Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Notes

Two Dodger-related items at Baseball Prospectus (both subscription only) today. The first is Will Carrol's team health report. Will does a great job on these, but to be frank I didn't really learn anything new from his player comments. His discussion of Frank Jobe's rotator cuff work was pretty interesting, though. I think Will misstated his line about Greg Miller - he was out last season and will miss several months now, but last I heard he's expected to pitch this year. Also, I don't think Will is familiar with the work Wilson Alvarez has done with the Dodgers.

And the red light for OP and green light for Lowe - though both things you and I already knew about - caused me to briefly deliberate once again on how baffling it is that the near universal sentiment is that Perez at $8m per was a good and necessary deal while Lowe at $9m is terrible. Given the choice, I'd probably take the Perez deal, but it's no slam dunk. They're both overpaid.

The second item is Joe Sheehan's mention of Dioner Navarro as one of his "Not My Guys." Sheehan rightly states that Navarro's offense is tied closely to his batting average. However, his mentioning Navarro's .263 average across two levels comes across as extraordinarily naive. A 20-year-old putting up an above average BA and OBP in Double-A is pretty good, and the .250 he hit in AAA is, given his age, not shabby. The idea that Navarro is the next catching superstar is silly, but that doesn't mean he can't or won't be a very good player. The Ivan Rodriguez comparisons I've seen were, in my mind, mostly about his defense. I wouldn't expect Navarro to put up a career .184 ISO as Rodriguez has, but I also would expect him to walk more frequently than Rodriguez and he's got a good shot of hitting for average nearly as well as Rodriguez. And while it's unlikely his defense will be Rodriguez caliber, he could still be pretty good with the mitt.

Also, Sheehan's invocation of Mike LaValliere is puzzling; I don't know about you, but I'd take LaValliere's first six seasons in a heartbeat. He was an above average hitter at a defensive position and most metrics I've seen have shown his defense to have been excellent. Is Navarro less of a prospect because LaValliere was never allowed to be a full time player? Even so, the comparison is pretty poor in my eyes. LaValliere was a left-handed hitter who didn't sniff the majors until age 23 and didn't see any non-September playing time until age 25. Navarro has been an above average AA hitter at age 19 and 20. Not adding up in my mind.

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