D Whit - A Tale of Two Players

Let's take a look at a couple of players that could have significant roles on the 2014 New York Mets.

Player A:

Player B:

With Player A you get a tick or so more power, but Player B has the potential to get on-base more often.

Player A is over 6 years older than Player B. 

Player A WAR (Fangraph):
2012- -0.3

Player B WAR (Fangraph):
2013- -0.3

Player A’s WAR jumped to over 3 from a negative WAR the previous year. Player B’s 2013 WAR was identical to Player A’s 2012 WAR. In 2011 they each would’ve contributed the same amount of Wins to your team.

Was Player A’s 2013 WAR an anomaly? -0.7, 1.6, 2.0, 4.7 were his pre-2011 WARs. As you see Player A is capable of a big season, but it’s also just as possible for the reverse to be true. Player B would give you roughly the same WAR every year, although in fairness to Player B, because of his age and experience, those WAR numbers could jump as he matures as a hitter. Conversely, a WAR around 2.0 may be his ceiling.

But as you can see, aside from a couple of seasons, Player A will give you about the same WAR as Player B.  The potential to exceed his baseline WAR of around 2.0 is enticing, but given his potential to give you a negative WAR, is it worth a multi-million dollar contract?

Let’s move on to fielding. We’ll look at the UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) and more traditional fielding % for Player A and Player B.

Whats UZR?  Essentially, UZR puts a run value to defense, attempting to quantify how many runs a player saved or gave up through their fielding prowess (or lack thereof).

So using that as a tool here’s what we find.

Player A UZR:
2012- -7.0

Player B UZR:
2011- -0.1

Using the past three seasons as a guide you can see that Player A can give you anywhere from Above Average to almost Poor Fielding at his position. Player B will consistently give you average, solid defense at the same position. Was 2012 a case of one bad season in the field for Player A? -12.4, -15.9, 2.6, 8.9 were his UZR’s in the seasons preceding 2011. As you can see Player A is just as up and down in the field as he is at the plate. But even at his best he will not give you Gold Glove caliber D and when he tanks, well it can be disastrous. In defense of Player A’s defense, those -12.4 and -15.9 occurred his first two full seasons starting in MLB.

As for Player B, those represent his UZR for the first few seasons of his career and just as Player A improved in the field the following seasons it would stand to reason that Player B would as well. He may even give you defense comparable to Player A as he progresses defensively at the position.

Now let’s look at both players defensive from a Fielding % view.

Player A:
2011-.980 119 PO/219 A/ 7E
2012-.972 84 PO/190 A/ 8E
2013-.984 176 PO/332 A/8E

Player B:
2011-.956 53 PO/120 A/8E
2012-.974 164 PO/280 A/12E
2013-.969 72 PO/177 A/ 8E

By traditional fielding metrics Player A is the stronger defender fielding % wise. Player B makes more errors, most of those on throws, while Player A is more susceptible to booting a ball every now and then. 

17, 14. 11. 10-Those are the error amounts for Player A from 2007-2010. He has improved his play in the field dramatically since he debuted in the league. Couldn’t the same be said for Player B? His defense is mediocre right now, but at a similar juncture in his career and age, Player A was awful.

It’s obvious that Player A carries a much higher upside offensively and has a slight advantage defensively. The downside to Player A is his tendency to have seasons where he’s well-below average at the plate and in the field.

Entering his age 31 season Player A is pretty much the player he will be, in fact, a slight decline may start to occur. Player B is 24 and despite his inconsistencies, still young enough to grow as a player. His best seasons are more than likely ahead of him. Can the same be said for Player A?

Of course you’ve probably already figured out:

Player A is Stephen Drew

Player B is Ruben Tejada

I didn’t write this with a view one way or the other about either SS. I wanted to put together some combination of hitting and fielding statistics to demonstrate what each have done in the past. Using that as a guideline as well as their ages to come up with an idea of what each could contribute going forward.

I think Stephen Drew is an injury and performance risk. He’s drastic home/away splits both with Arizona and Boston. But overall has hit all right in Citi Field. You’d have to imagine a drop in power would occur. But Tejada is so devoid of HR pop that anything over half a dozen is a huge improvement. The question is how many more Wins can Stephen Drew add to the 2014 and 2015 Mets? Would it be enough to invest $10-12 million dollars over the next couple of years? Tejada is the safer option, but is he the best option between the two?

Should the Mets stick with Ruben or roll the dice on Drew? It might become the most crucial decision made by the team this offseason.


Anonymous said...

For me Drew is just not 11million dollar per year worth + you will lose your 3rd round pick. I stay with Ruben.

Craig Brown said...

Drew will cost more than 11 million...He turned down 14 when he declined the qualifying offer.

Also if Boston offers 2 years 26 million, the Mets would have to offer 3 years 45 million...Its the Mets...

Herb G said...

I don't know if Drew will get a 2/$26 offer from Boston unless he comes to them with some other team's 2/$26 offer. Just because he turned down the $14MM QO doesn't mena he won't accept a 2/$22 offer. The extra year seems to be as important as AAV. (See Curtis Granderson) And if he got a 2/$26 offer from the Red Sox, he might well accept a 3/$33 offer from the Mets.

That said, I really don't think Drew is worth that kind of money when there seems to be so many quality trade opportunities out there. I imagine Alderson will be very active in seeking a trade, although he seems to value Drew, and he may therefore hang back waiting for Drew's price to drop. I just wonder if he will regard an experienced SS (Aybar, Escobar, Lowrie) higher than a rookie or a prospect. (Gregorius, Owings, Franklin, Miller)