March 17, 2009

Project-a-tron Part 3 - Ryan Theriot

Now, on to the middle infield


Theriot is a pretty polarizing figure in the Cubs blogosphere. Love of (or disdain for) his scrap factor aside, he too is a decent (though not particuarly good) shortstop. He had a surprisingly good year last year, but I suspect that it was a career year for Theriot. He often looks bad defensively but his UZR grades him out to be a slightly above average SS. He also spawned the "TOOTBLAN" statistic due to his often boneheaded baserunning. Theriot's biggest problem though is his lack of power. He is a singles hitter, and thus his value is very tied into his BABIP. Take a look at these numbers:

Ryan Theriot:

His BABIP jumped by 50 points, and, shockingly, his OBP jumped by 60 points! Everyone was pointing to Theriot's improved OBP as a sign that he made it, but I only see a marginal improvement. Singles hitters like Theriot live and die by how many balls make it out of the infield, and if teams start putting a shift on him (unlikely as it may be), he would be screwed. If you assume his BABIP to fall back down to typical values, Theriot's OBP will drop back down to the .340s, which combined with his defense and poor slugging puts him as a just-below average SS.