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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  • http://www.farfromport.wordpress.com Harrison

    Good piece Nathan. Look forward to reading more.

  • Kurt

    I think you have some work to do on your writing… Your style and technique is fine, but I think your topic and your writing don’t match at all… “Griffey Wouldn’t Be As Bad As We Thought” would sound less negative/more constructive, if you put “Griffey May Add Value to 2010 Mariners”… You are choosing to sell us on Griffey being an asset, but you give a negative title, that says even you don’t believe what you are saying… As for the piece, you used a stat that shows him to be a -18 run player, or roughly a -2 WAR DH. If you are going to sell me on Griffey, use his BABIP, considering his BABIP was .222 which is .070 lower than his career BABIP, which .292 is close to league average. For anybody that watched the Mariners all year, they know the “Ted Williams Shift” ate up a lot of singles that would have gone in the hole between 1st and 2nd base. With runners on base, you can’t put on the shift because you need the 3B to stay at home for plays at his bag and you need the SS to cover the area to the left of 2nd base, since the 3B won’t be there anymore. So the alignment becomes straight up or maybe they play back a little bit, but the end result is a higher BABIP and this is possible because of the OBP of Figgins and Bradley beig added to Ichiro and a very likely improvement of OBP by Gutierrez and Lopez in 2010. Furthermore, his high walk rate, normal strikeout rate, and low BABIP show that he is still capable of producing a 2+ WAR offensive contribution at DH. This is an example of how to sell your topic and the numbers I give are considered to have “positive correlation” to the title… You are giving generally negative numbers about Griffey, comparing him to Langerhans, which serves no overall purpose, talking about Bradley, which again serves no purpose… You said Griffey could be helpful, not MORE helpful than our other options… Running Bill Hall out there at DH isn’t helpful, it is however more helpful than say Greg Halman, so if you want to do a comparative, great, but you made a clear statement of “Griffey Can Help Us” (paraphrasing). Be true to your thesis, you have a lot of potential… Just don’t lose sight of your topic and your direction. And one more thing, if you are writing a positive piece about contribution from a player, give it a positive title… If you are writing a piece about what a player does wrong or isn’t helpful, than do a negative title… Final critique, the title seems weak… I mean that it doesn’t sound like you are searching for what to say, instead of HAVING something to say. A writer always must HAVE something to say or there is no reason to write… Writing to write without passion or conviction is called pandering. Overall, I like your vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure, you just need to clearly define a departure and a destination for your pieces. Good luck with the blogging position.

  • Kurt

    “I mean that it doesn’t sound like you are searching for what to say, instead of HAVING something to say. A writer always must HAVE something to say or there is no reason to write…”

    I accidentally typed over part of this… It was supposed to read…

    “I mean that it doesn’t sound concrete, like you are searching for what to say, instead of HAVING something to say. A writer always must HAVE something to say or there is no reason to write…”

  • Kurt

    One more thing, sorry… When you said “what we are checking is the delta…”, we aren’t checking anything, you are checking, and to say we is misleading and presumptive… To say “what I am checking…” is redundant because you are the writer, it’s your piece, so clearly it was you, stating that twice does no service to the reader… Writing professionally should never be in the first person unless you are the topic… Your statement should say “looking at the delta…” Think of it as writing more in the narrative than the 1st or 2nd person. Again, I know you are probably nervous because it’s probably a new foray into public writing for you, but you need to believe in yourself before others will believe in your words… Words have the ability to motivate both negatively and positively… Conviction is what makes letters into words, and words into literature. Without conviction, you are just doing electronic caligraphy. Make the reader a believer and you can feel proud of your works. Take care.

  • Echo

    Kurt? Yeah, Kurt, Kurt, Kurt honey, if your comment doesn’t fit within the character limit, it’s not a comment anymore, it’s a screed. Get your own blog.

    Nathan, I like the image of collecting knee surgery stamps, gives me a grin. Nice one.

  • Kurt

    There is no character limit, I’m not your honey, and it was constructive criticism aimed at helping him… If he really wants to pursue this and either write for a blog or start his own blog, he needs to hear those things… They are meant to help him… He is writing for a chance to be a #3 blogger, well, that means he may have to give another attempt, and if my words help him get there, then great… Nobody is forcing you to read the comments, but thanks for being a blog-Nazi… How do you know I don’t already have my own blog? Yeah, I’m not here to advertise, but just so you know, I do… I was offering words of encouragement and helping a fellow writer. I love when people get over-protective because someone doesn’t gush over another person’s writing… I wasn’t mean and I was just trying to help… It was never about me… But God forbid someone offers encouragement and critical aalysis of the writing, just to be helpful, and not for their own diabolical purposes… Yes, that’s correct, I did it, solely to help him, and with no alterior motives… By the way, when you are going to sit around and start attacking someone for taking the time to help another person, you should at least give your name and not hide behind the name “echo”.

    ONE MORE THING… Your cooment was far more antagonistic and off-topic than mine… So if you want to be a blog-Nazi, get your own site. Sound familiar? Some people, jeez. Sorry for getting so worked up, Echo honey… he he he :P

  • Kurt

    aalysis = analysis “n” key sticks
    cooment = comment, not sure what happened there.

  • http://sodomojo.com Griffin Cooper

    Kurt – I’ll just let Nathan read your comments, and he can take what he wants from them, I just wanted to make one comment. The title of this article wasn’t chosen by Nathan, it was added by either Taylor or me.

  • http://www.sodomojo.com nathan

    Thanks, Kurt. I appreciate your feedback.

    A couple of points:

    1) Quoth “You are giving generally negative numbers about Griffey, comparing him to Langerhans, which serves no overall purpose, talking about Bradley, which again serves no purpose”

    The goal of this article was to compare the different options when Jr. is or isn’t the DH. Therefore Langerhans and Bradley (*edit* and now, of course, Byrnes) is necessary.

    2) “If you are going to sell me on Griffey, use his BABIP, considering his BABIP was .222 which is .070 lower than his career BABIP, which .292 is close to league average.”

    Whether you think Jr. is going to regress is outside of the scope of this post. I DO think he’ll regress, BTW, but that may be just wishful thinking. I want Jr. to go out on top and hope he’s got one more good year left.

    3) “Nobody is forcing you to read the comments, but thanks for being a blog-Nazi.”

    You can’t have it both ways. You state that your criticism is meant to be construed as positive and helpful (which I take it to be) but you contradict yourself by using such a negative tone to another poster. Whether we have opinions that differ, let’s remember that tone is the most important factor in keeping a discussion effective. Comments like the above are unnecessary and make me take you less seriously.

  • http://www.sodomojo.com nathan

    4) “Words have the ability to motivate both negatively and positively… Conviction is what makes letters into words, and words into literature. Without conviction, you are just doing electronic caligraphy. Make the reader a believer and you can feel proud of your works.”

    I agree with this wholeheartedly. Thanks again, I’ll take your comments to heart.

  • http://sodomojo.com/ Taylor

    What a kind thing to say. I hope that guy drops by more often!