Comparing Corey Hart and Gaby Sanchez

On Friday, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed Corey Hart for $2.5 M, with an additional $2.5 M in possible incentives. He will presumably play first base when left-handed pitchers are on the mound, but could also serve as a backup in the outfield. One of the things I noticed in response to the signing was the inevitable comparison to Gaby Sanchez, with some wondering why the Pirates got rid of Sanchez (who was due an estimated $2.7 M) just to sign another platoon option for around the same price.

There are two ways to look at this comparison. First, you’ve got the strict platoon role. Sanchez was coming off a down year against lefties, but has an .863 OPS in his career against left-handers. Hart is also coming off a down year against lefties, and has missed a lot of time due to injuries the last two years. However, he has a career .866 OPS against left-handers. Both players are about the same for their careers.

If I was picking the safer platoon option, I’d go with Sanchez. Both players had a down year in 2014, but the injury issues with Hart provide more of a concern. This isn’t to say that Hart can’t bounce back. It’s just that Sanchez looks like less of a risk, since he hasn’t been plagued by injuries that could be limiting his production, unlike Hart.

What about beyond just the right-handed platoon role at first base? That’s where Hart has an advantage. Sanchez has a career .691 OPS against right-handers. Hart has a career .788 OPS. This gives Hart a potential upgrade in a few areas.

First, it means that if Pedro Alvarez struggles or goes down with an injury, Hart is a much better option to be a full-time starter at first base than Sanchez. There’s also the additional positions that each player can play. Sanchez can play third base. Hart can play the outfield. Neither player is a good option at those positions — Sanchez due to defense and Hart due to health. Sanchez playing third base means that he’s either batting against a right-hander, or Alvarez is at first against a lefty. Either way, he’s going to provide a liability at another position. Because Hart can hit right-handers, he could find extra time in the outfield, if needed, while Alvarez is playing first. That means he actually has value at another position.

Both of these still come with the big disclaimer that Hart is injury prone, and that there is no guarantee he will be healthy and productive this year. By comparison, there is less risk with Sanchez, but there is no upside against right-handers. Even if he plays up to his career numbers, he isn’t a guy who should be batting against right-handed pitching.

Sanchez represents a lower risk than Hart, but he also comes with a lower potential reward. Hart is a bigger risk due to his injuries. If he can get healthy, then he has a much bigger upside, due to the fact that he can hit right-handers, and also wouldn’t provide a liability on the field if he was playing another position other than first base. I don’t know if this is what the Pirates were thinking when they non-tendered Sanchez (who is now going to Japan for $2.15 M) and went with Hart. But by the looks of each player, they’re going for the higher risk/higher reward option, rather than just playing it safe and going for someone who is strictly a lefty platoon option.

Analysis

  • Well, as we like to say in the Asylum, “time will tell” on Hart. Maybe he took a physical already and passed. Maybe the knees hold up and he rebounds. Or maybe, the knees don’t hold up and we find out that last year was telling.

    Home & Road splits and all the other Sabr stuff, which I normally love, to me is irrelevant at this point. Power hitters need their legs. If he has his legs, he might be decent, but having not played for two years may drag him down, too. Can he play defense (I’m not even considering the OF at this stage of his career)? At least Gaby was (supposedly) decent at 1b.

    I fully realize I am in the minority on Hart, but he was the LAST RH 1b I would’ve signed. Mayberry and even Gaby were ahead of him in my book. Unfortunately, Hart was the last option out there and I think there was a reason he was still out there. I think we got desperate.

    As always, I hope I am wrong. Personally, I hope his OPS approches .900. But I don’t see Hart making it to the All Star break before getting released, a la Overpay and (Cr)Inge.

    • Don’t apologize for being rational!

    • It’s not 100% ideal, but it’s the kink of chances the Pirates need to take. Now if they paid Hart like he was a .270 batter with 30 HR’s and gave him a 14 million contract that would be crazy. That’s the kind of thing Littlefield did. He would sign players in the hope they would rebound at their best rate and they would be the main option as a starter.

      • Littlefield is responsible for McCutchen and Walker the two best players on this team. He also did not have the money to sign top draft picks and had to settle for lower grade players than Huntington had and has to. McClachy had more to do with Littlefields failure than he did. Huntington has done a marvelous job, but he has had more resources.

        • That’s just false.

          Littlefield CHOSE to spend his limited resources on guys like Derek Bell and Matt Morris instead of Matt Weiters and other draft picks. He had money.

          It was a conscious decision of where to use his resources, and it was terribly stupid.

          • This is how Littlefield got known for producing a AAAA team: Littlefield repeatedly asked for lower-ceiling “Major League ready” prospects in trade returns. As a result, when he left, the Pirates had a plethora of mid-to-late 20s, borderline Major Leaguers, and very few young, impact prospects within the system. This strategy runs contrary to that of successful low-payroll teams like the A’s, Twins, and Marlins. Littlefield was also criticized for drafting players that were perceived to be more signable than talented.

        • Littlefield was a terrible talent evaluator. He had to be convinced to draft McCutchen, and I know that from first hand information at that time. So don’t be giving him any credit for that. McClatchy also was sold the Matt Morris deal by his then GM…..Dave Littlefield. And I know that from first hand information also. So I don’t want to hear or see any excuses for that guy. He might be a credible cross checker, but that’s about it.

    • The Pirates signed Hart as a better RH pinch hitting option than Gabby, not as a platoon option at 1B (though he will play there some).

  • What’s all this talk about a 33 year old not having much in his tank. He had a great year when he was just 31. That’s almost the same age as Martin and everyone was pretty comfortable signing him 4 years. Maybe Hart is doing pilates now and we don’t know it.

  • Gotta think the pirates gave him a physical before signing him. He got a lot of rest last year so here is to hoping he goes out playing for the big contract

    • Lots of teams out there wanted some RH Power at 1b, including his old team, the Brewers (AND Mariners), yet they passed on him.

      • The Brewers are still looking – they had Overbay (Free agent), Matt Clark, and Hunter Morris as left handed hitting first basemen. They also have Jason Rogers as a right handed hitting 1B. Rogers was a September call up last year – 1 hit in 9 AB’s.

        Seattle has Logan Morrison and Ji-Man Choi as left hand batting 1B. They have no right hand hitting first baseman. Morrison had reversed splits last year (.694 OPS vs righties, .846 OPS vs. lefties).

        Is Ryan Braun the Brewers starting 1B next year if Overbay signs elsewhere? Gomez, Khris Davis, and either Parra / Schafer become their starting outfielders.

  • Have to believe Pirates medical staff had a chance to see Hart’s files, X-rays, etc. before they signed him. There must be a comfort level of Hart’s physical status or they wouldn’t have signed him, right?

    Given he is not a significantly higher injury risk than other 33-year old players, he is an upgrade over Gaby.

  • Gaby’s numbers were so bad against righties that opposing teams would counter with a righty when he was brought in to hit in key situations.

    • and yet he had a .814 OPS as a PHer… the real problem was the subsequent ABs after PHing late in games…1 for 22

      • Without Ike/Gaby the Bucs won’t need to PH for position players quite as often. When Ike or Gaby started they would always need to sub one for the other in the later innings. This put the Pirates in a bind the rest of the game or if it went into extra innings.

        • So, they’re not gonna PH for Pedro later in the ballgame when a LH RP is brought in? Even Tabata has better ISO numbers than Pedro vs LHPs.

          • Hurdle rarely PH for Pedro before, I don;t think he will start now. Usually they get back to a righty closer. Either way, this is why I don’t really like the idea players with such drastic splits. The 2 players on the opposite end of the split don’t make 1 superstar.

  • So when the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles’ fans start calling him Gaby San, will they mean Mister or just be following the American nicknaming convention?

  • It’s impossible to speculate too much right now, but one thing to keep in mind is that IF Hart reaches his upside or possibly even if he just plays a lot, you can probably figure they won’t be paying him $2.5m, they’ll be paying him $5m.

    Maybe $5m isn’t a lot of money for the Pirates anymore, I don’t know, but I have a little bit of trouble seeing enough left in the tank to warrant that kind of risk, relative to other options.

    Realistically, how much more can you really expect out of 33 yo Corey Hart compared to 28 yo Kyle Blanks? Blanks didn’t even require a Major League deal.

    • Well, the only way he reaches 5 million is if he is playing well enough and healthy enough to get substantial playing time. So, at the point he reaches 5 million it likely isnt bad value since he did something well enough to skip over Pedro.

      • Or Pedro gets hurt. Or Pedro doesn’t perform.

        Like I said, I don’t wan’t to speculate too much until the exact nature of the incentives are known. But for a guy with injury concerns, it wouldn’t be the first time incentives are heavily tied to playing time – given number of at-bats, for instance – instead of performance – given number of HR, RBI, etc.

        Unless his actual role expands much more than his expected role, I have a hard time thinking of scenarios where he’ll be worth $5m.

        • Overall point being that there appears to have been several other options that could easily match or beat Hart’s production while requiring less money or risk.

          One really has to buy into Hart’s upside to be happy with this, IMO.

          • I dont see several options that are clear to easily do what Hart does against LHP. Honestly, one only has to buy into Hart being healthy to be happy with this, since when healthy he is a very good hitter again LHP. If Pedro gets hurt, they likely bring Lambo up and try to ride a hot hand rather than giving the job to Hart. With his injury history, they are likely to monitor his health close enough that they wont be gifting him any time.

            • You don’t just assume the Corey Hart of the future is going to be as good as the Corey Hart of the past at age 33 after two lost seasons.

              John Mayberry Jr. has hit LHP exactly as well as Hart (130 wRC+), is younger, has two working legs, and isn’t coming off an absolutely atrocious season. He’s also, at a minimum, half as expensive.

              • NMR…Mayberry is who I wanted. I’m betting Hart is gone quickly, a la Inge or Overpay.

        • Or Pedro is traded. With only a season and 2 months at the trading deadline, NH will pull the trigger first chance he gets.

          • Not without a valid replacement, which would mean the FO’s position on Lambo has to be drastically improved from the start of last season. Trading Pedro is a decent idea only if they find adequate return (apparently harder than most guessed at) and feel okay with Lambo or Hart taking over. If Bell performs well this year in the minors, next offseason might be a key time to move Pedro.

    • I have no arument here, I definitely sign Kyle Blanks. You know how the buccos love their veterans though over unproven players. did someone sign blanks yet?

    • And yet many people thought the Pirates should go get Michael Morse with an even more checkered injury history.

      http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/texas-rangers/post/_/id/4915606/rangers-sign-kyle-blanks-to-minor-league-deal

      Rangers signed Blanks to a minor league deal about a week ago.

  • RichardJarzynka
    December 21, 2014 1:26 pm

    While he was with the Brewers, Corey Hart’s OPS vs. left-handed pitchers – away from Miller Park – was .784. He hit just 14 HR in 503 PA. If he bounces back to what he was before his injuries, that is about what the Pirates can expect from Hart.

    • That is abusing split data to the max.

      • RichardJarzynka
        December 21, 2014 4:07 pm

        I left out Hart’s .558 OPS vs. left-handed hitters last season.

        • Yeah, Hart was terrible last year, that’s well documented and I don’t think anyone denies it.

          • RichardJarzynka
            December 21, 2014 4:16 pm

            He has also not been very good away from Milwaukee against left-handed pitchers. Prior to missing the 2013 because of injuries, he had a .784 OPS vs left-handers on the road. That is relevant because he will only be playing 9 games in Milwaukee this year.

            Gaby Sanchez had an .846 OPS vs lefties with the Pirates. He has the same .846 career OPS on the road vs. lefties.

            That tells me that Sanchez was the better platoon option for 1B.

            • RichardJarzynka
              December 21, 2014 4:35 pm

              If Hart’s numbers from last year are included, his career OPS against lefties – away from Miller Park – falls to .743.

              His good numbers during his 9 seasons with the Brewers are largely a product of playing 81 games per year in the hitters’ paradise of Miller Park.

              • I seem to remember most people understanding and accepting this last winter when Hart was one of the 17 marginally crappy first base options the Pirates were entertaining.

                • RichardJarzynka
                  December 21, 2014 4:48 pm

                  I didn’t.

                  Even prior to his injuries, Hart wasn’t close to the same outside of Miller Park. His home batting line as a Brewer was .291/.352/.539 — .891 OPS. His road line was .262/.316/.446 — .762 OPS.

                  And we are now two years – and two knee surgeries – past when he put up even those mediocre numbers outside of Miller Park.

                  • If you dont remember people thinking Hart was an ok option, you werent listening. More than a few people were saying Hart was a decent value sign and saw the only real risk being his health. Forgive some of us if its clear most of the case you make against Hart seems to be a dislike of him in any way as opposed to a dislike of certain parts of his game. Him hitting lesser on the road than at home is also true of many players in baseball, Pirates included. His health should be the main issue, not his play when healthy.

                    • RichardJarzynka
                      December 21, 2014 5:07 pm

                      I didn’t think he was an ok option last year.

                      I do not dislike Hart. I am pointing out the fact that he is not close to the same hitter outside of Miller Park – since he will not be playing 81 games there this year, as he did when he put up good numbers.

                      Based on all of the facts that I have presented, I believe that Gaby Sanchez was a better 1B platoon option than Hart. However, Hart has hit right-handed pitchers better than Sanchez. Though his career OPS against right-handers, away from Miller Park is still under .750.

                      Even if he is healthy and at his best, he is not the hitter who posted an .825 OPS from 2004 through 2012, while playing half his games in Miller Park. Healthy and at his best, his 2004-2012 road line of .762 is what could be expected from him as a Pirate – “IF” he is healthy and at his best after missing 2013 to surgery on both knees and performing poorly in 2014.

                    • I think all of us would be perfectly fine with Hart giving us a .762 OPS this year with 300 PA’s. I’m not sure what you were expecting from a 2.5M signing, but that is a hell of a value with a .762 OPS especially compared to what we had last year

                  • You misunderstood my point. I meant people understood that Hart would be a crappy option due to the home/road splits you reference.

                  • lonleylibertarian
                    December 21, 2014 10:15 pm

                    It isn’t about Hart people – it is about the automatic out that Gaby Sanchez turned into last year.

                    Again – point me to ONE big hit he had that we should celebrate ONE!

                  • If you say you never saw any negative comments regarding a signing of Morales or Hart during the last off season by the Pirates, then you didn’t read even Bob’s blog, which I find hard to believe. And if you heard or read nothing in the rest of the Pirates related blogs and media, you weren’t paying any attention to anything but Sabre numbers. And I find that just as hard to believe.

            • Home-Road splits don’t work like that, you don’t get to just throw out the home data. For one thing, it’s normal to hit better at home than on the road. You should use park-adjusted metrics like wRC+ instead of simply discarding half or more of your data sample.

              For the record: Hart 114 career wRC+/Sanchez 104 career wRC+

              • Okay, using wRC+ Hart has been 32% better on the road than at Miller.

                If you think home/road data is worthless you’re seriously over thinking this.

                • I would say you are under thinking it if you think tossing all home batting data and just looking at road numbers is good analysis.

                  • Who said I’m just looking at road data?

                    • This sub-thread is all about Hart’s road numbers against lefthanded pitchers – roughly 600 of Hart’s 3,800 career plate appearances.

                    • Then maybe I’m talking over Richard’s point.

                      I’m looking at all data – L/R, H/R – and seeing a blatantly obvious correlation between Hart’s power numbers and Miller Park.

                      If he’s shown a sharp drop in power outside Miller part through 2000+ PA, and Miller Park is known as being a bandbox, then there’s absolutely no reason to believe he’ll be better at PNC.

            • Home vs Road splits arent simply due to park, as many players see a favorable split at home vs on the road. You omitted that Hart also happens to have hit very well in PNC overall, so one could easily form an argument that Hart is going from one place he hits well in to another. He will play a lot of games in PNC. Gaby vs. Hart is close.

              • He omitted that Hart hit well at PNC because he’s not dumb enough to buy into small sample sizes.

                • Actually, if you are using home road splits as a large base of an argument, you are using SSS as the split will vary each year and you are simply using past SSS to judge how he will perform going forward. If one is trying to predict future performance, his health matters waaaay more than his home road split 4 years ago. All signs point to a healthy Hart (no pun intended) being a useful option against LHP for 5 million.

                • lonleylibertarian
                  December 21, 2014 10:12 pm

                  Small sample sizes are not always wrong – the just have a high probability of being off – in some cases they are pretty close to being accurate

              • Considering how poorly fielder/casey have done post miller park as well I think Richards point has a lot of validity. . I think this attached to the wrong response. . Sorry lukas

            • The .784 vs lefties doesn’t discount the horrible hitting Sanchez has against righties which he would have continued to face 30%+ of the time. ANy benefit of the downside would be made up by having someone who can hit against righties.

            • lonleylibertarian
              December 21, 2014 10:10 pm

              Sanchez was AWFUIL last year – name one big hit he came up with in a clutch situation – ONE!

              You folks need to chill and get over it – Hart may be better or not – time will tell – but Gaby sucked big time in big
              situations and you need to move on!

            • Which would be relevant if the Pirates were thinking of platooning Alvarez at 1B. They didn’t platoon him at 3B in spite of bad OBP performance vs LHP. Why should you think they will platoon him at 1B? The Pirates will give Pedro occasional rest against tough LHP, that’s all. Hart should be seen as a better PH option off the bench because he hits RHP better than Gabby, not as a full time platoon 1B option. Hart will see some time at 1B, but his major role with the Pirates will be as a pinch hitter.

              • RichardJarzynka
                December 22, 2014 10:09 am

                That would be unfortunate. Hart’s .747 OPS vs. lefties away from Miller Park isn’t great, but it’s far better than Alvarez’s career .588 OPS vs. left-handers.

                • Per Greg7373’s comments above, Pedro still seems to be competent driving in runs against LHP, even though his BA/OPS numbers are deficient. So a good analysis of Pedro should go beyond looking at the obvious numbers.

        • RichardJarzynka
          December 21, 2014 8:04 pm

          The road splits are more indicative of what Hart might do with the Pirates because he spent 9 seasons playing his home games in an extreme hitters’ park; and PNC is more favorable to pitchers than hitters.

          I looked at his numbers on the road against lefties because he is expected to be the right-handed side of the Pirates 1B platoon and, as such, he will start against lefties. Given those numbers, it would be unwise to think Hart will post anything close to his overall (road and home) career .865 OPS against lefties.

          • This is the crucial point, Hart had .050 wOBA home/road split for his career that is a 14% split, league average is around 4% of wOBA. Over that period the wOBA split for Brewers hitters as a team was 5% or .017 points. So yes he benefited more than average.

    • Not true considering he will still be getting a fair amount of time at miller 🙂 plus you’d need to calculate and weigh heavier whatever his lefty OPS is at PNC

  • Not much risk either way you slice it. If hart flops it’s not the end of contending for the pirates. If he finds his former self then the pirates are getting a bonus threat off the bench. Hope sanchez does well in japan and thanks for the time in the burgh.

  • There is another option too. Hart can DH in American Legue Cities. Which in theory adds a power bat as DH.

    Which could lead to

    If Pedro IS doing well at 1B, AND Hart IS hitting well and is healthy(in limited playing time) then the Pirates could flip him to an AL team for pitching or a middle infield prospect

  • Hart’s just going to be nice to have around. Our lefty lineup is scary in the middle after Cutch. Walker is fine in the 4spot vs righties but no chance against lefties. Marte s about to breakout and could become our full time 4 hole hitter, I don’t see any reason why people shouldn’t expect big things from Pedro. He’s not going to hit for average and yes he’s gonna strike out a lot ..YES. But this guy wants a big contract. These next two years I would expect to be his best. His K’s went down last year his OBP went up and he was hitting the ball the other way more. Almost like he was struggling but evolving as a hitter at the same time. He’s gonna really want to rebuild his value and I would not be surprised to see a .245-.250 season with 30-40 HRs and 100-120 RBI. Hart is a nice piece to have in the 5 or 6 hole vs lefties

    • I am very neutral towards Pedro, and I’ve been rooting for him. As i’ve said in posts for the last 6 months now, the league righties have figured out he can’t hit and can’t lay off a changeup. In my opinion, because of that, he’s done. Any pitcher with a change is going to decimate him, and he actually hits sliders and cutters beter than good fastballs, he doesn’t have the batspeed to catch anything over 95 mph. Maybe he spends the offseason working on that, but i doubt it. If he can’t figure out how to throw to first base accurately, my faith in him figuring out how to recognize and lay off changes is very low. This signing gives the Pirates a Plan B, which before today was Andrew Lambo, and while i have no problem with that, I know the Pirates do.

    • I don’t believe Pedro can accumulate those HR and RBI totals if he gives up 100+ PAs against LHPs. He’ll need the extra 3-5 HRs and 15+ RBIs he’d get in those PAs to put up the totals you mention. I’d love to be wrong. I’m definitely rooting for Pedro to succeed.

  • Your article,as usual,is pretty much spot on.Safer route would have been Gaby but if Hart can get healthy(big if) it could work out great.But i have to disagree with you on Hart having any versatility.While true he has vast experience in the outfield,he’s absolutely brutal out there.Lol he’s so bad that if you gave Gaby some spring training time in outfield he couldn’t be any worse.

  • Apart from the injury issues, the problem in comparing Sanchez’ and Hart’s career numbers is that Hart’s are inflated by Miller Park. He had much better numbers there than on the road. And he’s moving to PNC, which really hurts RH power hitters.

    • Not only that, but Tim fails to mention that, even IF healthy, a 33 year old Hart (in March) may have little left in his tank.

      Not a Gaby fan by any means, but I’d take him back over Hart in an instant.

      • I prefer Hart, but it’s a closer issue than a lot of fans seem to think.

      • Well, considering he has barely played in the last two years, if he is healthy, there isn’t much to support that concern despite his age

      • lonleylibertarian
        December 21, 2014 10:19 pm

        And you would be wrong – Gaby is done – over – needs to go play in Japan and cash in a couple of pay checks and get into coaching – which I think he will be pretty good at. Last year Gaby was awful – don’t tell me how his career stats were/are great – he sucked big time last year – and that is the best indicator out there of what we can expect from him this year.

  • William Wallace
    December 21, 2014 10:18 am

    If Hart only plays in PNC and provides what he did when he was with the Brewers then that’s a game changer. My concern with either option is that we assume Alvarez will be a full time player. If that is not the case then we go back to 2014. Big if. Personally Sanchez early numbers in my opinion were influenced by the juice. When Hart was healthy he could hit and hit with power.

    • WW: We are doing more than assuming – Pedro Alvarez has to be a full time player if we hope to have any ability to win on a regular basis, and to establish his value to other teams, especially AL teams like the NY Yankees. A return to his home city and hitting in a park where he can be a 40 HR/yr power source, and also do much of that as a DH. Because of those reasons, I truly hope that we do not have to depend upon Hart too heavily. Pedro has the ability to hit righties and lefties and has exhibited some power against lefties.

      • William Wallace
        December 21, 2014 12:17 pm

        Hart hit .329 and 7 homer runs in 42 games at PNC in his career.

      • Interesting statistics: although Pedro’s career OPS against left hand pitching is about .200 less than against RHP, nevertheless, throughout his career his RBI per plate appearance ratio (RBI/PA) is almost identical against righties and lefties. Most of the difference in OPS is explained by his much higher slugging percentage against RHP including his higher rate of homers against RHP. In other words, although he is a much better hitter against righties than LHP, particularly slugging percentage, he has consistently been able to drive in runs at the same relatively high rate against both LHP and RHP throughout his career. I imagine that that ability is one of the primary reasons the Pirates have been willing to suffer Pedro’s low OPS against LHP and start him against LHP substantially the entire time he has been in Pittsburgh.

        • Important observation that you have made about Pedro! Another one is that if you look at all his split info, not just L/R you see a profile of someone who doesn’t respond to pressure, of any sort, well at all. It seems to lock his brain up. Pedro is a prime candidate to be helped by a sports psychologist who could teach/train him to ignore the circumstances surrounding his present AB, simplify and concentrate. There is still alot of potential to be unlocked within Pedro. But alot of it is purely mental, which requires mental training.

      • Pedro Alvarez getting 140-150 plate appearance like 2013-13, is not going to help the Pirates win. Jose Tabata has as much power vs LHP as Alvarez. I don’t think a platoon 1B with a career 105 OPS+, at best 115, is going to have much trade value in his third arbitration year.

        Adam Lind, who has $8 million guaranteed and is a better hitter, return in a trade was Marco Estarda, a broken starter who projects to be in a long relief, 5th starter role.

        The Pirates should hope for average fielding from Alvarez and hitting 10-15% better than average for two years.

        • I’ll quibble with the “at best 115 OPS+” portion regarding Alvarez.

          Power can be spiky, and even last year he was roughly a top 25 player in avg fly ball distance and top 50 player in avg batted ball distance. Because of that, I’m more impressed with the plate discipline gains between ’13 and ’14 than I was with the power gains between ’12 and ’13.

          If the new plate discipline is real, all the pieces are there to fall into a few seasons with BABIP close to .300 where he ends up being a .250/.330/.475 player. In the context of this specific Adam Lind comp, a player who didn’t post his second above average season until age 30, I don’t consider it unreasonable at all to see Pedro’s peak being something worthy of betting on.

          • 115 OPS+, has been his best season performance to date, I want to believe in the increased discipline, but his contact and swing numbers haven’t dramatically changed. The biggest change is O-Contact%, but an increase in out of zone contact isn’t always a good thing. I see the biggest different as the way he has been pitched.

            Year: Fastball% / Zone% (using BIS numbers)
            2010: 57.1% / 44.5%
            2011: 52.0% / 43.7%
            2012: 48.0% / 39.9%
            2013: 47.8% / 39.5%
            2014: 45.3% / 37.5%

            Alvarez hits fastballs, and he is seeing less. Improvements are certainly possible for Pedro, just don’t know how likely, he has never struck me a very discerning hitter. Lind comparison was more of an availability bias. Lind has shown some improvements at a late age, by swinging less and chasing less. Though some of that has to be attributed to his deceased percentage of plate appearance vs LHP in the last two years, 19.2% and 11.6%, down from 24-28% in previous seasons.

            • Pedro will see more fastballs when he can generate more hitter’s counts, which for him means being able to control (be ready to hit) the first pitch. Pedro probably goes 0-1 more than 90% of the hitters in baseball. He’ll take the first pitch to go 0-1. Swing and miss at a breaking ball to go 0-2 and then he is toast. Until he solves that by being ready to attack the first pitch most of the time, and swinging at the strikes, he’ll never improve. If he does I think he can become a .250/.310/.490/.800 player.

        • Nothing about this is true. Tabata currently has nearly no power. Pedro is, at his worst, a replacement level option. I am not a Pedro fan, i just dont dislike him so much i make some rather absurd assumption you did with this post. A career level year makes Pedro a 2 WAR type player, with Lind projected at 1.3. One has to basically assume Pedro’s worst season is his ability going forward to see Lind as a better option or Pedro with 140 at bats as not helping PIT.

          • Not sure what isn’t true. Career ISO vs LHP Tabata: .137, Alvarez: .125.

            Also not sure where I assumed Pedro’s worst season going forward. Assuming 550 PAs, and < 20% vs LHP, Pedro could easily be worth 9.0 batting runs, -1.0 base running runs (assuming career average), and average fielding 1B with positional adjustment is -9.8 runs. Add in the replacement level and that would be 1.5 WAR season. I'd be fine with that for two years.

            Alvarez is probably due around $8 million in arbitration next year, I don't think a 1.5 WAR 1B, would bring make much in a trade considering that Pirates would be without an adequate replacement at 1B.

  • I love the potential a Hart rebound can bring and if it fails, there is always Lambo and others waiting.

    • Lambo really isnt in waiting if Hart fails, since he doesnt really solve the RH part of the platoon. Lambo is a decent in waiting option if Pedro is worse than last year and Hart cant be a full time starter without getting hurt. Good depth.

      • I think it’s too early to say that Lambo won’t be able to hit LHPs. We don’t have data to back that up at the ML level yet. He has hit LHPs pretty well in the minors thus far.

        • It’s because of this that I would have preferred that the Pirates keep Lambo on the team this year rather than bring in Hart. Hart is a very short timer. Lambo might have an extended future.

        • He has recently, but his entire minor league history shows a guy that takes a year to hit LHP well at most levels. Too early to say he will never hit LHP well at all, but i feel safeish in assuming he wont hit LHP well right away. I love Lambo as “Pedro got worse than last year” depth as opposed to playing mostly against LHP.

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