Thursday, April 15, 2010

Farewell Fred

Ideas from Rory:
Here are the Giants options to designate for asssignment in place of Fred Lewis:
Ishikawa, Schierholtz, Velez, Torres or pitcher to go to 6 man pen.

Ishi: Most obvious defensive replacement on team, thus this won’t happen.
Schierholtz: Also a defensive replacement, player the Giants still very much like. Out of options. This won’t happen.

Velez: player who they were losing patience with, but who has come off the bench to hit a key double (in front of Renteria’s 2-run bomb off Wagner), and 2-run HR in the 9th Tuesday. + he has speed, plus he plays OF and IF, plus he’s a switch hitter. This likely won’t happen.

Torres: Slow start, but he’s a switch hitter – and the key is that his strong side is hitting right handed. Best defensive replacement on the team. Speed. Out of options, I presume. Seems unlikely.

Pitcher: Bochy could consider losing a bullpen arm with the days off in April and the way the starters have pitched. But this likely won’t happen. I don’t know who’s out of options … Medders seems most likely but he’s guaranteed I think … that won’t happen.

They’ve been saying it for months upon months, since the end of last season. If Lewis needed to start the season on the DL, then why did he start playing in Fresno basically a day after opening day? They were trying to buy themselves time, which they are out of. The Giants will either release Lewis or trade him for a half-full bag of Doritos. It’s been fun Freddy Lewis

Response From Rusty:
I like Fred Lewis a lot. I feel that he has more potential than he got credit for in SF. His tool bag was pretty full: potential for major power, speed, OB skills. I guess he and his tool bag are moving on and the G's get nada. Too bad. I wish him luck, same as Frandsen. How much do you really think his demeanor plays into this?
  Response from Rory:
A lot. Plus their belief he’s a crummy fielder  
Response from Rusty:
As a fan that really doesn't know crap about evaluating someone in the outfield, I thought he was crummy also. But, I think I was jumping the gun. It's really dumb to say someone isn't good based on a couple of misplayed or dropped balls, which is what I was doing. I assume the Giants are too. I also think he has a lot of speed, which probably means he can make up for bad routes to a degree, so I've heard. Never played much OF and we all know I never had any speed.
Response from Rory:
I don’t know much about it either, aside from the stuff I’ve read and the stats available. Defensive metrics are not yet an exact science. Also, franchises like the Red Sox claim to have their own ‘systems’ and don’t necessarily (at least publicly) subscribe to certain defensive metrics, such as UZR that FanGraph’s uses. Their GM Theo Epstein has said this publicly, though it may have been tongue in cheek to try and back up his player. I’m speaking about Jacoby Ellsbury, of course. The Red Sox said they didn’t agree with his 2009 UZR (which was absolutely horrendous). They believed he was average. But actions speak louder than words, and they signed Mike Cameron (who is 37 years old) to play CF and moved Ellsbury to LF.
Here’s the problems though. For starters, a lot of the UZR stuff is based on POSITIONING. Some players control this, some coaches do. It depends on scouting reports, etc. If a team has bad scouting reports he may get hurt in fielding metrics if he’s not positioned well consistently. Also, park factors. Some parks are just goofy. Left field in Boston is tricky because its so short and you have the bounces off the wall. It’s possible that wall is goofing up both LF and CF metrics for Boston players. AT&T might be a similar case with right field. Lastly, positions. Some positions are goofy. C is the biggest problem. They don’t really know how to evaluate catchers defense other than by CS % and observation – blocking, athleticism, etc. 1B can also be tricky. Other things? Hm … off the top of my head. How about if a team has a TON of sinker baller type pitchers? More opportunity for infielders, more data, likely a better sample size and representation of skill. The Giants, on the other hand, have a ton of strikeout/flyball pitchers. That gives the outfielders more opportunity, and less opportunity to go around all together because the players are not putting the ball in play.

Anyway, Lewis looks like a lost goat in the OF. He has bad instincts. He’s prob an average fielder, and that’s basically what the UZR suggests. People assume he’s terrible, UZR says he’s average.

Sabermetricians consider LF a “fungible” position. They can easily be replaced. You can have Adam Dunn out there who will cost you defensively but will add with his bat. You can have Carl Crawford who can do it all, little power, speed, average, decent on base skills, extraordinary defense. Or you can go defense with (David Dejesus – Royals) who can hit a little bit. There are certain things required of up the middle positions and RF. CF, you need RANGE. RF you need a good ARM. LF? You typically want a guy that can hold is own and catch the ball, and who can hit. Lewis is probably a below average LF hitter, and at best about a league average hitter period. He’s not the ‘answer’ so to speak. Does he have some things you look for in a player? Ya. But he’s got his faults, I think his demeanor has come into question, no one else seems to really want him, he’s out of options, and most of all – the Giants just have too many of these types. I mean … if you could throw Schierholtz’ arm, Toress’ speed and range, Lewis’ OBP, and Bowkers power into one guy, you’d have something. But we’re not in Santa’s Helpers’ factory, and we’re not building toys from spare parts. Someone is going without dinner in this family, and I think it’s going to be Fred Lewis.
Response from Rocky:
As a guy who has played outfield a lot, and even had the opportunity to roam the outfield at AT&T recreationally a few times. I have some thoughts. Fred Lewis is not as bad as fans, or the Giants think he is. I personally hate watching him fumble around in left, taking terrible routes to the ball, and generally looking like it's his first rodeo. The truth to the matter is, positioning, and instincts are what make fielders great, but athletic ability and speed can makes up for shortcomings in the previous. No one can say that Fred Lewis is slow, or isn't athletic. The dude, actually glides when he runs.

Cal Ripken Jr. was a master SS, because he played trends, and pitches. He literally knew where the ball would be. Ozzie Smith, was the Wizard because he knew the game, plus he was an athletic freak. Jim Edmonds and Ken Griffey Jr. were amazing outfielders, but both had different skill sets.

Fred Lewis is not gifted with fielding instincts. He doesn't appear to be positioned well at times, either because he is at fault, or the coaches don't take the wheel. Fred Lewis, however is FAST. I don't think he will ever be a Gold Glover, but he has value. His paient eye at times, his OBP, his Power Potential, and speed make him valuable beyond the shortcomings in the field. Any team with a stellar CF will gain from giving away their bag of Dorritos to have him as a 4th Outfielder. Especially if they have to compete in a division that has a truckload of Dorritos. (Think AL East)

1 comment:

  1. Looks like we were right, there just wasn't room for another EH outfielder in San Francicso (if you're going with Velez's road jersey spelling ...)