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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

BPro: Sheehan: Breakout Candidates

Obviously five believers…or fewer, are really in on this.

Ryan Zimmerman: Zimmerman may seem like an odd choice for the list, given how well he’s played in his first two full seasons. However, Zimmerman’s raw stat lines have been held down by his home park, RFK Stadium, which just killed power, especially right-handed power. Zimmerman’s home/road splits do not reflect this gap—he’s slugged .501 at RFK in his career, .435 on the road, but a guiding principle of performance analysis is that an individual’s home/road splits, even over two years, do not mean that player isn’t being affected by his home park. We know what RFK did to run scoring and power, and moving to a new park should enable Zimmerman to convert some of his doubles to home runs. Throw in development—he’s 23 this season—and you have the recipe for a breakout. David Wright might well have been the most valuable player in the National League last season; Zimmerman will be a better player than Wright in 2008.

 

Repoz Posted: January 16, 2008 at 12:30 AM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets, nationals

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   1. Esoteric Posted: January 16, 2008 at 12:44 AM (#2669243)
OH NOES THROWAWAY METS REFERENCE HERE COME THE STAMPEDING HORDES OF BBTF METS FANS KATY BAR THE DOOR.
   2. Khrushin it bro Posted: January 16, 2008 at 12:46 AM (#2669248)
Zimmerman better than Wright? Way to start a discussion which will stay classy.
   3. 33Boots Posted: January 16, 2008 at 12:49 AM (#2669251)
Um, Melky will have an 80 xbh season soon...ok.
   4. The District Attorney Posted: January 16, 2008 at 12:58 AM (#2669257)
Meh. Sheehan is just being dramatic by saying Zim "will" be better than Wright, instead of "could." Zim is very young, a better fielder than Wright IMO, already a good hitter who could become a great one if he gains the power that you would expect with age, and the stadium change is bound to help at least somewhat. Throw in the inherent unpredictability of any given season, and he certainly could have a better year than Wright. It's not more than 50% probable, which is what "will" should really mean at the least, but again, "could" is kind of boring writing.
   5. cardsfanboy Posted: January 16, 2008 at 01:00 AM (#2669259)
Yea Yadier is mentioned. I see him as a guy who will improve slowly(that is the only speed he knows) who's defense keeps him in the bigs, but who's bat will be a plus asset also over the next 7 years.
   6. asinwreck Posted: January 16, 2008 at 01:02 AM (#2669263)
Sheehan apparently isn't worried about Zimmerman's wrist injury lingering and sapping his power. I am, and I also wouldn't be surprised if Miguel Tejada bounces back this season after a year where his wrist probably affected his production...


...assuming Tejada isn't detained due to the issues the House wants to discuss with him.
   7. DCA Posted: January 16, 2008 at 01:08 AM (#2669276)
Zimmerman better than Wright? Way to start a discussion which will stay classy.

According to BPro's stats, Zimmerman was better than Wright in 2006, so it isn't an outrageous suggestion.
   8. Esoteric Posted: January 16, 2008 at 01:19 AM (#2669290)
I think it's a pretty uncontroversial statement to say that Zimmerman is/will be a better player than David Wright. Wright is a better and more mature player right now, but Zimmerman is younger and he's a more complete player (Wright is a mediocre defender at a critical position). His ceiling is higher, and he's given every indication that he will realize his potential.

Also, I'm a Nationals fan, and do enjoy baiting the BBTF Mets contingent ever so much. Nyah.
   9. Robert S. Posted: January 16, 2008 at 01:36 AM (#2669312)
I reckon I done figured out why Stephen Drew is a candidate to improve "dramatically" in '08.
   10. Foster Posted: January 16, 2008 at 01:48 AM (#2669323)
I like Zimmerman a lot, but doesn't hamate bone surgery tend to mess with power for quite awhile?
   11. Chris Needham Posted: January 16, 2008 at 02:02 AM (#2669336)
Also, I'm a Nationals fan, and do enjoy baiting the BBTF Mets contingent ever so much. Nyah.
floresfloresfloresfloresfloresfloresflores
floresfloresfloresfloresflores

(That works better)

I like Zimmerman a lot, but doesn't hamate bone surgery tend to mess with power for quite awhile?
Depends. David Ortiz had it once, and stunk. Wily Mo had it, and didn't skip a beat (the season he had it, at least).

If I had to bet, we won't really have an idea if it does because the park factor's going to shade his stats too much.
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: January 16, 2008 at 02:58 AM (#2669359)
iirc, Wright is Zimmerman's best friend in baseball and vice versa; I think they grew up in the same area in Virginia?
   13. formerly dp Posted: January 16, 2008 at 02:59 AM (#2669360)
Wright's speed does add some value, doesn't it? 34-5 last year...

His ceiling is higher, and he's given every indication that he will realize his potential.

Zimmerman, I just don't see him being better than Wright unless Wright takes a huge step backward defensively. But Wright improved with the glove last year, and Zimmerman regressed with the bat. Wright will be the superior hitter and baserunner, the question is just how much weight you put on whatever defensive metric you use, and how much credit it gives Zimmerman over Wright.

This is a pretty uninteresting list though, to be honest. Nothing insightful really...

My "breakout candidate" would be Lasting Milledge, which stings way more than whatever difference there winds up being between Wright and Zimmerman...
   14. billyshears Posted: January 16, 2008 at 03:50 AM (#2669379)
I think Sheehan is parsing the numbers a little to closely and finding significance where there likely isn't any.
   15. aberg Posted: January 16, 2008 at 03:56 AM (#2669382)
I have heard that Zimmerman, Wright, the Uptons, and Mike Cuddyer all socialize and train together in Virginia. That's a pretty good cadre of young talent.

I put very little stake into this list. Sheehan is a pretty smart guy and knows a good deal about baseball, but this survey is quite unscientific and arbitrary. Many of the stats he cherry picks (like Kubel's K rate or Navarro's K/BBs) don't even support his analysis. Nonetheless, I was somehow happy to see Kubel on the list because I keep hoping he will bounce back to what I expected him to be.

If we're just going by intuition, I would like to add Tim Lincecum, Jeremy Hermida, and Austin Kearns to the list of players who I randomly assert will break out.
   16. 1k5v3L Posted: January 16, 2008 at 04:14 AM (#2669391)
I have heard that Zimmerman, Wright, the Uptons, and Mike Cuddyer all socialize and train together in Virginia. That's a pretty good cadre of young talent.


And Mark Reynolds. If you consider him "young talent", of course.
   17. AJMcCringleberry Posted: January 16, 2008 at 04:39 AM (#2669398)
Zimmerman will be a better player than Wright in 2008.

No.
   18. Howie Menckel Posted: January 16, 2008 at 04:55 AM (#2669404)
"If we're just going by intuition, I would like to add Tim Lincecum, Jeremy Hermida, and Austin Kearns to the list of players who I randomly assert will break out."

well, I RTFA article and noticed this:
"There are players such as Billy Butler, Philip Hughes and Tim Lincecum who I expect to have strong ’08 seasons, but who don’t have enough career preceding them to fairly call them breakout candidates. There are players such as Dustin McGowan, Jeremy Hermida and Corey Hart who I’m bullish on, but who can fairly be said to have broken out in ’07."

That leaves you Kearns.
:)
   19. Esoteric Posted: January 16, 2008 at 05:21 AM (#2669415)
I hope everyone's predictions here are correct. Because that would mean the Nationals have three breakout talents in their starting lineup in Zimmerman, Milledge, and Kearns.

For the record, I think Kearns is a great candidate for a 2008 breakout. No Nationals hitter was more damaged by RFK's dimensions than Kearns. His HR numbers are going to rise precipitously barring injury, if I'm any judge of these things.
   20. Rich Rifkin I Posted: January 16, 2008 at 06:12 AM (#2669435)
"I went looking for players who have been in the league for two-to-three years, are young enough to have development left, and have established a certain level of performance."

I'm not sure how Dan Johnson fits this bill. He turned 28 last August. He hasn't shown any trend of upward production since his rookie year. He has had (like so many A's) some health issues. The only reasons to believe he'll be markedly better in 2008 are that agewise he's now in his prime and he's coming off a disappointing season, so there's room to bounce back. The bigger problem for Johnson will be the presence of Jack Cust and Daric Barton on the A's roster. I assume Barton will play every day. So when Cust is the DH, there's no place for Johnson. Frankly, if Johnson gets off to a poor start, he might end up in Sacramento, rather than being a "breakout player" in Oakland, as Joe Sheehan predicts.
   21. Snowboy Posted: January 16, 2008 at 10:08 AM (#2669459)
Dan Johnson fits in this list because of a criteria Sheehan seems to use, even if he doesn't define it. I will define it as "former highly-touted prospects who were lost-like-lambs-in-the-woods for some part of 2007" and Sheehan is betting on a spectacular recovery. Namely Dan Johnson, Kubel, E.Santana, Navarro, Rickie Weeks, etc.

(unfortunately, Tribe fans, I don't see Marte or Barfield on the list)
   22. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: January 16, 2008 at 02:53 PM (#2669520)
No.


Yes.
   23. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 16, 2008 at 03:01 PM (#2669524)
I notice a good many folks at BPro are jumping on the Weeks Express.

I am hopeful of a season that is a vague replica of a Rickey Henderson campaign. Not as many steals obviously but decent average, lots of walks, great stolen base percentage and oodles of runs scored.

Now if Rickie can just start speaking like Rickey then we will really have something!
   24. JPWF13 Posted: January 16, 2008 at 03:17 PM (#2669534)
WRT Frenchie-
I think he's approaching a make or break year
does he:

Stay where he is and basically becomes Joe Carter - ie an overrated RBI man; or

break out like some are predicting...

For his career he has hit .332/.381/.535 with RISP (472 PAs)
and .265/.296/.435 with bases empty (915 PAs)

Given the # of PAs those are pretty extreme splits and leaves open the possibility that his approach or concentration is all wrong when no one is on base- which obviously could be easily rectified- OR

Most pitchers change their approach when men are on- and in this case it is helping Frenchy- better scouting will eviserate his production- and instead of breaking out- or becoming Joe Carter he'll follow the Cory Snider career path
   25. John Lynch Posted: January 16, 2008 at 03:23 PM (#2669541)
I think Sheehan is parsing the numbers a little to closely and finding significance where there likely isn't any.

I put very little stake into this list. Sheehan is a pretty smart guy and knows a good deal about baseball, but this survey is quite unscientific and arbitrary. Many of the stats he cherry picks (like Kubel's K rate or Navarro's K/BBs) don't even support his analysis. Nonetheless, I was somehow happy to see Kubel on the list because I keep hoping he will bounce back to what I expected him to be.

Yeah, this is how I see Sheehan's thought process:
1) It's January.
2) The Hall of Fame voting is over.
3) The free agent rush is over.
4) Steroid columns suck.
5) Santana columns suck.
6) What the hell? Why don't I just write about guys I arbitrarily think will break out. It's more interesting than that other junk anyway.

In other words, while I do think he's reading too much into things (especially the Melky prediction, as much as I like the kid), I'm not going to bust his balls for writing this column. Especially at this time of year, I enjoy reading articles about what folks see for various players, even if it's not a rigorous scientific study.
   26. Cowboy Popup Posted: January 16, 2008 at 03:30 PM (#2669547)
Especially at this time of year, I enjoy reading articles about what folks see for various players, even if it's not a rigorous scientific study.

Word.

If Melky gets 80 XBHs next year, I am going to be unbearable. I just wanted to put you all on notice.
   27. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 16, 2008 at 03:35 PM (#2669557)
I agree with free safety John Lynch. Its not the most scientific article, but a fun read and much better than the most popular topics at BTF...
   28. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 16, 2008 at 03:36 PM (#2669558)
If Melky gets 80 XBHs next year, I am going to be unbearable.

Moreso than normal?
   29. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 16, 2008 at 03:38 PM (#2669560)
The bigger problem for [Dan] Johnson will be the presence of Jack Cust and Daric Barton on the A's roster. I assume Barton will play every day. So when Cust is the DH, there's no place for Johnson. Frankly, if Johnson gets off to a poor start, he might end up in Sacramento, rather than being a "breakout player" in Oakland, as Joe Sheehan predicts.

Well, it is possible to put Cust in RF (over Brown and Sweeney), Barton at 1B and DJ at DH, and I expect this to be the alignment vs righties until Gonzalez is ready for prime time or DJ is traded. Also DJ is out of options and so is more likely to end up with another organization than in Sacramento. Sheehan did say that he's more likely to break out in another home park.
   30. Chris Dial Posted: January 16, 2008 at 03:59 PM (#2669586)
Wright is a mediocre defender at a critical position

A critical position? Is he the SS now?
   31. Cowboy Popup Posted: January 16, 2008 at 04:09 PM (#2669598)
Moreso than normal?

Way more.
   32. aleskel Posted: January 16, 2008 at 04:16 PM (#2669603)
Um, Melky will have an 80 xbh season soon...ok.

yeah, wow, that's the most bullish assessment I've seen of Melky yet. I mean, I'm as big a Melky fan as there is, but never even in my most private moments have I expected him to be more than an above-average fielder and slightly-above-average hitter. But hey, I'll be glad to be proven wrong.
   33. Famous Original Joe C Posted: January 16, 2008 at 04:18 PM (#2669606)
If Melky gets 80 XBHs next year, I am going to be unbearable. I just wanted to put you all on notice.

Considering a) you'll be occasionally unbearable anyway and b) the chances of Melky coming up with, say, 40 doubles, 10 tripes, and 30 home runs next year are roughly equivalent to the chances Wang will win 28 games, I'm not going to lose sleep.
   34. Santanaland Diaries Posted: January 16, 2008 at 04:34 PM (#2669625)
If Melky gets 80 XBHs next year, I am going to be unbearable. I just wanted to put you all on notice.


What if he gets those 80 XBH for the Twins?
   35. Cowboy Popup Posted: January 16, 2008 at 05:04 PM (#2669667)
What if he gets those 80 XBH for the Twins?

Cue Charlie Brown Christmas music, walk around with my head down.

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