May 23, 2009

Making the most of the Scrap Heap

Let's take a look at the Cubs' collection of scrappy middle infielders, all of whom have seen much more playing time due to Ramirez's injury. Note, per media parlance, Bobby Scales cannot be a 'scrappy' middle infielder - we'll just have to call him 'athletic' instead.

The projections here are taken from the Updated ZiPS projections on Fangraphs, which take into account performance so far this year for the end of season line and as inputs to the rest of season projection.

PlayerSlash LinewOBAK%Projected Slash LineProjected wOBACareer K%

Fun fact: Theriot is projected to hit 4 more HR by ZiPS.

The clear 'winner' in these projections is Bobby Scales, who should be playing every day with Ramirez out. Fontenot has been terribly unlucky (more on that in a moment), but even when readjusted for luck it appears that he isn't nearly as good as some of those optimistic .340+ wOBA projections were giving him. To be fair though, ZiPS was the most down on Fontenot of any of the projection systems on Fangraphs. From what I recall PECTOA was really down on him, but I don't have my annual with me here in NM. Miles and Freel have been especially awful. Freel will probably be sent packing when Ramiriez comes back, though it would behoove the Cubs to give Scales and Fontenot some reps at SS, because Miles's ability to play that position is the only thing keeping him on the roster.

There is some reason to suspect that Fontenot (especially) will bounce back - he's had some terrible luck. Looking at the numbers:

PlayerBABIP (2009)BABIP (Careeer)LD% (2009)LD% (Career)

I left off Scales and Freel for sample size reasons, and because we don't have any career data for Scales. It actually looks like Miles has been even more unlucky than Fontenot - despite a LD% significantly above his career norms, Miles has a terrible BABIP.

What this boils down to is that even though Fontenot doesn't appaer to be nearly as good as we were thinking he would be going into the season, he's not *THIS* awful. It's pretty tough to sustain a .205 BABIP, and it's not like he's hacking any more than usual either. The Cubs should run him out there against every RHP, and Scales too.