The Other Fifteen

Eighty-five percent of the f---in' world is working. The other fifteen come out here.

Throwdown to Showdown! Theriot vs. DeRosa

Two people (which is a not-insubstantial proportion of my readership at this point) are curious about Ryan Theriot's defense, and how he stacks up compared to the league average. One specifically wants to know how he stacks up against the Cubs 2007 MVP-in-Spirit, Mark DeRosa. (Derrek Lee being the MVP-in-Fact.)

Well, I'm happy to oblige. Welcome to Thunderdome. Two scrappy, white middle infielders enter; one scrappy, white middle infielder leaves.

Mark DeRosa was +2.5 Batting Runs compared to the league average in 2007; Ryan Theriot was -22.8 Batting Runs. (It turns out that SS, 2B and CF hit for roughly the league average. This doesn't matter so much just comparing the two, but it's useful to note.)

But what about next season? I would expect DeRosa's offense to fall of a bit, and Theriot's to improve by a bit. CHONE sees DeRosa as being right around league average, and Theriot to be -12 compared to average. ZiPS sees DeRosa about 2-3 runs below average, Theriot roughly -15. So 12 runs different on offense, or about a win.

The short answer on defense: Sean Smith makes his defensive projections available; they're not the best projections on defense but they're the best readily available. (MGL's UZR defensive projections are probably the best I'm aware of, but UZR is published sporadically at best.) The projection sees Theriot defensively at -1 at shortstop, and DeRosa at -6.

So between the two, I'd say that DeRosa is the better choice at shortstop between the two. Both of them would be below-average shortstops, but I think we had all figured that out already.

This is just a quick, cursory look at the question; I plan on doing some posts in a while that go more in-depth into offensive and defensive metrics in general, and may touch on the specific merits (or lack thereof) of Ryan Theriot more when I do.

For those curious - CHONE has Cedeno at -6 on offense, and ZiPS has him about even with Theriot. The defensive projections see Cedeno as even with Theriot.

Edit: If you believe ZiPS, then your best infield (with current personnel) is probably: Lee, Fontenot, DeRosa, Ramirez. (Fontenot is -11 at shortstop, if you're curious.) If you believe CHONE, then it's Lee, DeRosa, Cedeno, Ramirez.

Labels: , , , , , ,

10 Responses to “Throwdown to Showdown! Theriot vs. DeRosa”

  1. # Anonymous Samael

    I enjoy your site, keep posting this interesting information. I agree with you, btw, about the difference being less than half a win defensively, and not really being comparable offensively.  

  2. # Blogger Andy

    ZIPS says Fontenot? Seriously? Like, for real? In the starting lineup?  

  3. # Blogger Colin Wyers

    On the supposition that its other choices are Ryan Theriot and Ronny Cedeno, and that DeRosa is playing shortstop, then that's my reading of the projections. It has Fontenot putting up a reasonable .268/.333/.412 performance.

    Given defense, DeRosa is still a good deal more valuable player than Fontenot. And in an ideal world we'd go out and get a real shortstop somewhere. And CHONE, for its part, sees Fontenot hitting like Theriot rather than hitting like DeRosa, in which case his utility as even a backup infielder is questionable.  

  4. # Anonymous DeRoMyHero

    Perhaps we can ask another question. Assume Sori, Dome, Ramy, DLee, and Soto are at their normal positions -- batting order TBD. Assume that each player named below can play "ML adequate" defense at the position listed. Which of these groups would make the Cubs the best they can be offensively?

    1. DeRo (2B), Riot (SS), Pie (CF).
    2. Roberts (2B), Riot (SS), DeRo (CF) -- Pie traded
    3. Roberts (2B), Riot (SS), Pie(CF) -- Colvin/Gallagher traded, DeRo traded
    4. Roberts (2B), DeRo (SS), Fuld (CF) -- Riot benched, Pie traded
    5. DeRo (2B), Khalil Greene (SS), Pie (CF) -- Murton/Gallagher/Colvin traded

    Keep up the good work!  

  5. # Blogger Colin Wyers

    Off the top of my head, just on offense I'd rank them:

    5, 4, 2, 3, 1

    Factor in defense (so that we're including both), and:

    5, 3, 1, 2, 4

    So if you're looking to find the player with less value than Ryan Theriot, ladies and gentlemen - Sam Fuld!

    This should also highlight how much Khalil Greene would upgrade the team. The question is, is he more valuable than Sean Gallagher, and would it take Sean Gallagher to land him.  

  6. # Anonymous Maddog

    Nice article, cwyers. I've been saying for some time DeRosa should be playing SS if we somehow get Roberts. I just don't know you justify having a superior player (DeRosa) sitting the bench and only playing in spot roles when an inferior player (Theriot) plays ever day. You can't justify it, but I imagine we'll hear Lou and Hendry try to justify it, which could be entertaining.  

  7. # Blogger Colin Wyers

    I honesly think that Roberts is a better candidate to move to shortstop than DeRosa, maddog. Even then I'm left wondering if Khalil Greene wouldn't provide more value at a lower cost.  

  8. # Anonymous Maddog

    I don't know, Colin. I think common sense tells us that a guy like Roberts would be better suited for shortstop than DeRosa, but I'm not sure it's true. To the best of my knowledge, DeRosa was never moved away from shortstop because he couldn't field the position. He played back-up to guys like Furcal and Michael Young in his career and obviously isn't better than either of those guys. Roberts was, however, moved away from shortstop quickly as his defense was rather poor.

    Khalil Greene would be a very wise investment for the Cubs and Jim Hendry. He'd probably provide league average hitting once he moved away from PETCO and he's better suited, defensively, for shortstop than I think any option we've talked about. I don't know if the Padres would trade him, but you'd think Towers would have some interest in a package that included Cedeno and a pitching prospect or two. It appears Greene doesn't want to re-sign with the Padres so trading him makes sense.

    The unfortunate thing is that the Cubs just don't have interest in finding a replacement for Ryan Theriot. I suspect that will chance by June 1st though.  

  9. # Blogger Colin Wyers

    Khalil Greene provides league-average offense in PETCO. I think he could do wonderful things in Wrigley. Too bad Hendry and Towers both seem uninterested, huh?  

  10. # Anonymous Maddog

    Good point regarding Greene and league average offense in PETCO.

    We were talking about what he might be able to do recently on my site and I think the conclusion that some of us came to was that it's not at all unreasonable to think he could post an .850 OPS if he played 81 games in Wrigley least for the next year or two. He'd end up being one of the better shortstops in the NL.

    I really don't understand the team's fascination with Theriot and how they don't consider shortstop a weakness.  

Post a Comment

Links to this post

Create a Link