Nationals Baseball: Wrong Lee? Nah.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wrong Lee? Nah.


He's not THAT old. Sure he's an old 35 (will turn 36 before the end of the season next year) but it's only 35. Trusting a player at 35 & 36 doesn't seem like a terrible idea. Eventually he'll fall off the cliff but if you don't think that was last year (and I don't) than it's fine to gamble on the short term.

He bounced back decently with the Braves. Over the last 39 games his line was .287 / .384 / .465. That seems pretty much in line with what I'd like to see from a 35 year old Lee.

He wasn't that bad with the Cubs
April : .205 / .327 / .352 (.222 BABIP)
Post -April : .267 / .337 / .433 (.311 BABIP)

That line for BABIP (batting average for balls in play) is usually pretty stable. For Lee (for anyone really) .222 is terribly low. It's usually is an indication of unluckiness more than a true slump. .311 is close to what Lee would usually have - so it's not like he bounced back with a run of luckiness at that point. Would the Nats be happy with .267 / .337 / .433? Probably not. Would they be happy with something between that and the Atlanta line? I think so.

I don't see much bad in the fancy stats to indicate trouble to come. His line drive percentage is pretty stable, walks are stable, K's are up but not past some of his past season lines. The FB% and HR/FB dropped a bunch but both were oddly high in 2009. That was the aberration and it makes last year look worse. In truth, 2010 is closer to career averages. He is swinging more at pitches outside the strike zone (18.7% -> 20.8% -> 21.5% -> 23.1%) but as he does that he gets better at making contact at these pitches. (52.5% -> 57.4% -> 60.5% -> 65.6%), so that mitigates the problem a bit. It's not ideal, I admit, but it shows an ability to adapt.

His defense has been consistently decent. He's not the best but it seems like whatever efforts he has made in the latter half of his career to turn his fielding into a plus is continuing to work.

So I like Lee, for a year or two (next year's first baseman market is dry unless you want to give Prince Fielder 150 million). Maybe see if Marrero is ready or if Bryce is moved. Three years? No way.

8 comments:

Pig.Pen said...

I like Lee as well, but that's just a different way of saying I don't like LaRoche. LaRoche, strikes out too much, and while I realize that a K is just another way of saying out, it indicates an issue with mechanics. Not to mention that even in a down year for Lee he still had a higher OBP than LaRoche and Lee's wOBA of .340 was slightly better than LaRoche's at .339. Still it's a matter of good/great player regaining form, or a meh player becoming a good/great player. I'd rather gamble that the formerly good/great player regains his form and with Lee the signs seem to indicate that this could happen, while LaRoche had that terrible year last year in the one of the best hitter's parks in baseball.

Wally said...

His bat looked pretty slow to me last year, but maybe it was the thumb. I don't think any of these remaining guys are all that different from each other, so I can't get too worked up either way. Unless they come up with a trade for a young, blocked guy.

Willingham for Belt, anyone? Just kidding, so don't yell at me.

Anonymous said...

I think that Lee's asking price will be greater than the Nats can afford and his last year could be the start may be a sign of things to come. His leadership might help, but then you are back to the Pudge argument (well except Pudge's numbers were only decent in April).

Wally said...

If the Phillies are in on Lee and need to drop salary, what about the Nats picking up Oswalt? Assuming it is mostly a salary dump, say for Morse, I think it would be a good move for the Nats, even if they had to pick up his 2012 option. What do you think?

Matt said...

Wally - there is no way the Phils trade Oswalt for Morse, salary dump or no - pitching is at such a premium that they'd get much better offers. Most of what I've read suggests they'll try to dump Blanton, anyways. His contract is terrible, but if the Phils eat a lot of it, I think the Nats should be interested.

Harper said...

PP - The way I see it Lee is the consistent safe bet, Pena was the gamble, LaRoche is the midpoint between the two with only the power a sure thing.

Wally - Willingham for a belt? maybe with Lee now in conference the mets will just give up?

Anon - oh, they can afford it. and Lee isn't Pudge. Lee - 35 - even with time last year with Cubs it stillwas a decent offensive year overall. Pudge - 38 -hadnt had a good full year since 2006

Wally - love Oswalt but this is the Phillies going all in for 2011. After that Oswalt and Rollins may (will) go.

Matt - Blanton? The Phils would have to eat a lot of contract and Blanton would have to eat a lot less

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