Tuesday, January 1, 2013

DrB's 2013 Giants Top 50 Prospects #14: Ehire Adrianza

Ehire Adrianza, SS.  DOB:  8/21/1989.  6'1", 155 lbs.  B-S, T-R.

AA:   .220/.289/.310, 3 HR, 16 SB, 8.0 BB%, 17.6 K%.

At some point prior to the 2012 season, the Giants made a decision to give the starting SS position to a young player who had hit just .204 with an OPS of under .600 in SF and had hit just .224 at AAA Fresno.  They did this after watching two older shortstops who they thought could still hit blow game after game because they could no longer get to balls hit on either side of them.  They told Crawford to not worry about how much he hit, just stabilize the infield on defense.  Over the course of the season, Crawford gradually hit better and even his defense improved over time.  By the stretch run and postseason, his contributions on defense and timely hitting from the 8 hole in the lineup were a key factor in the Giants championship run.

Since the 2012 season ended, several glove-first shortstops such as Adeiny Hechiaverra and Didi Gregorius have been involved in high profile trades while another, Andrelton Simmons, has been a hot topic of MLB Trade Rumors.  Success in MLB, or any professional sport, tends to quickly draw copycats.

So, what does this all have to do with Ehire Adrianza?  Well, Adrianza is a weak hitting shortstop who a lot of people have written off, who also happens to be a terrific fielder at this premium position.  As soon as I say that, the next question is, how does he compare to Brandon Crawford?  My answer is he has better range than Crawford and makes it look easy, but Crawford probably has the stronger throwing arm.

I think it's still too early to give up on Adrianza.  It's true, his hitting has been unimpressive, but it's also not hopeless.  He has maintained decent to good walk rates despite his total lack of power and he can steal a base or two.  He'll even hit one into a gap or even out of the park on occasion too.  One problem is his thin body type, which appeared to be projectable when he was younger, has never filled out.  Maybe that has helped him stay agile in the field, but it certainly hasn't helped his bat develop.

My thinking is, he's bounced between San Jose and Richmond for a couple of years and a .220 BA in Richmond is not nothing.  Put him in Fresno as the everyday shortstop in 2013 and see what happens.  Who knows?  Crawford could get hurt or Adrianza could hit well enough at Fresno to generate some trade value.  He's been around awhile so options could come into play as we discussed earlier in Peguero's profile.

Oh, and Happy New Year, everybody!  Pray for Peace!


  1. Thanks for the profile.

    Better range.

    Weaker arm.

    How about baseball instincts? Which one is better?

    And reflexes? A few great catches/plays Crawford made were due to his quick reflexes.

    1. Those area all very tough things to measure and more than a little subjective. I'll just say that unless Crawford's bat collapses or he gets injured or suddenly loses his range, I would stick with Crawford and look to make Adrianza a sub or look to trade him.

  2. I think the trade involving Didi Gregorius is an indicator that players like Adrianza, who once upon a time would have been given up on rather quickly, will probably get a year or two longer look, just as teams are realizing that SS is THE PREMIUM position in the field. Add to it that SS is usually a weaker offensive position thus driving the cost of top-flight SS up the wazoo, the great D, limited bat strategy seems to be a good one. Why overpay for a guy who barely breaks even, when it's becoming obvious a weak hitting SS that saves runs on D has a +WAR? Nice write up, not bothered one bit by the high ranking of Adrianza

  3. Happy New Year!

    I have to admit some bias: Ehire is my adopted "child" on MCC. :^)

    That said, we need to remember two interconnected things about Ehire. First is that he's only 22 YO and yet they were aggressive in promoting him to AA, where only the top prospects in all the minors are expected to reach AA by age 22. Second is that he's not a top prospect.

    So I would not expect that he would do so well at AA given that he really don't have the pedigree to hit well there. Particularly since he hit nicely in Advanced A but not great there in 2011. But he did really nicely against guys his own age and experience early in his career in the DSL, so I think as he catches up in age with the league, he'll hit better.

    Given how bad the Eastern League is, I would prefer to move him up to AAA too, but historically the Giants don't seem to do that, they seem to force the player to go through AA at least twice when they don't hit, like Noonan, before maybe they promote the better prospects, to see what happens. (And Noonan hit as poorly as Ehire did in AA but then had a nice season in AAA for BA.) Particularly given the comment by Sabean last season about being too aggressive in promoting prospects.

    Still, given the noted interest in SS that DrB pointed out, that suggests that the Giants might change tact and promote Adrianza to AAA so that Panik can be promoted to AA, so that both can continue to play SS, and keep their potential as SS trade pieces, with Noonan perhaps moving back to 2B in Fresno, in order to improve his value. But given how poorly Panik hit in SJ and in the AFL, the Giants generally do not reward that with a promotion. So we will see.

    I can go either way on what happens.