We’ve Got Everything …


So there are a couple of different forums I like to look through. I rarely comment but I enjoy some of the witty banter that goes on there between several of the users. It’s also where I like to get some ideas for my posts as well as it makes me do research on things that I normally wouldn’t even think about.

Recently on one of the forums I was going through, there was a comment about how much Jack Hannahan has no place on this team next year. I would rebuttal that with “and Bill Hall does???” … but I’m going to do you one better. I’m going to show you (with facts) why Hannahan not only has a place on this team but also could have an argument to be the starting third basemen.

First and foremost understand that there is more a need for defense on this team next year then there was this past year. The reason being is the pitching that we were fielding going into spring training was of a higher quality, simply because he had a healthy Erik Bedard. Assuming that there are no changes to the rotation outside of the competition between what we have (i.e Olson, Fister, French, Vargas, Silva, Morrow… am I forgetting someone… probably) we need defense over offense to keep that rough set of over achievers to continue to over achieve. Thus defensive statistics are higher valued.

Jack Hannahan when compared to other third basemen’s (defensively) is at the top (or very near) of the heap. He has so far in 88 games at third posted a UZR/150 (User Zone Rating a defensive metrics that shows how well he played with 0 being average within 150 games played.) of 19.8 that is higher than anyone else in MLB (AL or NL). Now I do understand that he has only played 88 games vs. Longeria, Zimmerman, Figgins all played nearly the whole season. Also know that this isn’t his first year posting such stats. While playing 96 games last year he posted a UZR/150 of 13.0, and the year before in only 41 games he posted 9.3. He can play defense with the very best in the league.

With all that said however, the argument turns to his offense. His pretty obvious eyesore offense. Which honestly I think there is a bit of  judgment going on for the simply reasons he doesn’t hit the long ball. Which, alright in a premium position such as third, I can accept that you would want some power out of that specific position. But, looking at what we’ve seen so far this season his ISO is down to a career low .112 (for even the minor leagues) there is evidence that this would increase for a number of reasons. First of all, his track record would show he is somewhere around a .130 ISO, which over the course of a full season would be around 10 maybe 13 home runs. This is on par with 7 of the 22 of the qualified third basemen this year. The HR/FB ratio is half of what it’s been the last two years that will eventually return to the mean. He is a left handed hitter playing in a park made to cater to left handed hitters. He may not have awesome power, but it isn’t going to be this absent. The real question is can he be a league average bat?

Well, here is the information you decide. This year he has posted the lowest BABIP of his short MLB career (.280) which also happens to be .20 points lower than the league average, it will eventually go north based upon statistically averages. His strike outs are down this year (26.9% from 30% the year prior), while still having a slightly higher Oswing% (he is making more contact by just under a percentage point). His LD% is below the league average at 18.3% which would explain his lower BABIP this as well should eventually (by the law of statistical averages) start to head north a bit and improve his stats. His BB% is down also, but with the less strike outs his BB/K ratio stays the same.

Hannahan is not as bad as all that he has shown while being here. He is going to get better and he has solid swing mechanics. If you were to start speaking about his overall value, all together he will be worth somewhere around 1.5, 1.8  WAR through a full season. While, yes this isn’t all-star; it is also nothing to sneeze at.

There are a lot of people that think Jose Lopez is the clear favorite to take over third base. You’d be surprised about the results when you compare Lopez and Hannahan. Jack Hannahan has thrown up a 1.2 WAR in 98 games where as Jose Lopez has a 2.3 in 146 games. Yes it’s a whole win plus some but it’s also in 50 less games. Lets say Hannahan plays the whole season and he doesn’t improve at all. He will still be worth 1.8 wins, while Jose Lopez has floated right around 2.1 Wins for the past four years.

 **side note** I specifically compared Hannahan to Lopez not just because Lopez is over valued and Hannahan is undervalued, I also did it because second and third base have the same co-efficient multiplyer when comes to calculating WAR **side note**

Regardless of what happens to Lopez, Hannahan has proven that he is an amazing defensive player and that should he show improvement in hitting, that he has the potential to be a solid starter.