Why Griffey as Full-Time DH Wouldn't Be As Bad As We Thought (by Nathan Hoover)

[Taylor's Note: Nathan is auditioning for our open 3rd blogger position with this post, along with several others (whose work may or may not be posted).  Griffin and I really like what he has to offer, and we'd like input from readers as well.]

Griffin is nice enough to give me an opportunity to try my hand at blogging. So, of course, I’ve got to find a way to publicly show him up. *That’s* called a first impression, folks.

First off, let’s get the idea of Griffey in LF out of the way. Dave from USSMariner debunked this idea before the start of the season last year and the only thing that’s changed is Griffey is 1 year older and 1 more knee surgery stamp closer to getting a free hip replacement.

So, how bad would Griffey be as our starting DH? First, let’s introduce our scenarios. We’ll consider, for the sake of argument, that we’ll start the year with our roster as it is currently today. We’ve heard that this is unlikely from several different sources but…what can you do? You analyze what you have at hand. SO!

LF Ryan Langerhans
LF/DH Milton Bradley
DH Ken Griffey Jr.

Ryan Langerhans is essentially replacement level offensively and slightly above average defensively. Thus he is quintessentially MLB average.

Milton Bradley is (or, at least has been and has a chance to be again) above average offensively and slightly below average defensively (when not hurt or suspended, of course).

Ken Griffey Jr. is an inner-circle hall-of-famer well past his prime. He can still walk and hit for power, but struggles with contact. He doesn’t belong on the field defensively.

What we’re checking is the delta between Langerhans’ offense vs. Grffey’s offense and Langerhans’ defense vs. Bradley’s defense. The best way to measure this is in runs.

Offensive projections
Defensive projections
Langerhans wOBA:  ~.311
Langerhans UZR/150:   6
Bradley wOBA: ~.357
Bradley UZR/150:  -4
Griffey wOBA:  ~.320

Converted to runs/game (considering [150*3]450 plate appearances over the course of season):
Langerhans offense (LF):  -12.13
Langerhans defense:  6
Bradley offense (LF):  5.90
Bradley offense (DH): -3.52
Bradley defense:  -4
Griffey offense (DH):  -18

So give a sample size of about 150 games the Langerhans LF/Bradley DH give you -9.65 runs over 150 games. Bradley LF/Griffey DH gives you -16.1 runs over 150 games. So the difference is 6.45 runs over the course of 150 games. Did I mention that it’s over 150 games? It is. That’s less than 1 win per 150.

It’s obvious that we’ll be fully utilizing our depth this year. Griffey is certainly depth which is good. But given the occasional start he won’t kill this team. If you expect Griffey to improve on last year’s performance at all he’d be OK. It’s not pretty, but it’s not as ugly as it might seem.

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