CF
the guy SHOULD be quite a bit better...

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As TJM notes, it's not a long-term problem -- we assume -- because we have 5 years of Robinson Cano, 2B and that is AFTER this year.  Unless Jerry decides he likes his "sleek" team and comes up with something really blockbusterish .... naaaahhhh ...

Mo' Dawg sez:

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BTW, if you are not concerned about Heredia’s bat, you should consider it.  I suppose he has to hit LHP at some point (.553 this season) but he may continue to crash vs. RHP (.702 and sliding).  

He’s settled right in to his normal 84-ish OPS+ which wouldn’t be too bad if his CF glove was plus.  It hadn’t been this season.  -0.4 dWAR and he’s running an UZR/150 of about -12, right where he was last season.

He does hardly ever swing at balls outside the zone, however.  All in all, I remain not quite impressed.

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It *is* odd that his D hasn't produced big numbers in Safeco.  Randy Winn produced a UZR of +8.6 in center and Safeco and after that I figured Safeco's conditions could make just about anybody a CF here.  Of course Heredia's stats could still just be a short-term fluke ....

.....

Sherminator had something really fascinating to throw into the pot:

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From the very beginning of this season, I've thought there's something wrong with Guillermo's swing path. It looks to me like he is swinging in a bizarre uppercut, aimed straight at the right-center gap. He appears to be attempting to both hit the ball in the air, and maintain a constant inside-out swing.

Both laudable goals in the abstract, but he looks like he's taken them way, way too far. The swing is so slashy/loopey that he can't really adapt it part way through, one of the hallmarks of good opposite field hitters. It also appears to be the exact opposite of a level, KBIZLT swing. Instead he whips the bat through at a sharp angle, not only upward, but circular. The bat looks like it enters the zone tilted maybe twenty degrees behind the plate, and then he tries to whip it around to compensate.

As a result he can cover elevated pitches away, where his swing plane actually lines up okay, and elevated pitches inside, provided he gets the bat-head a mile out in front and keeps it fair. His heat maps bear this out: he's hitting high-away pitches and jam pitches. What he isn't hitting is anything low in the zone, or in the middle(!) of the plate.

I held my silence at the beginning of the year, because he wasn't playing at all, and then later when he went on a tear. While he was hot, I wondered whether he was just two steps ahead of me, and maybe there was some genius to his swing that made it work. Now I've pretty much written him off. I hope you like occasional ropes down the foul lines and a million routine flies to right, because I dunno how he can do anything else without drastically overhauling his swing.

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Then I watched that last night and ... slap me silly if I didn't agree entirely.  His swing looks like a gyro tilted way off the usual center axis for a hitter, and I like the characterization of "inside out" and "to drive the ball in the air to RCF."

Hitting the inside of the ball ---- > that's what you do to fight off jam pitches, getting on top of the hands-in pitch .... BUT if your bat is rising through the zone how do you get on top of that pitch?  You don't ...

And, as Moe sez, he swings out of his shoes every pitch, often staggering around after a miss ... just a guy who isn't interested in any of Edgar's advice, it looks like. 

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Leaving us where?  

1.  Heredia in CF   Well, his UZR's are mild .... -4.8 last year, -1.8 runs this year, and it could very well be that the Mariners have him as soundly positive.  John Dewan has him at -9 plays in CF this year.

81 as an OPS+ isn't a sucking chest wound.  ... :- ) It is odd to see a player with no OTHER offensive contribution, contribute in the BB/K column.  You see many players like that?!  

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2.  Maniger in CF    Mitch Haniger, Dewan has as +7 plays his last year in Arizona, =0 in Seattle last year in short time, -8 this year in 50 innings.  There's nothing wrong in theory with a bat-first player at a glove spot.  I'm not super sure Haniger canNOT play center for the M's, esp. short stint.

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3.  Braden Bishop or a Minor Leaguer or Ichiro ;- )   What a great chance for one of those pups...

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4.  Denard Span is a non-starter I guess, having serious negative numbers in his last job there, about 2016-17 for the Giants.

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5.  Dipoto Trade 

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As you can tell Dr. D is a little bleary-eyed typing this afternoon, but it's not hard to sum up:  Heredia is providing a frustratingly okay performance in CF for the short-term, and should be giving lots more.  Long term, it's this winter where we'll see whether Dipoto has in mind to go "sleek" or to go Robbie.

Enjoy,

Dr D

Comments

1
tjm's picture

As long as Cano is OPS'ing 800, he's gonna play 2nd even if he turns into a statue out there. He still catches everything he gets to and turns the DP better than anybody since Mazeroski. Of course there's always a chance he shows up one year as a Greek statue - without the arms - then he moves to 1B. I'd guess the rest of this year he platoons with Dee at 2nd and Healy at 1B.

2

Kudos for the Mazeroski reference.

Re: Heredia, his stats for the year are still kinda acceptable for a glove-first player in a glove-first position. But this doesn't take into account that his overall numbers don't reflect his stats in recent weeks, which are downright terrible. He hit so well early in the season that it masks just how bad he is hitting now. Take out April and Heredia IS a sucking chest wound. (Edited to add: I checked B-Ref, and Heredia still put up a .292 average in May. It is the entire month of June that has seen him fall off a cliff (.152 with an OPS of .418!). And he's 0 for 6 in July so far.

I had hoped the acquisition of Span would help Heredia. He wouldn't have to play every day in a four-to-make-three outfield. But the situation hasn't helped Heredia AT ALL. 

We need to figure out CF. I hate to entrust it to a rookie in the middle of a playoff race. DiPoto is gonna have to balance his acquisitiont resources with several needs in mind. He's going to have to decide which needs are most strategic. He can't possibly cover them all. A #2 type? Another draw at the shut-down reliever deck (Nicasio and Colome are just not cutting it)? A centerfielder who can contribute with the glove but still hit some?

It will be interesting to see what JeDi prioritizes.

3

From where I sit, knowing the little that I do, it seems like Cano should be doing some drills at 3B and 1B before he returns. A player of his caliber should be able to play both positions down the streatch to keep Seager, Gordon and Healy fresh for the post season. 

Seems like a given to me. At least for a month and a half of the season.

4

Especially for the note on turning the DP.  It's a real pleasure to watch Robbie convert them.

You think Robbie can play 1B on a dime like Gordon did CF?  What a team that might make, Cano vs RHP's at 1B and Healy vs LHP's at 1B ... just generally speaking of course -

5

--- Should be an exciting month. 12-man bullpen and 6-man rotation possible, plus I'll bet you get Vogelbach, Beckham, Bishop, Filia, and Law up as UT guys and pinch-hitters/runners, if they can juggle the 40-man to do it.

6

I am at least bullish on his D, even if the metrics aren't. By the eye test he seems to get excellent jumps, cover ground well, and can make the exceptional play when the opportunity presents itself. I certainly don't trust Haniger out there if we can help it. He looks way, waaay slow going gap to gap. Seems like every game he plays, someone hits a fliner into a gap that any regular CF should run down at an easy lope, and he has to sprint to get it on a hop. Of course if you were trying to cram some awesome hitters into the lineup that'd be one thing, but if we're trading + CF defense and an 80 OPS for - CF defense and Gamel/Span's bats... forced to play every day, rather than when the matchups are good... sounds like a lateral move at best.

7

Defensive stats are the glaring weak link in sabrementrics.  It seems pretty clear to me that Heredia is the only guy on the roster REMOTELY capable of playing center--if defense is a priority.  Which it may not be, since JD was convinced Dee could handle it out there (so far, no dice).

I'm OK with accepting a big downgrade in defense if you assume a big leap on offense  But we shouldn't be kidding ourselves about the downgrade.  

The bigger issue, to me, than who plays center, is how both Cano and Dee hit everyday when Cano returns.  We're going to need him.  (We remain last in the division in runs scored.)

8

Heredia is +3 plays defensively this year, mostly in center.

Statcast always makes more sense to me and passed the eye test far better than the zone based metrics. Heredia is being penalized in the zone metrics for the failures of his teammates, imho.

10

To me, the big issue is whether we really want Cano bumping Cruz from DH (we do not) or Healy at 1B (for the bat yes, but what the heck does that do to our long-term... plus having Cano learn a position mid-pennant race?!). It's a pickle.

11

Off topic, but I wonder how big a deal it is to the Astos' pitching staff that they've lost McCann for at least 2 months. Maybe they are so good they won't miss his 'veteran leadership' behind the plate. 

12

At this point, I'd like to see more of Haniger in CF, with Gamel in RF. They can keep the defensive sub merry-go-round for late innings with Heredia. A "blockbuster" CF pick up, a la Adam Jones, takes AB's from all three of G/Denard/Gamel, not just G (and he's the MOST OVERRATED defensive CF in the AL).

15

Tonight, for whatever reason, he has a much more level swing and was super aggressive on fastballs...Two ripped doubles, one yanked liner foul and a K over-swinging on offspeed.

Go figure

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