The results are. Fans voting on a player based on stats only to take Michael Bourn’s place in the Braves outfield chose Michael Brantley, currently of the Cleveland Indians. Here are the final results for each player.
Breaking It Down
I suspect if the names had been on view the results would have been decidedly different. In fact I doubt Brantley or Revere would have been on anyone’s list. Most fans assume that the big names are the best players and right now Pagan and Upton are in the news a lot so I suspect they would have one and two in voting based on my read of Twitter Critter and talk show voices. If age had been a visible factor it would certainly have had an effect but it would also have made identification easier and I wanted to avoid that. I left Josh Hamilton off the list because unlike our new writer Rob Konis who opined that Hamilton was worth the risk, I think he’s a broken ballplayer and any team who pays a huge salary for him will regret it in two years or less. Besides, he’s just not a “Braves” kind of player and I don’t want him at any price he’s likely to accept. Check out Rob’s piece and decide for yourself. When you look at the numbers of the folks on my list without preconceived ideas Brantley was a clearly the best.
The 25 year old (26 in May) Brantley was a seventh round draft pick of the Brewers in 2005. He was traded to the Indians in the CC Sabathia deal. He made his debut with the Tribe in September 2009 and became their regular center fielder in 2012. In his four years the left handed hitting Brantley he has very good numbers all around.
His counting stats are good too.
He has good splits too
Why would the Indians consider trading him? With Terry Francona taking over they really need to rebuild the club and that starts with pitching. As a medium to small market team they have to do that with a small payroll. I suspect they will eventually give Francona a bump from the $65.4M they had last year but since 2002 they’ve broken $80M once and that was in 2009 before Cliff Lee left. They were 28th in team pitching last year and need to improve that. They need pitchers who they can control and have to build for the future. By the time they’re ready to contend Brantley will be a free agent. They have Tim Fedroff beating AAA to death and ready to try his hand in the bigs so something like Tommy Hanson + Eric Cordier + Joey Terdoslavich might well convince them to part with him but I think he’s available.
There’s not much to say about Pagan that folks don’t already know. Pagan is said to be looking for a multiyear deal and if he could be signed for three years with options might be worth a look. The problem is he fits for the Reds as well and of course the Giants will make an offer too and while the Reds have limited salary space the Giants can afford him so he’s going to be closer to four years and $48 million and at 32 years old next year I think is more than he’s worth. Pagan is a late bloomer and the trouble with late blooming everyday players is they start off older than their comparables; he’s a.year older than Bourn, seven older than Brantley and four older than third place option Denard Span.
There’s a lot of talk theat the Twins will make Denard Span available this year and for good reason; they are in rebuilding mode and Span has a progressively more expensive contract ($4.5M , $6.5M, $9M in 2015) and could land them more than a couple of good prospects. Span’s been in the league a year longer than Brantley.
As leadoff man:
Even though he’s a left handed hitter Span’s splits are better against lefties.
Of the three players Span solves mores needs at once. Without seeing his platoon splits of course there’s no way you could have known that. The Twins know how good Span is which is why they bought out all of his arbitration years early on. They will want pitching (everybody wants pitching) and will have some interesting suitors. I’m not sure the Braves would go for an asking price that included Julio Teheran and perhaps Sean Gilmartin as well as others. The Twins don’t match up well with us traded wise outside of pitching so it’s hard to see what we could do to make it worth their while except perhaps include Christian Bethancourt so that they could also move Joe Mauer and get out from under at least some of his salary.
It may surprise some that the rest incudes Upton and Victorino but it really shouldn’t. Upton has been an average or below player and Victorino’s no longer the switch hitting, speedy center fielder/stolen base threat he was. Upton will get paid too much by someone – I think the Phillies – and disappoint there. If the Giants don’t sign Pagan they may opt for Victorino as a short term fix until Gary Brown is ready. He would fit that ballpark and it would keep him where he wants to be; on the west coast close to Hawaii. Crisp will likely be on the move now that Chris Carter belongs to the A’s but he’s becoming a fourth outfielder rather than a starter. (A side note. Does anyone else think it’s interesting that Moneyball man Billy Beane had the team with the most strikeouts in the AL this year? Oh OBP where have you gone?:) ) DeJesus is on the same slope as Crisp and is also a fourth outfielder these days. That leaves Ben Revere.
Revere is the Twins answer to “who plays center if your trade Span.” At 24 years old (turns during the season) Revere is fast and hits for average if not for power. He sports an 80% steal rate and struck out only 54 times in 553 plate appearances so he putting the bat on the ball 93% of the time. He only walked 29 times so that needs to improve but experience will help in that area. I suspect that he got only 8% of the vote because of his low slugging and ISO. The question is, how important is that? I think it’s way down my list of must have tools for a center fielder particularly if he has Jason Heyward on his left side and Martin Prado or someone equivalent on his right.
Revere’s platoon splits are essentially equal, he puts the ball in play and use his speed to confound pitchers and defenses. Those are important for a leadoff man. Defensive his arm projects as a left fielder but everything else says center. I’m not advocating him as choice one but if he allowed us to use or resources to sign a bigger bat to play left field I suspect he’d be a very good player for the Braves.
That’s A Wrap
I hope you enjoyed looking at players this way. I found the results interesting an many levels. I was particularly interested as my editor told me that after seeing the last three years of data he would have taken player G – Shane Victorino – instead of his first choice (he didn’t say who that was. I wonder if now the he knows it was the Flying Hawaiian he’d take that back? Personally I’m not eager top see Bourn back nor does my excitement grow when the name Pagan is mentioned. I’m not sure why I just don’t believe he’ll last. My preference is for youth, controllability and a contact bat. We have way too many strikeouts in the lineup now and adding a leadoff many with 140 more is a mistake unless other changes are made. With that in mind I’d go with the other voters and put Brantley at the top of my board with Span and Revere below him. Of course a lot depends on what the Braves have in mind for left field/third base. I have an idea about that too. I’ll tell you next time.