By Jason Wojciechowski on October 31, 2012 at 11:42 PM
You'll forgive, I hope, a bit of an odds 'n' ends approach today, given that I have 2500 words already under my belt tonight about the recent history of Gold Glove voting (look for that one on Baseball Prospectus) and no big news came out about the A's today.
Sean Davis here, in enthusing over Josh Reddick's Gold Glove award, argues that he established himself as a cornerstone who needs to be on the team long-term. Call me so far unconvinced.
Let's start with what should be uncontroversial: Reddick was worth about two to two-and-a-half wins above replacement this season based on his bat, baserunning, and position. (His VORP was 20.6, his fWAR without the defense (UZR) component was 23.5, and his oWAR on Baseball-Reference was 2.6.) That's a pretty good baseball player, but to get to cornerstone level, we'd have to believe that either he's genuinely a +15 to +20 defender (note that FRAA pegs him at more like +4) or that his offense will improve.
It's possible that he really is that good, but I suspect he's not. Don't teams tend to take players who are that good on defense a bit seriously as potential center fielders? The A's used him in the position in a pinch, but as I understand it, there is almost no thought that he's really a middle-of-the-diamond player masquerading as a cornerman until the spot clears up. This isn't proof, but one wonders.
As to the bat, Reddick simply has a long of swing-and-miss in his game. He's not unwilling to take a walk, but he whiffs. Whiffs lower your batting average and mean you need even more walks to have a decent on-base percentage. They're not the end of the world, of course, but they essentially limit the upside of Reddick's bat.
I like Josh Reddick a lot. He's fun to watch and he is indisputably a good player. But I wouldn't declare him a cornerstone just yet.
(Also, hitting with runners in scoring position isn't a skill at the major-league level.)
Here's another deep dive on Dan Straily. I'm not sure there's anything new in it that you haven't read before.
I would discourage this type of analysis of a coaching staff whereby major-league coaches are given credit for things like Sean Doolittle's rise and Chris Carter laying out pitches low and away. Also, baselines. Tye Waller is good because he records times and stuff that help basestealers? Fine, but are there first-base coaches who don't do that? Mike Gallego has been bad at sending runners? Fine, you remember guys getting thrown out, but how about compared to average? (Note: the A's were the third-best team in baseball at advancing on hits and were about average at advancing on balls in the air.)