Nationals Baseball: Kennedy : Plan C or not even that?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kennedy : Plan C or not even that?

First I want to make it clear that if the Nats do sign Adam Kennedy he absolutely MUST race in the President's race at some point. That almost makes it a signing they should make, but let's take a look at Mr. Kennedy. Is he a legit 2nd baseman or a stop gap?

Last Year : .289 / .348 / .410
3-Year : .269 / .324 / .370

The 3-year isn't really fair - because it includes an injury riddled half season of hitting .219. The facts are that if Adam is healthy he can be a .280 hitter who gets on base ok, but with no power at all. He's like Cristian Guzman with 25 more walks a year.

That may not seem that bad but last year was his last decent year since 2005. Could it have been an aberration, a mirage, a mirageration? What do the fancy stats say?

BABIP : .329 That's a little high, but not unusual for a guy like Kennedy who hits relatively few fly balls and has a little spped. Excluding that awful year with the Cardinals back in 2007, he has generally been over .300 in BABIP. No reason he couldn't be there next year... though a bit lower.

LD% : 23.6% It's ok and right around what we'd expect from Adam.

HR/FB : 7.0% This isn't that high in general, but it's high for Adam. In fact, it was the 2nd highest of his career. Was there something odd going on? Well, it's kind of hard to tell. It's only 11 home runs. Oakland's park wasn't a HR haven, and as expected Adam hit more HRs on the road. But that's only like 7 and no more than 2 in one park... I'd hazard to guess he'd hit a few less homers this year but there isn't much here other than precedent going one way or the other

I know I'm not saying much... is there anything else interesting? Check out Adam's splits last year

v RH : .307 /.364 / .438
v LH : .241 /.303 / .333

This isn't a one year thing. Since 2005 Kennedy is a much better hitter v righties than lefties. Why is that important? Because Cristian Guzman hits lefties much better than righties. Last year:

v RH : .277 /.301 / .379
v LH : .307 /.323 / .425

Platoon Cristian and Adam and you got yourself... well a better hitter with blech patience and no power. But better! Slightly above average even!

What about the fielding? Well, as you know I'm not much on fielding stats but my best guess... he'll be average. It seems like he was really good, as recent as two-years ago, but it's likely that age (he's 34 as of... oh Sunday! Happy Birthday Adam!) is catching up with him. I'm not sure that he has another good season in him but maybe an average one. So I'll go with that.

What the verdict? I'm tempted to say he's an ok throw-away one-year type of guy that'll give the Nats better defense and offense than the alternatives, if only a little bit. But it depends alot on age. He's old, and likely to regress a little bit offensively from last season and probably be no better than ok in the field. And I fear he could regress a lot. Seems like he rides a fine line between major league average and major league fan. One big injury turned him into a "maybe he should retire" player at age 31. What would another one do at age 34?

I say don't bother, unless you plan to platoon him with Guzman.


Bryan said...

Despite your bashing of Guzman, I have it on strong authority that you are actually "Facebook Friends" with him.

Harper said...

Nats Farm Authority?

It wasn't even bashing. More of a strong push. I'd even go as far to say if you are going to sign Kennedy to flat out replace Guzman, I wouldn't bother.

Bryan said...

Right Right. A strong "push." And I'm sure he had it coming, too. After all, he makes you act the way you do. Doesn't he?

Yeah, I'm not sold that Kennedy > Guzman. Different, yes. At this point though, I'm almost just willing to take different and be done with it.

At least if Kennedy turned out badly, it would probably be outright badness. And not the "I'm gonna kick your ass" badness of say, Brett Myers, but rather that sneaky badness of Guzman.

Harper said...

I don't know Guzman can give the nats outright badness too...