Friday, January 02, 2009

Players of the day: Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa

1382 career homeruns between them (counting postseason), both players are over 40 and didn't play a game last year.

Sosa doesn't have a lot to offer a major league team. He might be OK as a platoon DH against only left-handed pitching, but that is such a limited role that I doubt a team would have use for him, and there are plenty of players who can fill that role.

Bonds likely still has the ability to help a team, or at least did last year. But a one year layoff at his age, combined with hip surgery, makes him a real longshot. That doesn't even consider that he'll be facing perjury charges at some point.

But what the hey, let's see what projections for these two look like.

Barry Bonds still projects as one of the best hitters in the game. Due to age, CHONE doesn't think he'll hit for average anymore, but he still has enough power and walks that he'd be worth 9-11 million to a team as a DH if he was healthy enough to play, and a team was willing to break the collusion and give him a job.

Sammy Sosa, one the other hand, is done. Stick a fork in him. He was OK at age 38, playing in one of the better hitter's parks in the game. But being essentially a league average hitter as a DH is not a recipe for continued employment, you expect more from that from somebody who doesn't have to field. Two years of aging make it very unlikely that Sosa can play acceptable baseball again.

I'm not hesitant to project players who have missed a year, because when I've done it in the past my system has done so reliably. In January 2007, I had Sosa pegged as a 241/313/424 line. He then hit 252/311/468 - very close on the BA/OBP, and not a terrible projection for slugging.

But in these two cases it's academic, I don't expect either to play MLB in 2009.

20 Comments:

At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Sosa could still be a vs. LHP platoon DH, but really how valuable is that?

What line would you project him at just vs. LHP?

 
At 11:47 PM, Blogger Chone Smith said...

My system isn't set up to do that, but what I'd suggest is just take his typical career platoon splits, and prorate them to his current projection.

 
At 9:40 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Help me out here. Say you're an owner or GM of a team that could have benefitted from Barry Bonds in 2008. You could have used a DH real bad, and you weren't at all worried about the bad press.

Why would you collude? It makes no sense. If the other GMs came up to me and told me they were all going to agree not to offer him a contract, I'd say thanks fellas. I'll enjoy that .400 OBP for the league minimum.

Is it peer pressure? That's honestly the only reason I can think of as to why a GM that needed Bonds would agree to go against his team's best interests.

 
At 4:21 PM, Anonymous giantsrainman said...

Mike, GMs do whatever their owners tell them to do. If thier owners tell them they don't want Barry Bonds on the team no GM will not sign him and piss off his own owner. It is the owners (not the GMs) that are doing the colluding. I suspect the owners that might be willing to break the collusion are keep in line by implied threats from 'the used car saleman" that he will make things difficult for them and thier teams if they sign Bonds.

 
At 4:23 PM, Anonymous giantsrainman said...

Chone, would you include Barry Bonds in your outfield defense projections? I am wondering how bad they would project his defense to be.

 
At 7:05 PM, Blogger Chone Smith said...

Your guess is as good as mine. His UZR from fangraphs shows -2 runs per 150 games in 2006, and -8 in 2007.

Considering age, knock that down a bit and I would project about -10, so use some figure between the "poor" and "putrid" categories to estimate his value.

 
At 7:22 PM, Anonymous giantsrainman said...

Chone,

If I am understanding you correctly then if both Barry and Manny played 150 games in LF you would project them to be virtually equal in 2009? Manny +35 Offense -15 Defense = +20 Overall vs Barry +29 Offense -10 Defense = +19 Overall.

As a Giants and Bonds Fan I am both suprised and pleased by this. Of course one must also take into account that Manny is actually likely to play near 150 games in 2009 (you project 135) while Barry will struggle to play more then 100 (you project 106). That said, it seems to me that Barry for 1 year at even $10M is a way better deal then Manny for 2 years plus at $20M/yr +.

 
At 7:31 AM, Anonymous Chone said...

You've sold me. Barry would be an even better deal at 1 year and league minimum, which he offered to play at last season.

Now if only you can convince the Giants. Really, first place is theirs for the taking. A great staff, Winn, Lewis, and Renteria making a good top of the order. All they need is a big bat of their former hero.

Ideally, he'd volunteer to shift to 1B, fill that hole and keep the rangy outfield intact.

 
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At 7:09 AM, Anonymous JacqueZFqZ said...

Mike, GMs do whatever their owners tell them to do. If thier owners tell them they don't want Barry Bonds on the team no GM will not sign him and piss off his own owner. It is the owners (not the GMs) that are doing the colluding. I suspect the owners that might be willing to break the collusion are keep in line by implied threats from 'the used car saleman" that he will make things difficult for them and thier teams if they sign Bonds.
 

 

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