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Friday, August 17, 2012

Eric Chavez Reborn in New York

This year, Chavez is putting up a .303/.362/.547 (139 wRC+) season in 224 plate appearances with the Yankees. He’s been a more-than-able replacement for Alex Rodriguez, and he’s been a surprisingly big reason why the Yankees have been able to pull away from the pack in the AL East.

Chavez’s 139 wRC+ is the best season of his career; he ranged from 123 to 133 in his four-year peak from 2001 to 2004. Chavez is hitting for as much power as ever (.244 ISO, second to a .252 mark in 2001) and he’s striking out just 15.6% of the time.

A quick look at one of the better comeback stories of the year.

Cowboy Popup Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:28 PM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, lost bets, resurrection, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. dr. scott Posted: August 17, 2012 at 06:04 PM (#4210976)
Is this the first year since 2005 that he's been healthy? Looks like it from a list of games played and his numbers. I love that in 2009 he has a -30 OPS+ (31 PA). Im not sure what that might mean.

Probably that he did not play much, and was lousy.
   2. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 17, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4210987)
He looks significantly better than A-Rod in the field and at the plate this year.
   3. GEB4000 Posted: August 17, 2012 at 06:16 PM (#4210992)
It's a great story until he gets injured again. I hope they aren't playing him too hard.
   4. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 17, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4211004)
Is this the first year since 2005 that he's been healthy? Looks like it from a list of games played and his numbers.

Yes. The A's were going to keep running him out there unless he could not play at all, and he pretty much could not.

He was darn good when he was healthy, though. He always seemed like a good guy, very easy to root for him.
   5. Willie Mayspedester Posted: August 17, 2012 at 06:27 PM (#4211009)
Is he training with Josh Hamilton in the offseason?
   6. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 17, 2012 at 06:35 PM (#4211017)
He looks significantly better than A-Rod in the field and at the plate this year.


If he picks up a couple of MVP votes for the superlative fill-in job for A-Rod, he may very well take over the all-time lead for most seasons with MVP votes without ever making an all-star team. He currently has four such seasons, same as Gibson. I'm not aware of anyone with more.

   7. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2012 at 06:45 PM (#4211029)
It's great to see him bounce back. Of course three (pretty obvious and boring) reasons not to put anything into this "best season of his career" thing. First, it's just 224 PAs -- it's not a "season" it's a hot streak. Second, about 90% of his PAs have come against righties. Except for 1-2 seasons, he always struggled against LHP and this year (just 24 PA) he's 143/167/143. He's hitting 320/383/591(!) against RHP which is better but similar to his 2000-2003 numbers. Third, his defense ain't what it used to be so even if it's his best hitting season, it's not his best season (even on a rate basis).

But he's had a damn find 225 PA and it's good to see.

Various Yank updates:

Jeter poking along at a 110 OPS+ -- that guy really annoys me.
Ichiro's NY numbers now 312/338/442 for a 107 OPS+
Ibanez has popped back up to a 106
Kuroda has a 138 ERA+

In fact pretty much the entire team's OPS+s look scary to a pitcher. Overall they are at 112, basically an entire team hitting as an average 1B.
   8. Srul Itza Posted: August 17, 2012 at 06:59 PM (#4211042)
It's the pinstripes.
   9. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 17, 2012 at 07:01 PM (#4211044)
Despite having been washed up for the past four years, Chavez is still two and a half years younger than The Rod. It would certainly be inspiring if he gets some sort of accolade in addition to the inevitable (?) comeback player award. Or finally makes an All-Star team next year after The Rod is traded to the Dodgers.
   10. steagles Posted: August 17, 2012 at 07:16 PM (#4211060)
..::..

park effects.


*edit* actually, looking at his splits on B-ref, platoon advantage seems like a much more signifcant reason for his resurgence.

carry on.
   11. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: August 17, 2012 at 07:23 PM (#4211066)
ARod's triple slash vs RHP's this year is .275/.346/.425; .277/.382/.500 vs LHP's. So the obvious answer when he returns is a platoon, right?
   12. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 17, 2012 at 07:52 PM (#4211079)
They're going to give Rod as many ABs as possible going into the playoffs. I think a lot of lineups will feature both of them (if Chavez is healthy).
   13. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 17, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4211081)
As STEAGLES points out, Chavez rarely ever faces lefties, which has the nice side benefit of allowing him to rest
   14. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 17, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4211086)
What a shocker, old players are being inexplicably good for the Yankees. This has never happened before.
   15. cardsfanboy Posted: August 17, 2012 at 08:10 PM (#4211097)
About 8 years ago there was talk about Chavez being on a hof path, then his career derailed, he's 34 years old this season, and is looking somewhat like his old self. If he can go out and post another 4 seasons like this over the next 6 years, does he re-enter the hof discussion? By war he has 34 career to date, and usually 50 is where people start getting into the debate.(with Jack Morris as a notable exception) He's not putting up a lot of pa's right now and that is helping make him look good along with platooning( .974 ops vs righties, .310 vs lefties-only 24pa) but there has to be several team execs out there saying he's again worth giving a starting job to.
   16. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 17, 2012 at 08:27 PM (#4211113)
Can't see it:
third base is always weird for Hall voters;
whatever he might do now, his peak is definitely behind him;
his peak was very good but not THAT good (or that long);
unless he pulls some kind of AMAZING season out, he's just adding hang-around value. Which isn't nothing, but I can't see it helping a Hall of Fame case much.
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: August 17, 2012 at 08:39 PM (#4211119)
third base is always weird for Hall voters;


I don't go by the hof voters, just talking about the possibility of him being in the debate. I agree with the rest of the post, It would require at least two MVP worthy seasons to really get his name back in the ring. I was thinking he had the chance of maybe doing a Dave Parker renaissance but Parker never really had the dip that Chavez had, and his bounce back years weren't really anything other than filler.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2012 at 08:45 PM (#4211132)
As STEAGLES points out, Chavez rarely ever faces lefties,

Am I ivisible? Or do you folks just have enough sense to ignore me? :-)
   19. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 17, 2012 at 08:58 PM (#4211138)
Am I ivisible? Or do you folks just have enough sense to ignore me? :-)
Did anyone hear that?
   20. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: August 17, 2012 at 08:59 PM (#4211139)
Chavez is not going to be in any HOF discussions beyond the one going on here.

His good season this year is primarily attributable to never facing lefties. I would have thought this would have been pointed out by now.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2012 at 09:00 PM (#4211141)
If he can go out and post another 4 seasons like this over the next 6 years, does he re-enter the hof discussion?

Well, Lenny Harris was in the discussion. :-)

4 3B (at least 50% at 3B) have amassed 16+ WAR from age 35 onwards:

Chipper 24
Boggs 18
Lave Cross 18
Schmidt 18

Cross (1901-1907) aside, Chavez was never as good (and especially never as good a hitter) as Chipper, Boggs or Schmidt. (For those who want to add Brett who played no 3B at those ages, he only added 10 WAR)

And given he could never hit LHP when he was younger, it's hard to see him adding that skill as he ages. Nettles (11 WAR) or possibly Stan Hack (10 WAR but he last played at 37) or, ignoring handedness, Gaetti (10 WAR) might be more realistic upsides.

Basically he was an LHB version of Rolen who got injured even worse/more often than Rolen. I'm not optimistic about Rolen's HoF chances so, even with a late career surge, I don't think Chavez has a chance.

From an HoM perspective, I think Rolen will sail in but Chavez has a long way to go even to catch up to Cey and Ventura much less Nettle, Bando and Bell. He'd probably have to add 25 WAR to have a decent chance there.
   22.     Hey Gurl Posted: August 17, 2012 at 09:00 PM (#4211142)
Am I ivisible? Or do you folks just have enough sense to ignore me? :-)


You need to learn about tl;dr :)
   23. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2012 at 09:04 PM (#4211147)
Speaking of him facing lefties :-) ... I don't want to overplay that. His rate stats are "inflated" by never facing lefties but he is smacking RHP as well or better than he did in his prime. It's too small of a sample obviously but it would be very impressive if, after all those owies, he is all the way back as a hitter.
   24. Karl from NY Posted: August 17, 2012 at 09:13 PM (#4211154)
What a shocker, old players are being inexplicably good for the Yankees. This has never happened before.

Ya gotta wonder. Is there something that the organization or facilities does for these players, that could be picked up as a market inefficiency by other teams? Or is it just that the Yankees tend to acquire a lot of old players, with the same rate results as other teams, and we only notice the successes?
   25. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2012 at 09:35 PM (#4211159)
Just for kicks and partly inspired by this and a recent conversation with a friend about Johnny Pesky, here are my 5000-6000 career PA all-stars (4000-5000 PA for Cs). Given short careers, I've put the playing time restrition at 75% of games at a position. I'm giving extra points for cliff-diving:

C: Spud Davis (26 WAR). Mauer is still playing and Campy is too good for this team. The real pick should be Tom Haller but c'mon, it's Spud Davis.

1B: Hal Trosky (28 WAR, team captain). Kinda irresistible. Trosky often shows up in the comp list of young players having great starts. There are a couple guys I don't know ahead of him but he goes here.

2B: Eddie Stanky (38 WAR). Clearly an early roid user. He only got a shot because of the war, debuting in 1943 at the age of 27. However, that's not really where his WAR total comes from -- 1946 to 1951 (ages 30-35) he put up 30 WAR. Also strange for that era in that he played for 5 different teams.

3B: Ken McMullen (31 WAR). A tough one. Technically David Wright but he's presumably gonna cruise way past the 6000 PA mark. Chavez is at 5800 PA so he'll probably get past it too. There are a couple of early 1900s guys but I don't know them while I do vaguely remember McMullen. I don't remember him being this good but there you have it.

SS: Johnny Logan (30 WAR). Now this is interesting. Obviously good SS just keep going somehow. Tossing aside Freddie Parent (from 1901 with some earlier and later "minor" league play I'm not qualified to judge) there is no 30 WAR SS in this PA range. Reyes is here but he'll pass 6000 PA soon enough. I don't find anybody I really know until Burleson at 21 with Jack Wilson, Jeff Blauser and Jhonny Peralta making top 10 appearances. Logan takes it by default but is at least a post-integration NL player.

LF: Lonnie Smith (36 WAR). Shoeless Joe is much too good for this team, Fred Clarke is a boring deadball guy and Ken Williams isn't the GM; and Holliday is going to ease by 6000 PA. This is a boring good but not great team, we need some entertainment and Smith is irresistible.

CF: Lenny Dykstra (41 WAR). You have no idea how much I hate putting him on the team especially with a personal fave of Dwayne Murphy in 2nd place on the WAR list. But Dykstra beats Murphy by 10 WAR.

RF: Jesse Barfield (37 WAR). If nothing else, it will be kinda fun to watch everybody run on Lonnie's arm while screeching to a halt rounding second on singles to RF.



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