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Monday, March 05, 2012

The Angels' Third Base Dilemma

Reading this Monkey With A Halo gut-feel piece about the Angels' third base situation reminded me of Mark Klaassen's excellent review from last week at Fangraphs, which so far is the best thing I've read on that particular dilemma so far. The short version is this:
This is not to dismiss the fielding issue, as it is obviously important. But what about the notion of an “offensive profile?” It would be understandable if one assumed that Trumbo’s 29 home runs made him more valuable at the plate than Callaspo last season. However, we do have ways of establishing the relative value of events using linear weights-based metrics like wOBA. However, the simple heart of my overly-lengthy response is this: Trumbo’s 2011 wOBA was .327 (.254/.291/.477), and Callaspo’s was .330 (.288/.366/.375). Trumbo was worth six batting runs above average, while Callaspo was worth about seven in fewer plate appearances.

Trumbo is younger, of course, so perhaps after making appropriate adjustments, he comes out better. ZiPS does see regression for Callaspo this season, projecting his 2012 wOBA at .314. However, ZiPS sees Trumbo 2012 wOBA as being…. .314. So there is no help there, either.

That is to say, even though Trumbo has a nice home run total, because he rarely walks and has a low batting average, his bat is worth only marginally more than Callaspo, which is a surprising outcome. I personally could live with either, though you can see how Trumbo might be getting starts on days flyballer Jered Weaver starts.

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