Sunday, February 7, 2010

Giants Prospectus Profile: Eugenio Velez, Utility

Okay. Two things to start off before I begin this second prospectus profile:

1.) Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints for their Super Bowl victory. (It was well-earned, unlike the Steelers' Super Bowl win in 2007.)

2.) I'm still shocked by the news that Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko are dating. Seriously, this is the most shocking news I have ever heard in my life. I once mentioned the idea of Alex Rodriguez and Hayden dating to a friend, and my friend said "That's a bit uncomfortable for me to imagine." Klitschko tops that times 100.

Okay, now that those issues are out of the way, onto the second "prospectus profile" on Eugenio Velez.

2009: 84 (games), 285 (at-bats), 307 (plate appearances), 76 (hits), 53 (singles), 13 (doubles), 5 (triples), 5 (home runs), 40 (runs), 31 (RBI), 16 (walks), 1 (IBB), 55 (strikeouts), 2 (HBP), 2 (SF), 2 (SH), 6 (GDP), 11 (SB), 5 (CS), .267 (batting average).

2009: 5.2 % (BB%), 19.3 (SO %), 0.29 (BB/K), .308 (OBP), .400 (SLG), .708 (OPS), .133 (ISO), 7.1 (SPD), .316 (BABIP), 31.6 (wRC), -5.1 (wRAA), .309 (wOBA).

Batted Ball:
2009: .316 (BABIP), 1.85 (GB/FB), 17.3 % (LD %), 53.7 % (GB %), 29 % (FB %), 6.0 % (IFFB %), 7.5 % (HR/FB %), 6 (IFH), 4.8 % (IFH %), 0 (BUH), 0% (BUH %).

2009: -5.3 (Batting), -1.8 (Fielding), 10.2 (Replacement), -1.4 (Positional), 1.7 (RAR), 0.2 (WAR), $1.2 million (WAR converted to Dollars scale).

Win Probability:
2009: 0.04 (WPA), -5.5 (-WPA), 5.54 (+WPA), 0.14 (RE24), 0.02 (REW), 1.04 (pLI), 1.74 (phLI), 14 (PH), 0.14 (WPA/LI), -0.1 (Clutch).

Plate Patience:
2009: 27.9 % (O-swing %), 71.9% (Z-swing %), 50.2 % (swing %), 60.6 % (O-contact %), 87.8 % (Z-contact %), 80.3 % (contact %), 50.7 % (Zone %), 57.3 % (F-strike %).

2009 (LF): 288.2 (innings), 49 (PO), 2 (A), 2 (E), 0 (DP), 0.962 (FP %), 1.2 (RF/G), 1.6 (RF/9), 23 (DG), 43 (exO), 0.1 (ARM), 7.8 (RngR), -0.8 (ErrR), 7.1 (UZR), 46.1 (UZR/150).
2009 (RF): 14 (innings), 3 (PO), 0 (A), 1 (E), 0 (DP), 1.00 (FP %), 0.6 (RF/G), 1.9 (RF/9), 2 (DG), 4 (exO), -0.4 (ARM), -1.1 (RngR), 0 (ErrR), -1.4 (UZR), -87.9 (UZR/150).
2009 (CF): 65.1 (innings), 13 (PO), 0 (A), 1 (E), 0 (DP), 0.929 (FP %), 1.1 (RF/G), 1.5 (RF/9), 7 (DG), 14 (exO), -0.9 (ARM), -1.1 (RngR), -0.2 (ErrR), -2.2 (UZR), -44.7 (UZR/150).
2009 (2B): 215.2 (IP), 55 (PO), 68 (A), 6 (E), 8 (DP), 0.954 (FP %), 4 (RF/G), 5.1 (RF/9), 29 (DG), 66 (exO), -0.4 (DPR), -2.7 (RngR), -2.2 (ErrR), -5.3 (UZR), -28.1 (UZR/150).

Bill James Projections:
2010: 82 (G), 206 (AB), 56 (H), 11 (2B), 3 (3B), 2 (HR), 28 (R), 20 (RBI), 25 (RC), 4.17 (RC/27), 13 (BB), 33 (SO), 14 (SB), 6 (CS), .70 (SB %), .272 (AVG), .318 (OBP), .383 (SLG), .702 (OPS).

Remember '51 Analysis:

Velez has tools, but unfortunately, they often go unrealized in his case. Velez has incredible speed, but his lackluster OBP (.308) and BB rate (5.2  percent), in 2009 show that he simply isn't patient enough at the plate to be a leadoff hitter at the Major League level. Granted, low OBP numbers don't automatically eliminate a guy from leadoff consideration (as evidenced by Willy Tavares), but Velez struggles to utilize his ability as a base-stealer.

In 2009, Velez stole 11 bases. However, he was caught five times. In order to be more utilized on this Giants team, he has to get a better sense when it comes to stealing bases, especially with their leading base-stealer, Randy Winn, now a Yankee.

Velez did have five triples in 2009 (second-most on the team), and hit five home runs, so Velez did show some semblance of power at the plate in 2009. However, he still seems to rely a lot on "seeing-eye" groundballs for base hits. This is evidenced by a 1.85 GB/FB ratio and 53.7 percent groundball rate.

One good quality of Velez's is that he isn't too terrible in terms of swinging at pitches outside the strike zone (especially in comparison to his Giants teammates). He only had a 27.9 percent O-Swing percentage, which put him in the middle of the pack on this Giants roster. Is he incredible? No, but there are players with much worse percentages, and the problem doesn't seem to plague him like it did earlier in his career. Also, surprisingly, out of all the the returning outfielders from last year's squad, Velez had the best contact rate at 80.3 percent (only Randy Winn had a higher contact rate than Velez at 81.2 percent).

Velez can play all three outfield positions and second base. Thus, with that kind of versatility, one would think he'd have tremendous value defensively, right? Not exactly.

With the exception of left field, Velez posted negative UZR ratings at all of his defensive positions. He had a -1.4 UZR at right field, a -2.2 in center field, and a -5.3 UZR at second base. Therefore, left field is really the only position Velez can play, but thankfully for the Giants, he can play it pretty well. His 7.1 UZR in left field in 2009 was the fourth-highest overall on the team.

Velez has good range to handle AT&T Park's big outfield dimensions. His 7.8 RngR was third best on the team last year (behind Winn and Travis Ishikawa). That being said, his arm strength leaves a little to be desired. He posted 0.1, -0.4, and -0.9 ARM ratings in left, center and right field, respectively in 2009.

Velez made $404,000 last year, just four grand over the league minimum. Velez should post similar contract figures again this season, since he is still at least another year away from arbitration. That being said, he does provide good bang for the buck. Unlike some outfielders (Aaron Rowand and Mark Derosa come to mind), he won't cost the Giants a tremendous amount of money in 2009. And, to make matters more favorable for him, his WAR converted to dollars measured to $0.8 million last year. It is likely to think that he will post similar, if not slightly better WAR converted to dollars numbers in 2010. Therefore, the Giants will at least be getting more from Velez than what they will be paying him in 2010.

Outlook for 2010:
James has him only playing 82 games, and it makes sense. With the additions of Derosa and Aubrey Huff, Velez most likely will have a limited role on next year's team. Granted, he has speed, and last year, he did show some progress at the plate (though probably not as much as some would like to think). However, his lackluster walk numbers and inconsistency will probably keep him from getting much playing time in 2010. And, with guys like Andres Torres and Fred Lewis also battling for outfield spots next year, Velez will not have much room for error in Spring Training.

Remember '51 Grade: C
Velez has talent, you can't deny that. But he's not exactly young (he'll be 28) and he just doesn't seem to offer more than what a guy like Lewis could offer. If he had more respectable OBP numbers, he'd be a decent option for the Giants in terms of playing more regularly. Unfortunately, his numbers are atrocious to the point where not even his decent speed (five triples, 11 stolen bases) can make him a respectable starting/regular-playing outfield option for the Giants.

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