Saturday, October 7, 2017

Scouting the Offseason: Centerfield

The Giants brass has publicly identified upgrading defense in CF to be their #1 priority this offseason.  If it comes with an offensive upgrade, fine, but they won't sacrifice defense for offense.  They have also said they prefer to trade and want to get younger, which would seem to rule out Lorenzo Cain(more on him later).

Remember when the Giants had Gregor Blanco and every offseason they started with the presumption that he was a 4'th OF and every year he was a starting OF by the end of the season and into the postseason?  The Giants might be in a similar position with Gorkys Hernandez.  If you look at his Def for the season, you see a negative number, but that number includes the innings he played LF which comes with a positional penalty.  If you dig a bit deeper and look up his UZR for CF only, he is a positive defensive CF with a UZR/150 of 7.5.  He also OPS'd .735 over the last 4 months of the season.  He is having surgery to remove bone spurs or chips or something from his wrist this offseason, so that might make the Giants not want to count on him, but I think Gorkys' numbers provide a floor for what the Giants should be looking for if they want to invest money or prospects in a CF upgrade.

With that floor in mind, I sorted Fangraphs Leaders page for players with 100 or more innings played in CF last year by UZR/150.  There were only 17 players with better UZR/150 than Gorkys.  Here they are with CF Innings, UZR/150 and OPS:

Juan Lagares- 566.2, 24.7, .661.  Definitely an upgrade on D, but can't hit his way out of a paper bag.  I'll take Gorkys.  Mets would probably be willing to trade him.

Brett Phillips- 177, 20.9, .799.  Brewers are not trading Brett Phillips!

Tyler Collins- 199.2, 19.4, .611.  SSS on the UZR and doesn't hit at all.

Scott Schebler- 117.2, 17.5, .791.  Very small sample in CF.  Would the UZR hold up over a full season?

Ian Happ- 346.2, 17.0, .842.  I don't think the Cubs would trade Ian Happ, but Happ might make them think Albert Almora is expendable.  Almora's UZR is not better than Gorkys', but it is in positive territory.  He also hits better and has upside.

Michael Taylor- 940.1, 16.9, .806(19 HR, 17 SB).  Taylor is an interesting name here.  With Adam Eaton coming back next year and Victor Robles about ready to graduate to the majors, the Nats just might be willing to trade Taylor.  He won't come cheap and they might prefer to hang onto him even if he is their 4'th OF.  He's worth a tire kick or two.

Tommy Pham- 281.1, 13.7, .931.  Cardinals have a surplus of OF's, but they are more likely to want to trade Randal Grichuk or Steven Piscotty.

Aaron Hicks- 440.2, 13.5, .847.  Doubt the Yankees would trade Hicks but he'd be a nice target if they would consider it.  There's a pretty big park adjustment on offense here,

Byron Buxton- 1143, 13.1, .728.  The Twins are not going to give up on Buxton this soon.

Franchy Cordero- 192, 11.6, .699.  Young, but if he's really any good, the Padres will hang onto him.

Cameron Maybin- 450.2, 10.0, .683(10 HR).  Maybin is a FA.  He's getting a bit old and has never been able to stay healthy.  He should be fairly cheap, though, and he could provide depth and be a placeholder for Steven Duggar or Bryan Reynolds.

Billy Hamilton- 1175, 10.0, .634(59 SB).  Ron Wotus may have tipped the Giants hand in a recent interview when he brought up Hamilton as an example of the type of player the Giants want in CF.  He does not hit as well as Gorkys and his UZR/150 is only 2.5 better.   He does bring vroom though.

Leury Garcia- 406, 9.6, .739.  We're getting into territory where we would want an offensive upgrade.  I don't see Garcia as that.

Odubel Herrera- 1144, 9.3, .778.  A nice offensive upgrade on paper, but there's a significant park adjustment.

Zack Granite- 174, 8.8, .611.  SSS barely an upgrade on D and there's no stick.

Jarrad Dyson- 771.2, 8.6, .674(28 SB).  Billy Hamilton lite.  Should be an affordable FA, but is he really an upgrade over Gorkys?

Bradley Zimmer- 697.2, 8.4, .692.  Not an immediate upgrade, but interesting upside here.  Not sure if Cleveland would trade him.

Gorkys Hernandez- 331.1, 7.5, .652.  Slashed .295/.358/.377(OPS .735) after May 31. 12 SB.

Kevin Pillar- 1343.1, 7.4, .704(16 HR).  Not a defensive upgrade on Gorkys and the power would take a big hit in AT&T Park.

Albert Almora- 643, 2.3, .782.  Like his upside.

Randall Grichuk- 29, 16.1, .758.  UZR/150 was -1.7 in CF in 2016 and only played 29 innings in CF in 2017.  Hits dingers.  Probably available in trade.

Who would you like to see the Giants target for CF in 2018?


  1. We don't want either Cardinals OFers.

    Piscotty hasn't hit worth beans for a year-and-a-half. And while they keep trying to fix him, nothing has worked.
    Grichuk only covers 25% of the strike zone, something that hasn't changed since 2015. In that 25% he has amazing power. But in the other 75% he's a disaster. And you think Belt is streaky... You'll get 4HRs in a week then 4-for-25...

    That's why Tommy Pham is now an entrenched starter in the OF and the Cards are looking to move Pham to CF or promote one from the minors and move Fowler over.

  2. Deshields or sign Austin Jackson as a stop gap. I don’t want them betting the farm on a player who isn’t a big upgrade. Save those tickets for Stanton.

  3. I would like to see them target Billy Hamilton.. He's 27 years old, a potential gold glove CF, and can steal a lot of bases. I'd be surprised if the Reds trade him. I like the idea of signing Maybin, a good defensive CF, as a place holder for Duggar or Reynolds.


    1. Hard to steal bases if you can’t get on base. He flat out can’t hit.

    2. That's true, but he did steal 57 bases. I remember seeing a bunch of his defensive highlights showing off his range in CF robbing hitters of extra base hits. Giants could use that.


    3. If you look at the stats, Hamilton has a UZR/150 of 10.0 and Gorkys is at 7.5, not a big difference. Gorkys OPS'd about 20 points better over the full season but 100 points higher after May 31. Gorkys even stole a few bases! Personally, I'd rather just run Gorkys out there, especially since the Giants would probably have to give up a couple of pretty good prospects for Hamilton.

  4. This is interesting. The Top-10 Postseason performances in MLB history:

    "No. 1: Madison Bumgarner, LHP, 2014 San Francisco Giants

    The Stats: 52.2 IP, 1.03 ERA, 2 CG, 45 SO, 28 H, 6 BB

    Where Schilling had Johnson as his wingman, the Giants' Madison Bumgarner had essentially he, himself and him in the 2014 postseason.

    Playing for a San Francisco team that squeaked into the playoffs as the second wild card, Bumgarner took the orange and black on his shoulders and carried them with an all-time record 52.2 innings pitched.

    The big lefty threw a pair of complete-game shutouts, including one in the do-or-die NL Wild Card Game, and put a punctuation mark on his performance by throwing five gritty, scoreless innings on one day's rest in Game 7 of the World Series.

    It sealed the Giants' third title in five seasons, and Bumgarner's place in playoff lore."

  5. Go with Duggar as the placeholder for Heliot Ramos who could be ready in 2020.