Thursday, November 18, 2004


Position Analysis - Second Base

Second Baseman
Starter: Jose Vidro
Back-Up: Jamey Carroll
In the Minors: Henry Mateo / Brendan Harris (will talk about in 3B analysis)


Bats: Switch Age in 2005 : 30/31 Contract: Singed through 2008 - 7 Mill in 2005 (woo hoo! I actually get to tell you what someone will make in 2005!)
2004 Stats: .294 14 60 49 BB 43 K .454 Slug .367 OBP

Past: Jose had a couple of middling years with the Expos before breaking out in a big way in 2000. However you want to view it (.330 24 97 or .379 OBP/ .540 SLG) it was a phenomenal year for a 26 year old second baseman. In 2001 his numbers dipped slightly after a couple injuries (including a beaning in the head from Roy Oswalt). His numbers were pretty consistent since then, at a step below his 2000 season, though his K/BB rate improved every year.

Present: Vidro’s knee ended his season in late August, his first significant missed time since 2001. He was having a typical Vidro season until that point projecting in the neighborhood of 20HR and 80RBI, though I should add his SLG has dropped for the second straight year. He’s expected to be fully recovered for next year. Amazingly, he signed a contract extension. Although slightly over market value – you have to admire his loyalty to a team which had shown no interest in winning for most of his career.

Best Case:
With his improving eye and the power increase that can come with age, Vidro remains a top, if not the top, MLB 2B for several years, 25+ HR and 90+RBI every year.
Worst Case: Injuries begin to pile up and combined with age it takes its toll on the middle infielder. Vidro’s stats decline each year until at the end of his contract he’s below league average.
Probable: With a better outlook for the team Vidro should be revitalized a bit. I can see a big year for him in 2005, but that might be it. I think .290 15 should be expected over the contract length, slightly under contract value, but in my mind worth it for “the Franchise”

Bats: Right Age in 2005 : 31 Contract: 2004 1yr $310,000
2004 Stats: .289 0 16 32 BB 21 K .372 Slug .378 OBP

Past: Didn’t really beat down the doors to the majors. His minor league numbers were passable but more in line with a career minor leaguer or cup of coffee guy. Good average but nothing else to speak of. However, when given a full-time back-up role in 2003, he was not overwhelmed. Since his role was not going to expand, there was no real reason to send him back to the minors after that. Seems to be a fan favorite as well.

Present: 2004 was actually a really good year for Jamey, the trade of Orlando Cabrera and injuries to Vidro and Alex Gonzalez gave him a lot of playing time. He performed better than expected; the key being a much better eye than he had shown previously. He’s not going to light the world on fire but there’s no longer a feeling that the club is waiting for something better to come along to fill the bench.

Best Case:
Carroll continues to improve his selectivity and becomes a very useful pinch hitter / utility infielder. That guy who can move the runner over, always get the bunt down, and hustles on every play. An Eckstein without the baggage of having to start all the time.
Worst Case: This year was a flash in the pan. Jamey collapses in a more limited back-up role with fewer expected at-bats and lasts only a year or two more as a back-up.
Probable: If Jamey were 4 years younger I might lean toward the best case, but he’s not. He’ll never develop any power and with the recent signings his play will be limited. Of course that in itself is a blessing. He should be a just happy to be here guy for 2-3 years. If his production is stable he could stretch that out another 2-3 years. If it dips he could be done. I expect 4 more years out of his career so...something in the middle.

Bats: Right Age in 2005 : 28 Contract: Minor League Contract
2004 Stats: .273 0 0 1 BB 9 K .318 Slug .289 OBP

Present: In limited at-bats has been a little outclassed in the majors, striking out too often, getting on base not often enough, and not popping the ball. He is very reluctant to take a pitch. This hurts him a lot in the majors where the pitchers are much better than Triple A. His minor league stats don’t give any reason to expect things from him in the majors.

Probable: He may end up like Jamey Carroll, learning on the job to the point where he’s a useful back-up. However with a player like Carroll on your team, and players like him already plentiful and cheap, there’s no reason to keep Mateo in the majors. He’ll catch on somewhere for a year or two, but he’s been given his two-year audition, and he wasn’t up to snuff.

Other than Jeff Kent there is no one here to get excited about and even he’s iffy given his age. That explains why everyone is clamoring over “Vidro-lite” Placido Polanco. Polanco is young enough to blossom and right now is a nice little player. He’ll end up making some good money. Bret Boone is also out there and will get picked up by some team to start. Whether that’s a good idea depends on the contract. The rest is a motley crue

Easiest one to make. Stick with Vidro. With pickings this slim it’s not even a contest. Vidro is slightly overpaid, but in my mind should be the most identifiable player for this franchise, so it’s worth it. Unless someone offers the moon for him, keep Vidro on the team.

Carroll is fine enough to back-up, though given the recent signings his time could be given to Harris or Izturis. If they decide to cut him, I wouldn’t be upset. I’d keep him around at least another year though, even if you are giving the youngsters more of the at bats. Things happen.
Mateo should be dropped.

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