Posts tagged ‘Casey Kotchman’

2011 Rays Projections: Dan Johnson

Dan Johnson may be the toughest Ray to project.

Johnson has never had 500 plate appearances in any Major League season and will be 31 on Opening Day. Is there a reason he has not hit the 500 PA mark? Is he what he is, an incredibly patient hitter that is more of a Quad-A player than a Major Leaguer? Perhaps, but the Rays seem set to give him more PAs in the Bigs to be sure he isn’t more than that.

In Triple-A last year he hit .303/.430/.624 with 30 bombs and a .445 wOBA. in 2008 he hit .307/.424/.557 with 25 bombs and a .425 wOBA. Those numbers, especially the power, have never translated to the Majors.

In 1429 career PAs Johnson has hit .243/.343/.419 and been worth 3.0 fWAR. Those are not numbers that scream out starting firstbaseman, especially in the AL East. What the Rays see, though, is his career 13.3% BB rate, huge power potential, and the fact that his career .250 BABIP has nowhere to go but up. What my projections see is about what you get, with minimal upside, but there is some.

 Stat  Total
 AVG  .235
 OBP  .340
 SLG  .442
 OPS  .782
 Plate App.  427
 At-Bats  362
 Hits  85
 Homeruns  19
 Doubles  18
 Triples  0
 BB  60
 SO  82
 SB  0
 UZR  -2

 

The only reason I had him at -2 UZR is because he is going to play some 3B and he is well below-average there. If he were strictly playing 1B/DH then he’s be at zero or maybe +1 UZR.

The fan in me wants to say that Johnson finds his niche in the Majors this year, the naysayer in me wants to say that he’d be lucky to get 300 PAs, the realist in me ran the numbers and came up with the above predictions. Like it or leave it, they are not your typical firstbaseman but they are probably better than what Casey Kotchman would do.

March 21, 2011 at 11:26 am 1 comment

No Room for Kotchman on Rays Roster

Photobucket
(Photo by Jonathan C. Mitchell)

The Rays are stacked deep at almost every position except first base. The same question is always brought up: Who will play firstbase for the Rays in 2011? Will it be the unproven Dan Johnson? How about using Ben Zobrist but at the expense of his valuable glove playing 2B and RF? I laugh at those who mention Leslie Anderson. But one other choice that is brought up is Casey Kotchman, and one thing is for sure he does not belong on a contending team as a starting firstbaseman.

Kotchman has had four seasons in his career with at least 125 games played and over 430 plate appearances. Only once in those four seasons has he posted a BB% higher than 9%, a wRC above league average, an OPS+ above league average, and a wOBA above .325. In fact, his stats have declined to the point where last year he was worth -1.1 fWAR and -0.9 rWAR. Take a look at his declining stats:

 Stat  2007  2008  2009  2010
 AVG  .296  .272  .268  .217
 OBP  .372  .328   .339  .280
 SLG  .467  .410  .382  .336
 ISO  .172  .137  .114  .118
 OPS+  119  93  90  73
 wRC+  120  97  92  66
 wOBA  .362  .322  .317  .270
 fWAR  +3.3  +1.8  +1.0  -1.1
 rWAR  +3.1  +1.1  +1.5  -0.9
 UZR  12.6  11.7  7.8  -0.4

 

Even his “bread-n-butter” defense was of negative value last season and if you were to take the average of those four seasons you would get a firstbaseman that would hit .264/.331/.401 with a 95 OPS+ and 1.2 rWAR and 1.25 fWAR, and there is no reason to believe Kotchman could put those numbers up in the AL East after declining each of the past three seasons.

The Rays will be best served by giving the firstbase job to Dan Johnson and letting Joe Maddon use the versatile Ben Zobrist to back him up, thus allowing Sean Rodriguez and Matt Joyce to get playing time at their respected positions. Having Kotchman on the roster kills the chances of Rodriguez and Joyce finding ample playing time. There simply is no room for Kotchman on the Rays roster.

March 5, 2011 at 7:53 pm 2 comments

Scouting the Rays on 2/27/11


(Picture by Jonathan C. Mitchell)

-My favorite player to watch on the Rays was Robinson Chirinos. He was hitting lasers all over BP and hit a pinch-hit bomb over the palm trees in left. He keeps his weight back very well and transfers it at the right moment, maximizing his power. I didn’t get to see him behind the plate, though.

James Shields worked only one inning and gave up that laser shot to Andrew McCutchen on a pitch he left up and in the middle half. Otherwise, he looked ok, getting ahead of hitters and getting robbed on a called third strike to leadoff hitter Jose Tabata. It just happened to be the one pitch he left up got hit out.

-One guy that did well in BP was 24 year old Russ Canzler who hit 21 homers and 28 doubles in AA last year in the Cubs organization in only 355 at-bats. He has a lofty swing that also produced a lot of high fly balls and pop ups. His swing was fun to watch in BP but will drive a manager crazy in the Majors.

Matt Joyce appeared to be working on an opposite field stroke in BP and didn’t put on the show I expected, but I’m ok with that. I think he was trying to do the same in the game because he was getting pounded inside and looked like he was waiting for something on the outer half.

-Rays prospect Alex Torres got two innings of work in, showing a live fastball but not much command and had a problem putting hitters away. His delivery looks good, showing good balance and gets a lot of velocity from his legs and also keeps his head up the whole time, but his release point was inconsistent. He has some flaws that are workable and there is a lot to like about him.

Desmond Jennings was very patient at the plate, showing a very good eye and laying off of borderline pitches that early in the at-bat. He also showed off his speed, swiping second base with ease and chased a deep ball hit by Walker in the right-center field gap for a nice running catch. On the other hand he showed little to no power in BP and also lost a routine flyball in the sun while wearing sunglasses.

Justin Ruggiano looked bad at the plate, flailing at off-speed stuff down and away from starter Kevin Correia and showing little-to-no patience at the plate.

Casey Kotchman is the same as always. He did go 2-2 but one was a groundball on a hit and run that left a hole and the other was basically a bloop single. His swing is geared towards contact and looks slow to the naked eye.

-I don’t know what to make of Tim Beckham. He looked awful in warm-ups, booting roughly 20% of the routine balls hits to him. He lacked range to his right in the game, having to backhand a routine groundball that he should have been able to get in front of. He does have a very strong arm, though, and was able to gun the runner down in time for the out. At the plate and in BP he worked on hitting the ball up the middle and I like that approach. It worked in one at-bat when he hit a solid line drive up the middle for a single. His base running was atrocious, taking horrible routes around the bases and showing little awareness of where the ball was, hesitating on an easy call to go first-to-third and ending up just staying put at second. He also showed little awareness in the field. On a ball hit to his left he made a play and the runner from second broke to third, he “looked” over to third to make sure the runner wasn’t going home but the runner never broke stride and went straight for home. Beckham threw to first as if the runner never broke for home. It was a lazy effort on his part assuming the runner would stop at third.

For my full report, including the Pirates, check it out here at MLBdirt.com

March 1, 2011 at 8:29 pm 1 comment


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