Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 27, 2006
BASEBALL: Scouting Valentin

One of the decisions the Mets have coming up is what to do about second base: stick with Jose Valentin or go get an upgrade. Statistical analysis of the situation is important, but let's not forget that the numbers can only take you up to a point; sometimes, there are judgments to be made that go beyond the numbers. In signing Jose Valentin and keeping him on the roster in the first place, Omar Minaya was making a judgment between two sets of statistics, and it turns out, so far, that he's been right.

A lot of people, myself included, looked at Valentin's age (36), his train wreck of a 2005 season (.170 batting, .265 slugging) and his overmatched look in March and April and concluded that he was toast. (And I'd been a fan of Valentin when he was in Chicago) Instead, he's been on a ferocious hot streak. Is this for real? Well, if you toss out Valentin's 2005 and compare his numbers in 2000-04 as a regular for the White Sox to this year's numbers (projected out to the same number of plate appearances)

YearABH2B3BHRRRBIBBKSBCSAVGSLGOBP
00-044871202632781765011494.247.483.317
2006502149383246287357673.297.531.342

Obviously, Valentin's not going to bat .297 if he stays in the everyday lineup, but otherwise you can see that he's not so far off base from the player he was in Chicago as recently as 2004, when he hit 30 home runs. Kudos to Minaya to choosing correctly in deciding whether we'd see something more like the 2000-04 Valentin or the 2005 Valentin at Shea this year. If he reverts to his 2000-04 form the rest of the way, we can more than live with that from the #8 hitter.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:24 AM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I'm with you Crank. I was with you in April & May (I called him "The Resurrected Corpse of the former player known as Jose Valentin" and "the random guy they pulled off the 7 train" on my blog), but he's worth keeping around now.

'Stache is playing decent second base, and even if his average dips to .235 (which it might) he's gonna hit some homers. Then when you throw in his attitude, his hustle, and That Moustache, it's really a no-brainer.

Posted by: Mike at June 27, 2006 11:21 AM

Players tend to play to their levels over the long haul. The only really interveing factors are injuries and men on base. You get men on, the pitchers pitch differently, the field opens up. The Cubs contended a few years ago, so we can safely assume that there were guys on.

The Mets have several players whose level is generally pretty high, or might be (the mights are Wright and Reyes, but it's a safe assumption). So Valentin is batting behind Reyes, Beltran, Delgado and Wright. You are going to see some pitches in the strike zone when Carlos Delgado is the weak link in that lineup. That's why good hitting is contagious.

I also doubt Omar will upgrade. The payroll is about where he was told to keep it. He's a good, workmanlike ballplayer. Kaz was the same, except he wasn't good, not sound enough to be workmanlike (not his work ethic), and if he is a ballplayer, you'll have to convince me. So they already have upgraded.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at June 27, 2006 1:50 PM
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