Monday, April 28, 2008

Fangraphs Audition

{Note: This was written at a specific point in time, and is not eternal. Fangraphs, or Sharpfang as I call it, is one of the best baseball websites anywhere. To understand why I wrote this, you would have to read what they had published on 4/28/08. - May 29, 2008}

When I found out Fangraphs was looking for baseball writers, I had some initial interest but didn't get any reply. Now that I've seen who was hired and what gets published there, it is obvious I am not up to snuff! So here's my audition to be a true Fangraphs blogger:

It is time that the A's give up on the Chris Denorfia experiment. Once a promising hitter putting up excellent numbers, Denorfia has fallen off a cliff. He now has close to zero chance of ever being a useful major league player, unless he begins to hit well.

Denorfia was overrated on the basis of two excellent half seasons at Louisville, when he was much too old for the league and should not have had his statistics counted by the scorekeeper. Let's look at what he has done since:

As you can see in the graph above, Denorfia's RC/27 has plummeted in each season, from 5.7 to 4.9 to 4.1. At this rate, he will be at 3.3 in 2009 and 2.5 in 2010. How many major leaguers have an RC/27 of 2.5? Unless Denorfia has a hidden pitching talent, his career is over.

Now, let's take a look at his batted balls:

As you can see in the graph above that does not contain a legend, Denorfia can no longer hit a ball in the air to save his life. His GB/FB ratio has skyrocketed from 1.75 to 2.40 to 3.80. That's right, for every five fly balls, Denorfia has produced NINETEEN grounders this season.

But even Denorfia's meager production this season is completely unsustainable. He is presently hitting .273/.360/.318 despite a BABIP of .375. When your BABIP is higher than your on-base percentage AND your slugging percentage, it is probably time to hang up the cleats.

And being on the A's, you would expect Denorfia to know how to take a pitch. His career average coming into the season was 3.97 pitches per PA, but this season he's down to 3.69. That is not a huge deal in itself, but Denorfia has also increased his strikeout rate from 18% to 24%. That means his strikeouts per pitch have gone up from 4.6% to 6.4%. Ouch.

Oakland is getting many plaudits for its early season success, but with Denorfia around, that does not seem sustainable.


At 9:54 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Bitter, party of one! (j/k)


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