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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Schulman: Brandon Hicks’ numbers are a mixed bag

Hicks: Walkin’/Sluggin’ One And Only.

In 1970, Bobby Bonds hit .302, walked 77 times and had an OPS-plus of 135, yet people homed in on his league-leading 189 strikeouts. Fed up, he said, “I’ll give you 200 hits. How I make my outs is my business.”

Brandon Hicks smiled at the story. Hicks has hit six home runs with a 122 OPS-plus - a measure that combines on-base and slugging percentages on a scale in which league average is 100 - from the seventh and eighth spots in the order. Yet he gets a lot of questions about his strikeouts, which have been his bane and a big reason behind his inability to stick in the majors.

Hicks tied Thursday night’s game with a seventh-inning homer off Josh Beckett and struck out in his other three at-bats, giving him 33 in 104 plate appearances and a slash line of .193/.311/.443 - that’s batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

Afterward, manager Bruce Bochy said he did not care about the worst of those numbers.

“You’ve heard me say I’m not big on batting average,” Bochy said. “I believe like a lot of baseball people believe it’s overrated. It’s on-base and slugging percentage. Sometimes you give up a little to do some damage.”

Repoz Posted: May 10, 2014 at 06:59 AM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants, sabermetrics

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   1. boteman Posted: May 10, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4703982)
The Giants have quite a good start on their collection of Brandons, although they broke the finger of one of them the other night. Maybe they can find a repair shop around L.A. somewhere.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: May 10, 2014 at 07:24 PM (#4704228)
Maybe they can find a repair shop around L.A. somewhere.

Or find out what Brandon Wood is doing.

I believe like a lot of baseball people believe it’s overrated. It’s on-base and slugging percentage

And they'd be wrong.

Where exactly do people think OBP and SLG come from? To think of them as separate entities from BA is absurd. BA comprises about 75% of lgOBP, about 65% of lgSLG. BA (or H/PA) varies more from player to player than walk rate or ISO (or XB/PA).

A guy like Hicks can get along so long as he mashes the ball when he hits it.

In baseball history, there have been 65 qualifying seasons with a BA of 250 or less and ISO>BA. There are 5 guys doing it this year. Of the 63 full seasons, 4 have had a BA < 200: Uggla 2013, Pena and Reynolds 2010, Deer 1991. The best OPS+ in that bunch was Pena at 103 -- which would be fine at 2B of course.

There have been 4 guys who've done this for a career of 3000+ PA -- Dunn, Kingman, Branyan and Deer. Again, more than acceptable at 2B.

Hicks 2014 is extreme in another way -- on-contact his BA is a quite low 310 while his SLG is a high 710. I don't think I've ever seen that sort of combination before. For his "career" it's 283/631 which is still pretty extreme -- that's got to be one of the lowest on-contact BAs outside of 70s SS and backup Cs but it's only 200 PA.

I'm guessing he'll end the season more in the range of Uggla 2012-2013.
   3. tshipman Posted: May 10, 2014 at 07:30 PM (#4704233)
Brandon Hicks is 28 years old, and has had more PAs this year than the rest of his career combined. He is probably the Giants' second or third choice at 2B.

They wanted Scutaro, but he's hurt. They wanted Adrianza to step in, but his bat isn't ready. So they have Hicks. I don't think anyone thinks he can be a star, they just hope he's not a gaping hole.
   4. SoCalDemon Posted: May 12, 2014 at 09:38 AM (#4704827)
ALthough its not a qualifying season, I thought McGwire in 2001 would qualify, with his .187/.316/.492, but that was only good for a 105 OPS+. The High Coefficient of Restitution Era really was a weird time.

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