Friday, January 21, 2005

Nat of the Day, Jan. 21

Endy Chavez: Little guy with heart to match his speed, or just a crappy baseball player?

[Note: This is the first in a series of quick-hit type features on the guys who will comprise our 2005 Washington Nationals. I'll start with our centerfielder and putative top-of-the-order contributor, Endy Chavez.]

Name: Endy DeJesus Chavez
Age: Turns 27 on Feb. 7
Height/Weight: 5-10, 189
Bats/Throws: Left/left
Relevant 2004 statistics: 502 AB; .277/.318/.371 batting line; 32-39 SB, .984 fielding percentage.
Garden variety scouting report: Slap hitter; fast; good bunter and baserunner; impatient hitter; speed covers occasion bad break in CF; strong, accurate arm

The Inquirer wants to know:

If he can't, then his value as an everyday player is relatively minimal. Chavez's career batting average, in nearly 1200 MLB at-bats now, is .264. It was marginally higher (.277) last year, so let's call him a .270-career hitter type. Now, .270 hitters have their share of .300 seasons, and I certainly wouldn't put it past Chavez to have one---perhaps even this season, his "magical age-27 season" (i.e., the season that Bill James once captured as the year most likely that players in most given groups will have their best season---someone tell me if more recent research has refuted this).

That result would be fine by me, since it would presumably lift his on-base-percentage into the .340-range, which is when we start talk about him being truly helpful to an offense. (Of course, the downside is that a .300 season might elevate his perceived value to be higher than his actual offensive value likely is, and the inevitable result of that is a substantial pay raise---and then consider that .270-range hitters also have their share of .240 seasons, apply the concept to Chavez, and see where that gets us.)

I don't know; probably close to everyday status, if not all the way.

The perception is that Frank Robinson doesn't think much of incumbent first baseman Nick Johnson, which is probably why's Nats beat writer is obsessed with Johnson being traded. But if Johnson stays, then the one overriding concern seems to be to keep Brad Wilkerson in the regular lineup, which is a-okay with me.

Of course, that means first base probably, since if there's a second overriding concern, it seems to be Robinson's steadfast certitude that Termel Sledge will be a starting outfielder. So, in essence, it looks like it comes down to Endy Chavez vs. Nick Johnson for regular playing time. Wilkinson's a good corner outfielder, perhaps not as good in center---and so of course the probable outcome is that he'll play first base (with Johnson traded away), leaving Chavez as the centerfielder. Funny how that works.

I don't know.

If he has a .300+ season and turns into an absolute speed demon, then perhaps it is. He does seem to be a pretty good centerfielder; for instance, his Zone Rating ranked fourth among National Leaguers who played center on a regular basis. That's not bad.

Out of curiosity, why the template change?
Because I wanted a list of links, and the first template didn't provide it. Blogger's "Help" contents provide directions on how to provide a list-link for a template that doesn't come from it, but I'm a league-leader in "Fatal Errors" already and I was on lunch break.

I might change back when I have more time, especially if you think the first one looked better. I saw your blog yesterday, by the way. It looks nice.
Thanks. Now I just need to finish it. (the design, that is, not the blog -- those are never finished ;)

I mean, this one is fine, I just found the other one a hair easier to read. I can't really explain why.
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