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Thursday, August 19, 2004

Blanco and Defense

A great post by Paul White on Berroa vs. Blanco. He advocates trading Berroa if he can turn it around down in AA since it appears Blanco is ready to play. I'm not sure about his offensive ability (he's only 20 but did post just a 617 OPS in A ball last year after all) since he's batted less than 60 times with an OPS of 710.

To estimate a range of his true ability regarding OPS you can calculate a 95 percent confidence interval as (he's had 57 plate appearances):

[.592, .828] = 1.96 * SquareRoot(.710*(1-.710)/57)

So with some confidence you can say he's somewhere between an OPS of 592 and 828 at the major league level, not very helpful at this stage of his career. Berroa's OPS was 789 last year and 663 this year before being sent down.

But Blanco's defense certainly looks like the real deal. In last night's game, which I attended with my younger daughter and some friends, he made several great defensive plays including jumping clean over the oncoming runner in two double play situations and taking a nice flip by Ruben Gotay to retire a runner. Based on what I've seen I have no reason to doubt, as Paul notes, that his range numbers won't be far above average.

As for trading Berroa I think I'd wait to see if Blanco will hit at all. Although having good infield defense is important with a young pitching staff, having both Gotay (534 OPS in 39 plate appearances but OPS numbers of 833 and 727 in A ball the last two years) and Blanco in the lineup might be too big a drag on your offense long term. Berroa showed some signs of power last year which might develop if he can learn the strike zone (he saw only 3.6 pitches per plate appearance this year) and lay off the sliders down and away. If he does he'll be a bargain at his $2.6m price tag for the next four years.

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