Monday, August 01, 2005
A Worse Chan Ho In A Good Park?
Pos. Player Rate2 Player Rate2 ======================================================== LF Kevin Mench 98 Ryan Klesko 100 CF Gary Matthews, Jr. 103 Dave Roberts 90 CF Laynce Nix 101 Xavier Nady 82 RF Richard Hidalgo 106 Brian Giles 102
Which is to say, the Padres have adequate defense at the corners, but bad-to-awful CF defense. (Bear in mind the centerfielders on both teams are split about 3:2 with Roberts and Matthews taking most of the time for each team.) He's going from a team with about league average outfield defense to one that's profoundly bad, particularly in Petco's broad centerfield.
But there's another problem with this analysis. Chan Ho Park is no longer a flyball pitcher. In fact, looking at his history, Park's reputation as a flyball pitcher seems to be gravely overdone. Except for his injury-plagued 2004, he hasn't once posted a G/F ratio less than unity. So let's look at the differences in the infield defense behind him going from Arlington to Petco:
Pos. Player Rate2 Player Rate2 ======================================================== 1B Mark Teixeira 105 Mark Sweeney* 91 1B Xavier Nady* 91 2B Alfonso Soriano 78 Mark Loretta** 97 SS Michael Young 90 Khalil Greene 87 3B Hank Blalock 102 Sean Burroughs 110 3B Joe Randa 103†
* Sweeney hasn't played much 1B this year, so this is based on a small sample size, 30 games. I still use it because it's representative of his play at the position previously in San Diego, and in fact slightly better than his 2002 numbers. I include Xavier Nady here because he started at the position on Sunday, which I assume portends he'll be given the position barring other changes.
** Loretta I assume will man the second base position, but with Phil Nevin disappearing, the whole infield is in flux.
† Thanks to Ducksnorts' Geoff Young for reminding me that Sean Burroughs had been optioned to AAA Portland last month; 3B will be Joe Randa. I quote Randa's 2004 3B fielding stats here because he hasn't had enough in 2005 to be considered with any reliability.
The point here is that up the middle, the Pads actually have (incrementally) better defenders than Park got in Texas, where his defense just killed him. If he can keep the ball on the ground -- and there's every indication that he can -- this has a chance to be a reasonable move for the Padres.
Those damn bastards on 1090 am won't shut up about it.