Posts tagged ‘Jason Bartlett’

2011 Rays Projections: Reid Brignac

Reid Brignac

2011 is the year that Rays fans will finally get to see Reid Brignac as their starting shortstop. Brignac was being called the Rays shortstop of the future since he broke on to the scene by winning the MVP in the Cal League in 2001.

Since then, though, he hasn’t performed at the same level, digressing a bit on offense while becoming a very good fielding shortstop. Inability to hit left-handed pitching, poor discipline and lack of pitch recognition at higher levels have hurt him but with repetition and he should be able to find his niche.

Here are my projected stats for Brignac:

 Stat  Total
 AVG  .270
 OBP  .323
 SLG  .411
 OPS  .734
 Plate App.  526
 At-Bats  489
 Hits  132
 Homeruns  11
 Doubles  28
 Triples  4
 BB  35
 SO  108
 SB  5
 UZR  +5

 

That makes Brignac roughly a 2.3-2.5 fWAR player in 2011, an actual improvement over the departed Jason Bartlett. Brignac will get a lot of production from his glove. He posted a +3.0 UZR in only 340.2 innings at shortstop in 2010 so my projected +5.0 may be a little low. He also has some loft to his swing so the 11 homeruns may be a bit low and the .270 average could be a bit high. Either way, I feel these are pretty safe projections and I do feel he can out perform them and be a 3-win player.

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February 2, 2011 at 11:21 am 3 comments

Fixing the Rays Need for Power

Andruw JonesRussell Branyan

The Tampa Bay Rays are going to look like a completely different team than the one that won the AL East in 2010.  Long gone are Carl Crawford, Matt Garza, Carlos Pena, Jason Bartlett, and a slew of relievers.  The Rays have already begun to rebuild the bullpen, they had Reid Brignac ready to take over at shortstop, and Jeremy Hellickson more than ready to take a rotation spot.

Replacing Crawford is the toughest task.  Crawford was tied for 3rd in the AL with 6.9 fWAR.  That will not be matched by a leftfield mix of Matt Joyce, Desmond Jennings, and Sam Fuld.

The Rays will more than likely be without Rafael Soriano and Grant Balfour at the back of the bullpen.  Soriano’s price tag is too high and I suspect Balfour’s is as well, but more on that in a moment.

The Rays have major holes at 1B, DH (although I think full-time DHs shrink a roster), and the back of the bullpen, and that is without calling leftfield a major hole at the moment.  So what do the Rays need to do?  I have a plan.

My first order of business would be to sign Russell Branyan. I have already supplied enough evidence to prove that Branyan is highly undervalued. It’s time someone took advantage of that and why not the Rays?  The misconception that Branyan is a DH is far off.  

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January 11, 2011 at 11:58 am 5 comments

Bartlett Should Love NL West

Adam RussellJason Bartlett

The Tampa Bay Rays, needing to restock the bullpen, have [reportedly] sent shortstop Jason Bartlett to the San Diego Padres for relievers Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos.  This is the perfect need-for-need trade that should help both teams immediately.

The Rays get to shed some payroll while addressing the bullpen, a need that has many holes with the free agent departures of Rafael Soriano, Joaquin Benoit, Grant Balfour, Dan Wheeler, Randy Choate, and Chad Qualls

The Rays recieve Adam Russell, a 6’8″ right handed reliever that throws a mid-90s fastball and an average curveball but lacks command.  In 54 big league innings he has 54 strikeouts, a 2.90 FIP, and has averaged 94.4 mph on his fastball, throwing it roughly 69% of the time.  His ERA in those innings sits at 4.50, aided in part by a high BABIP of .363.  He also keeps the ball on the ground with a career 1.27 GB/FB ratio, something that is a plus with the Rays’ plus defenders in the infield.

Cesar Ramos has been a left handed starter for most of his minor league career but profiles as a lefty specialist.  He throws a low-90s fastball and a low 80s slider but struggles with his control and command.  Like Russel, Ramos also keeps the ball on the ground.

Both players should be in the Rays pen in 2011.

The Padres, dealing from a surplus of relievers, get a starting shortstop for their team.  Bartlett will probably never reach his Al-Star offensive season of 2009 again but I believe he is better than what he posted in 2010.  Bartlett is a career .281/.345/.385 hitter that walks roughly 8% of the time and plays at least average defense at short.

The main plus on Bartlett, now that he is in the NL West, is that he loves to face left-handed pitching.  For his career he has hit .318/.383/.444 in 851 plate appearances and moves to a division where there are 40% left handed starters.  That’s right, 40%.  Oh, and this is his walk year.

Bartlett also profiles as a Type-A free agent after 2011, which could net the Padres some draft picks if they decide to offer him arbitration and he signs elsewhere. 

Not a bad trade for a couple of extra relievers the Padres had lying around and an extra shortstop the Rays had that got a little too expensive for them.

December 8, 2010 at 7:32 pm 1 comment

Rays Need to Trade Bartlett Now

Jason Bartlett

I’m pretty sure we all know the Tampa Bay Rays’ situation by now.  In short, they are a small-market team that spent too much money last year and need to cut payroll significantly.  They cannot afford to retain top free agent Carl Crawford or All-Star closer Rafael Soriano.  They also may not be able to retain Grant Balfour and have already lost Joaquin Benoit to free agency.  Needless to say, they have holes to fill while trying to cut payroll by $25M-$30M.

One way they can cut extra cost is to trade starting shortstop Jason Bartlett.  The market for shortstops is very thin, so thin that it netted career .300 OBP Juan Uribe a 3yr/$21M deal and Miguel Tejada a $6.5M contract to be a starting shortstop.  Uribe at least has value in his bat, glove, and versatility but Tejada may be a downgrade from a Jason Bartlett.

Bartlett, after making $4M in 2010, is due for an arbitration raise of over $5M.  If his agent is smart, he will use Tejada’s deal as a starting point for negotiations.  Over the last two years Tejada has hit .291/.326/.418 with an OPS+ of 100 (league average) in 1354 plate appearances while playig mostly thirdbase.  Bartlett, in the same time frame, has hit .288/.358/.423 with an OPS+ of 111 in 1099 plate appearances while playing all his games at short.  In that same time frame Tejada has grounded into 45 double plays and stolen 7 bases while Bartlett has only grounded into 11 double plays and stolen 41 bases.  The comparisons aren’t even close, meaning the Rays may owe Bartlett much more than $5M predicted by “experts” in 2011.

The Rays seem ready to hand the starting shortstop job to Reid Brignac and, in my opinion, they should.  He is making close to the league minimum and is a much better defensive shortstop (UZR/150 of 14.0 in 2010) with more power (career ISO of .135 compared to Bartlett’s .105) and higher overall offensive upside if he learns better pitch recognition.  A full season of Brignac should yield a 2.0-2.5 fWAR season, conservatively.

The Rays deperately need bullpen help.  The Rays desperatley need to cut payroll.  In my opinion, they need to trade Bartlett now for cheap bullpen help and save the money and pray the market stays away from Grant Balfour because of his Type A status.

December 1, 2010 at 1:02 pm 1 comment


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