Now for something completely different
Right now the Dodgers options for second base are Enrique Hernandez, Chris Taylor, Willie Calhoun, and in theory Austin Barnes.
Ken Rosenthal chimes in recently on who the Dodgers might be targeting for second base now that the Dozier talks have cooled off. He mentioned names like
Most of the Dodgers’ preferences are not known, but they’ve spoken with the Rangers about infielder Jurickson Profar, sources said. Two other switch-hitting second basemen — the Phillies’ Cesar Hernandez and Nationals’ Wilmer Difo -– would be potential fits, but it is not confirmed that they actually are on the Dodgers’ radar.
Dave Cameron at Fangraphs even got involved. He seems to think Profar of the Rangers would be a possibility.
That Baez would be Javier Baez. The 24-year-old made a name for himself in the postseason with his glove, but got into the lineup more with Kyle Schwarber out for virtually all of the regular season. Still, he played in 142 games and compiled a 2.7 fWAR. He did that while having a below-average wRC+ of 94, which speaks volumes about his defensive mastery. Baez had 11 defensive runs saved at second base, which tied Robinson Cano for third-best in baseball. The rub is, he did it in 383 defensive innings (Cano had 1,376 1/3 innings). He was also a plus-defender at shortstop and third base, but those positions are, understandably, filled.
So the likely suspects from what I’ve read are:
Dozier, Kinsler, Profar, Baez, Forsythe.
Which pleases me because the player I’m thinking of hasn’t been mentioned by anyone so here is my take on a player that I think could be had and might be worth a gamble.
Problem with my view is that I think more like a small market team and so I research that way.
I’m looking for a right-handed hitting second baseman, under team control for at least two years, has some power, has speed, can hit left-handers, has shown signs of being more than the totality of his career so far.
When doing the research on the greatest LAD to ever play second base, Davey Lopes, his road to becoming the greatest LAD the second baseman continues to resonate with me. He was 28 before the fully formed Davey Lopes hit the major leagues and I’m sure he would have struggled in the major leagues if he been promoted sooner. Lopes might have struggled so much that he probably would have been labeled a utility player and never gotten the opportunity he eventually got moving right into the starting second base gig in 1973.
When I do these exercises I’m not looking for the guy who already broke out, I’m looking for the guy I think has a reasonable chance to breakout. Someone whose power is just now starting to show up.
Later I will use statcast for this exercise but today I’m simply using my gut and simple searches that met my above criteria.
2015 – Age 22, 3rd Major League season, 219 BA, .291 OBA, .631 OPS, 10 steals in 355 PA. Career at that point was 636 PA, .239 BA, .298 OBA, .346 Slug, .644 OPS. He had played 132 games at 3rd base, 109 games at SS, 58 games at 2nd base, and 50 games in the outfield.
Headed into 2016 no one thought he was anyone’s answer to an infield problem.
But he was exactly the answer. It took all summer but by August 1st he became the de facto starting 3rd baseman for the 2016 American League Champions. He earned the job by having a triple stat line of .293 / .354 / . 414 / .786. From that point on he was the catalyst for the Indians winning the AL Central and going to the World Series. Hyperbole you say?
Not really, Jose Ramirez hit .339 / .377 / .533 / .910 from August 1st to the end of the season. He plugged a hole and in so doing changed the team dynamic.
He was every bit the Justin Turner of the American League. And no one saw it coming.
Who can be that guy in 2017?
I’m going to nominate this guy
2015 – Age 24, basically first real major league season, .243 BA / .257 OBA / .327 Slug /.584 OPS. He played 80 games at 3rd, 19 games at 2nd, 7 games at 1st, 6 games at SS. Just like player A, he was horrible at the beginning of his career.
2016 – Age 25, .272 BA, .302 OBA, .428 Slug, .730 OPS. He played 60 games at 3rd, 36 games in RF, 11 games at 2nd, 8 games in CF, 6 games at 1st, 3 games at SS, and 2 games in LF. Much like player A, he played everywhere. He also stole 34 bases while getting caught only seven times. This helped him to a decent 2.0 bWAR while garnering only 430 plate appearances. He had the strange split of hitting .287 / .317 / . 489 as a 3rd baseman in 188 plate appearances but only .244 / .273 / .378 as a right fielder. He also slugged 100 points higher against left-hand pitching.
Player B is Hernan Perez of the Brewers. As a minor leaguer, he played more games at SS/2nd than anywhere else. He’s a middle infielder, not an outfielder, not a 3rd baseman.
He’s my pick to improve in 2017 that no one saw coming and who might be a better option than Logan Forsythe for 2017. You could say if that is the case, why isn’t he starting at 2nd base for the Brewers? And I’d reply why was Justin Turner released by the Mets? Why was Jose Ramirez cast as a utility player headed into 2016? Why was JD Martinez released by both the Rays and Astros? Why were Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion blasting home runs in Toronto after their original teams didn’t know what they had?
Oh, he’s also only one of six players to have hit at least 13 home runs, stolen over 30 bases, and had an OBP below .305 in the 21st century: One year after Carlos Gomez did this at roughly the same age, Gomez was a two-time all-star and garnering MVP votes. Of course that partially due to his elite CF defense.
Just saying if Jurickson is on the Dodger rader, Hernan Perez should also be. He’s got more power, has more speed and is better at stealing bases, is still under team control for three years, and shouldn’t cost much in assets.
Later, we discuss Marwin Gonzalez
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