pick him up. Jeremy Brown will be the back up catcher for 2007, count on it.

Jason Kendall – C/iron-man – BA 0.295 / OBP 0.367 / SLG 0.342 / OPS 0.709
1 HR / 23 2B / 50 RBI / 53 BB / 54 K
Kendall finally had the season everyone was expecting him to have when he first came to Oakland and managed to hit his first HR in almost 2 years. Kendall served the leadoff position well, hitting for high average, rarely striking out, and finding a way to get on base any way possible with plenty of HBP (hit by pitcher) and walks. Yet another slow starter, he picked things up in May and batted 0.300 or better the last 2 months of the season. He also showed surprising durability and speed for a catcher (11 SB, a lot for an A’s player) playing in 143 games. A team leader and old-fashioned gritty player.

Overall Grade: B+ (would have liked to have seen a few more walks)

Post-Season: Kendall had a very mediocre post-season, batting 0.258 with only 2 BB.

Where he will be in 2007: His price tag alone makes him virtually untouchable, he will be back in Oakland for a final year in 2007, with Jeremy Brown as back up and Kurt Suzuki waiting in the wings.

Next: Pitcher grades


Post a Comment

<< Home