Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Flipside - Moving Uribe Up

The flipside to moving Tadahito Iguchi down in the lineup out of the #2 hole is Ozzie's proposition that Juan Uribe should move up and into the #2 hole. Given that Juan Uribe is not known for, say, getting on base, or, say, being patient at the plate, that idea seemed relatively dumb to me. Why put a low-OBP guy higher in the lineup? It seems like you would only be making a lot more outs over the course of the season.

To be fair, I put Juan Uribe to the same analysis I did in my last post concerning Tadahito Iguchi. I used the same splits for Uribe as I did for Iguchi to approximate "swing away" situations - None on, and Man on, 2 outs. For Uribe, I used his statistical splits since the beginning of the 2002 season (the 2002-2004 and 2005 splits on ESPN.com)

Even more suprising to me than the fact that Iguchi really did hit better when he was in "swing away" situations is that, after looking at the same data, Juan Uribe is not as good in "swing away" situations. You would think a free swinger like Uribe would do well when he is not trying to move runners over or can just swing for the fences, but the data shows otherwise.

Here are Juan's statistics since the beginning of the 2002 season:

1780 AB, 464 H, 96 2B, 15 3B, 65 HR, 249 RBI, 117 BB, 310 K, .261 AVG, .308 OBP, .441 SLG (.749 OPS).

Here is Juan in "swing away" situations:

1400 AB, 349 H, 76 2B, 13 3B, 53 HR, 123 RBI, 91 BB, 256 K, .250 AVG, .300 OBP, .436 SLG (.736 OPS).

Now here is Juan in situations where there are men on and less than 2 outs:

380 AB, 115 H, 20 2B, 2 3B, 12 HR, 126 RBI, 26 BB, 54 K, .303 AVG, .334 OBP, .461 SLG (.795 OPS).

Wow. That Juan is a much better hitter. One might even argue that he'd be worth $13 million per year if he put up those kind of statistics. Of course, the bulk of any player's plate appearances are going to come in "swing away" situations (about half of plate appearances, it seems, are without men on base).

Food for thought, even if the 380 AB in the second set of at-bats is a bit of a small sample size compared to the 1400 at bats. But just maybe Juan will be a better hitter in the #2 hole behind Scott Podsednik.

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