Tuesday, March 15, 2005


A small victory...

A small victory for stat heads everywhere: The Detroit Tigers released outfielder Alex Sanchez today. Sanchez batted .322 last season with a .335 (shudder) OBP and awful defense. His .322 was hollow. Completely hollow. Singles and almost no walks. Here are some stats that give away how poor his .322 average actually was. His Isolated Power (Slugging Percentage minus Batting Average) was .063. His Secondary Average, which is (Total Bases - Hits + Walks + Stolen Bases) divided by At-Bats, was .102. Bill James' definition for Secondary Average: "A number meant to reflect everything else except batting average. A player will have a high secondary average if he hits for power, takes walks, and steals bases". (Formula from The Bill James Handbook 2005).

I remember there was a time when his average was actually higher than his OBP due to a sacrifice hit or sacrifice fly (can't recall). I used his empty average to my advantage on my fantasy team last year, since caught stealing wasn't a category and I had Todd Helton to offset the low OBP, so I remember the average being higher. He steals a lot of bases, but gets caught almost as often, so his steals are counterproductive. 19 steals with 13 caught stealing for a 59% success rate, 70% being the productive benchmark for anyone who didn't know. That 59% rate is magnified due to the fact that it isn't him going like 2/4 on stealsl; its 19/32 in a shortened season. Over the course of a whole season that is a lot of rallies killed. One other thing, he had 12 sacrifice hits in only 332 at bats (352 Plate Appearances, shows you how often he took a walk huh?). Defenses tend to figure those sorts of things out, and his average would drop once the bunt was not as effective a weapon for him. Not to mention how often he would probably ground out via a bunt attempt.

His defense is well below average in centerfield, and the Tigers have Curtis Granderson waiting in the wings to take over the job anyways. Kudos to the Tigers front office for recognizing this problem and terminating it, rather than letting his subpar play masked by speed and high averages continue to hurt their chances at winning games.

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