Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Giants Prospectus Profile: Freddy Sanchez, Second Baseman

This is the first post of a series of posts looking at the players on the Giants roster analytically and through sabermetrics. I don't know if I'll have time to finish all the players before the season starts, but I'll try to be consistent with the updates.

Also, these stats on Sanchez don't include his Pittsburgh first-half numbers, just his numbers with the Giants.

Standard statistics:
2009: 25 (games played), 102 (AB), 107 (PA), 29 (hits), 27 (singles), 1 (doubles), 0 (triples), 1 (home runs), 11 (runs scored), 7 (RBI), 2 (BB), 0 (IBB), 16 (strikeouts), 1 (HBP), 2 (sac flies), 3 (sac hits), 3 (grounded into double plays), 0 (stolen bases), 0 (caught stealing), .284 (batting average).

Advanced statistics:
2009: 1.9 % (BB %), 15. 7 % (K %), 0.13 (K/BB), .284 (batting average), .295 (OBP), .324 (slugging), .619 (OPS), -0.39 (ISO), 1.6 (SPD), .329 (BABIP), 8.0 (wRC), -4.8 (wRAA), .274 (wOBA).

Batted Ball statistics:
2009: .329 (BABIP), 2.37 (GB/FB), 26.4 % (LD %), 51.7 % (GB %), 21.8 (FB %), 5.3 %(IFFB %), 5.3 (HR/FB), 1 (IFH), 2.2 % (IFH %), 0 (BUH), 0 % (BUH %).

2009: -4.9 (batting), 3.5 (fielding), 3.6 (replacement), 0.4 (positional), 2.6 (RAR), 0.3 (WAR), $1.2 million (WAR in Dollars).

Win Probability:
2009: -0.26 (WPA), -1.63 (-WPA), 1.37 (+WPA), -2.34 (RE24), -0.25 (REW), 0.82 (pLI), 0 (PH), -0.42 (WPA/LI), 0.1 (Clutch).

Plate patience:
2009: 35 % (O-swing %), 64.1 (Z-swing %), 50.4 % (swing %), 72.6 % (O-contact %), 88.2 % (Z-contact), 83.1 % (contact %), 52.8 % (zone %), 64.5 % (F-strike %).

2009: 210 (innings), 44 (PO), 65 (assists), 3 (Errors), 9 (double plays turned), 0.973 (fielding percentage), 4.4 (RF/G), 4.7 (RF/9), 24 (DG), 56 (exO), -0.5 (DPR), 3 (RngR), 1 (ErrR), 3.5 (UZR), 21.9 (UZR/150).

Bill James Projections:
2010: 138 (games), 539 (AB), 155 (hits), 35 (doubles), 2 (triples), 8 (home runs), 67 (runs), 56 (RBI), 71 (runs created), 4.78 (RC/27), 29 (walks), 76 (strikeouts), 4 (stolen bases), 2 (caught stealing), .670 (stolen base %), .288 (batting average), .329 (OBP), .404 (slugging), .733 (OPS).

Remember '51 Analysis

Sanchez is a contact hitter, but not necessarily a "smart" contact hitter. While Sanchez most likely will hover around the .275-.315 range in terms of batting average, his low walk rates (1.5 percent last season) and OBP (.295 in 2009) make him a risky hitter to have. Furthermore, Sanchez doesn't seem to understand the strike zone very well as evidenced by him swinging at 35 percent of pitches outside the strike zone (third highest on the team, behind Pablo Sandoval and Bengie Molina). And, to make his situation offensively worse, Sanchez has no power. He had only one home run last year as a Giant, and his sub .300 slugging wasn't good.

Sanchez's strength seems to be groundball singles. He has a high GB rate (51. 7 percent) and a high BABIP (.329). Therefore, he is gong to be a guy that will put the ball in play. However, his BABIP will determine whether or not he has a breakout or mediocre season. If the groundballs aren't getting through, he looks like a pretty pedestrian player rather than a two-time All-Star.

Sanchez isn't a terrible offensive player by any means. His strikeout rate is respectable (15.7 percent) -- though it doesn't help his K/BB ratio (0.13), which suffers greatly from his lousy walk rate. Furthermore, he will be a tough out at the plate because he makes contact well (83.1 contact rate). That being said, his offensive value doesn't look good on paper (-4.9) because he lacks power (-0.39 ISO, rare for an All-Star player not named Walt Weiss) and just doesn't seem to draw walks or show much patience at the plate.

Sanchez is solid defensively on paper. He had a high UZR (3.5), UZR/150 (21.9) RF (4.4) and RF/9 (4.7). Those were the highest numbers of any Giants second baseman in those categories. Thus, it is easy to see why he won a Gold Glove in his tenure with Pittsburgh, and sports a respectable value defensively (3.5).

There are some concerns though with Sanchez going into 2010. His double play rate leaves a little to be desired at -0.5. It especially looks bad when Kevin Frandsen and Matt Downs have better double play rates (0.4 and 0, respectively). Also, his RngR in 2009 didn't look hot at 3, and in 2010 may look worse considering the two surgeries Sanchez had this off-season.

The Giants re-signed Sanchez for two years at six million per year this off-season. Though it is not a bad as the $8.1 million the Giants would have had to pay had he reached 500 PA last season, the Giants certainly got a bit swindled. His WAR converted to dollars last season was only $1.2 million. Thus, the Giants overpaid Sanchez by at least $3-4 million. With Orlando Hudson still on the market, chances are the Giants could have signed him at a much better deal (one year, $3-5 million) and probably get similar to better success at the second base position with Hudson.

Outlook for 2010:
Pre-injuries, Bill James' projections weren't all that great. His sub .300 OBP and sub .740 OPS didn't bode well for a team that ranked last in those categories in 2009. If Sanchez is going to be an All-Star for a second straight year, he's going to need a lot of help from his BABIP, which needs to be high in order to counteract Sanchez's lack of plate patience.

Defensively, I wouldn't expect a Gold Glove-caliber season out of Sanchez, especially after two major surgeries in less than six months. Giants fans should expect Sanchez to regress defensively from a season ago.

Remember '51 Grade: C+
Sanchez is a solid contact hitter and fielder, but lackluster plate patience, lack of power and injury problems severely downgrade his value as a Major League player. Sanchez will be lucky to touch his first half numbers from Pittsburgh a year ago, especially after his latest surgery, which will keep him out of Spring Training and perhaps Opening Day.

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