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H. Seop's Fables
2004-10-15 10:01
by Jon Weisman

What can I say? The guy's a headline writer's dream ...

Comparison of Dodger EQAs to the Major League averages, 2004

PositionMLB EQAMLB Peak EQADodger EQAs
Catcher.245Ivan Rodriguez .299Paul Lo Duca .261, Brent Mayne .206, Dave Ross .191
First base.277Albert Pujols .340Hee Seop Choi .284, Shawn Green .277
Second base.253Mark Loretta .306 Jose Hernandez .302, Alex Cora .263
Third base.266Adrian Beltre .328Beltre .328
Shortstop.249Carlos Guillen .305Cesar Izturis .250
Left field.275Barry Bonds .452Jayson Werth .278, Dave Roberts .267
Center field.262Jim Edmonds .340Steve Finley .267
Right field.270J.D. Drew .333 Milton Bradley .271
Other.256Travis Hafner .325Olmedo Saenz .289, Robin Ventura .247, Jason Grabowski .233

For multi-team players, EQAs include non-Dodger statistics. Source: Baseball Prospectus. EQA is "a measure of total offensive value per out, with corrections for league offensive level, home park, and team pitching. EQA considers batting as well as baserunning, but not the value of a position player's defense. "

Comments:

  • Following July 31, the catcher EQAs are .244 for Lo Duca, .171 for Mayne.
  • Yes, that's right. Despite a .198 EQA after July 31, Choi's EQA remains higher than Green's and higher than any Dodger regular except Beltre.
  • The combined VORP (value over replacement player) for Hernandez and Cora was 44.4, making the Dodgers third-strongest at that position in the National League behind San Diego and Houston.
  • Note that while Izturis' EQA is below the overall major league average of .260, he is at the average for his position. Then you throw in his fielding.
  • Second behind Bonds in left field is Manny Ramirez at .316. There is a large cluster of players between .260 and .280, roughly one per team.
  • Yes, that's right. Finley's EQA is lower than Bradley's. With the Dodgers, Finley's EQA was .269.

    Heartless conclusions:
    If you go by this chart alone, the Choi-ce is obvious. The Dodgers can save millions if they tee Hee rather than taking a swing at Finley. I can understand the reluctance to entrust Choi with a starting job after how he finished 2004, but he seems the better bet to me. Let this fuel the debate, at least.

    Another revelation might be that shooting for improvement at second base - outside the organization, anyway - should not be a high priority. Even if both Hernandez and Cora were to decline in 2005, they might still be average which is exactly where the Dodgers are at center, right, first base and shortstop. (Werth would appear to be above average, given how Bonds skews that position's average.)

    Of course, catcher remains the greatest offensive emergency. Though this chart by no means ends the debate, I would focus on resigning a superior offensive player in Beltre, rectifying the catcher problem and improving the starting pitching, all before worrying about Finley. Make no mistake, the guy hit some huge home runs and is one of the Dodgers' all-time best midseason pickups. But he may not merit a further expensive commitment.

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