Thursday, April 28, 2005

 

Bellhorn Puzzles Me

Mark Bellhorn can only play baseball in even years. 2002 and 2004 are acceptable; 2003 and 2005 make me sick to my stomach. I love Mark Bellhorn, especially since all he does is walk, strikeout, or hit homeruns. But in 2003 and 2005 so far, he is missing one of the key elements of a Three True Outcome player; that being the homeruns. Somewhere, Rob Deer is crying. Bellhorn's last 5 seasons, including his April 2005:

2001
.135/.210/.243; 1 HR, 7 BB, 37 K

2002
.258/.374/.512; 27 HR, 76 BB, 144 K

2003
.221/.353/.293; 2 HR, 50 BB, 78 K (no homeruns in 48 G at Coors Field)

2004
.264/.373/.444; 17 HR, 88 BB, 177 K

2005
.229/.325/.357; 0 HR, 10 BB, 28 K

So if he keeps his current rates he should finish with 77 walks and 216 strikeouts (I went with games rather than AB, crude yes, but whatever). The strikeouts don't even bother me; he could seriously strike out 216 times and I could care less...but if he has a "power" output like he did in 2003, I'm going to go insane. Maybe this is where Pedroia will end up, unless Mark Bellhorn hits .270/.410/.500 in 2006 with 316 K, 33 HR, and 121 BB. Which at this point, after watching these year by year deviations and seeing that he has zero career homeruns at Coors (thanks Rob Neyer, interesting article yesterday if anyone hasn't seen it) I have faith in Bellhorn's ability to do just that. Bellhorn is not the only Three True Outcomes player to have problems with average; Rob Deer is famous for it, and even Adam Dunn has his issues:

2001: .262/.371/.578; 19 HR, 38 BB, 74 K
2002: .249/.400/.454; 26 HR, 128 BB, 170 K
2003: .215/.354/.465; 27 HR, 74 BB, 126 K
2004: .266/.388/.569; 46 HR, 108 BB, 195 K

Dunn's averages are all over the place on occasion (he's hitting .317/.453/.783 right now; if this lasts maybe my offense won't struggle all year in fantasy) but since he continued to hit homeruns, even when he hit .215, he was productive.

Dunn 2001-2004
EqA: .304, .294, .287, .320
WARP1: 3.4, 5.2, 3.2, 6.9

Bellhorn 2001-2004
EqA: .140, .300, .243 (CHI), .222 (COL), .274
WARP1: -0.6, 6.1, 0.1, 4.9

I'm not actually comparing Bellhorn and Dunn on a value level, but I want you to see how much of a difference those homeruns Dunn continues to hit actually make. Bellhorn can continue to strike out 16 times a week (it seems) and walk all the time, as long as he starts hitting the long ball; even 15 would be nice. I refuse to put up with a WARP1 score of 0.1...luckily that might not happen to him this time. Look at his current line and WARP1 score after almost a month of games:

.229/.325/.357; .241 EqA, WARP1 0.9.

In 21 games his WARP1 score is already 0.9, where as in 2003 he totaled 0.1 for the year. What is making this difference when the results look around the same? He has 9 doubles already on the season, which projects to roughly 69 in 162 games at his current rate. If he hits 69 doubles I guess I could deal with a 2 homerun season...I'm sure neither of those two numbers will last all year, but if he ends up with 45-50 doubles and 7-10 homeruns, I think I'll deal with it. Last year he was worth 4.9 wins, but if he keeps up the pace he is on WARP1 wise, he will finish over 6 and close to 7 Wins Above Replacement. Also, Bellhorn is on pace for roughly 15 less Equivalent Runs this year than last year (77 in 04'). This is why Bellhorn puzzles me, because he is valuable so far this year whether he looks like it or not....sort of.. When I started this article, I did not realize that is what was going on, so excuse me if some parts of this seem awkward due to the conclusion I'm coming to now.

Imagine this season line:

9 HR, 75 BB, 197 K, 49 2B, 112 H

I can see it happening, and it'll be fun to watch. It would be like Brian Roberts 2004, except with more walking and less double plays, since the ball is never in play unless its off the wall or over it. Hopefully he survives the season, unlike his Chicago 2003 (where he only hit 10 doubles all year by the way). Maybe doubles is the key...will Bellhorn be a mini Three True Outcomes player this year, using doubles rather than homeruns?


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