Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A rough winter for Willy Taveras

R.J. Anderson of FanGraphs wrote a post today about the DFAing of Willy Taveras in which he "outed" him very much like I had way back when on December 14, 2009 within my "Fantasy Draft: 2008 or 2009 Lincecum?" post. Anderson's big finish*:

     "I guess there's nothing like starting every game by facing Zack Greinke."
There are a few differences in the posts, of course.  R.J. Anderson's overall idea, I think, is that Willy Taveras was unfathomably bad in 2009.  But, R.J. does leave a shred of hope for brighter days (and hopefully seasons) for Taveras.  Taveras does seem to have hit a little bit of bad luck.  He apparently didn't bunt well in 2009, which I'm sure didn't help his BABIP (Batting average on balls in play), a career low .278.  Because Taveras refuses to walk a large part of his game is using his speed and posting a high BABIP and average to get on base and he clearly wasn't able to do that in 2009.

My post was actually about exposing how brilliant Lincecum was in 2009 and how, despite a worse overall record, he was quite a bit better than his younger self in 2008.  It was just a quick post to 1) illustrate how poor of a stat the W is for evaluating pitchers and 2) give everyone a little reminder of how lucky we are to have the freak in the black and orange.

Back to the differences in just how we outed Mr. Taveras.  R.J. used the statistic OBP to show that Taveras posted a poorer OBP in 2009 than the best pitcher in the American Leagues (Zack Greinke) opponents collectively posted against him.  I used OPS to illustrate how brilliant the National Leagues top pitcher (Lincecum) was by choosing the worst player (by OPS) with over 400 AB's, Taveras, and providing that Taveras actually faired slightly better (2 more points in OPS) against the various pitchers he faced in 2009 than the field had faired against Lincecum.  So, different stats, different brilliant pitchers but more or less the same conclusion: Taveras was an atrocious offefnsive player in 2009.

One thing is for sure, Taveras is having a rough winter!  But, if he can turn his luck a bit, get picked up off the scrap heap and boost that BABIP, he may well still find himself at least on a major league roster.  That being said, I doubt any manager is going to be giving him another 400 AB's in a season any time soon.

*Again, borrowing from Rob Neyer.

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