A little late getting to this news. Curse you home ownership!
He’s versatile! He’s gamery! He’s Mark DeRosa! It’s been a quiet offseason to this point for the Giants, but the recent addition of Mark DeRosa to a 2-year deal worth $12M breaks up some of the monotony. I’m not sure it’s great news, but it’s news. Let’s check out a few numbers.
What the Giants get
The soon-to-be 35-year-old has played 12 seasons in the MLB starting in 1998. He didn’t accumulate more than 100 PA’s in a season until 2001 with the Braves. DeRosa is mainly known for his ability to be a league average hitter that can play all over the diamond. Over DeRosa’s career he’s played at every position on the field except for C and CF. He owns a career wOBA of .334 which places him firmly as a league average for a hitter.
By using FanGraph’s new wRC+, we can get a sense of how DeRosa’s bat has played since 2001. If you’re new to wRC+, think of it as FanGraph’s version of OPS+ but based on the linear-weights wOBA. From FanGraphs:
As you may have noticed, there’s now an extra column in the “Advanced” section for batting stats called “wRC+”. You can think of this stat as a wOBA based version of OPS+. It’s park and league adjusted and it’s on a very similar scale as OPS+. The difference is that it uses wRC, which is based on wOBA.
Just like OPS+ a score of 100 indicates a league average hitter. Let’s check out his graph.
DeRosa had a disastrous 2004 but other than that off-year, he’s been close to league average as a hitter — peaking in 2008 with a wRC+ score of 128. Both CHONE and ZiPS have DeRosa projected as a league average hitter — give or take a couple of runs — in 2010. In continuing with the league average theme, DeRosa’s career BB% (8.6), K% (19.1), and ISO (.149) scores are all essentially league average.
So, as a hitter, the Giants have added a league average player. But how does DeRosa play on defense? Here are his career UZR/150 scores by position. Also included are his total innings played at each position.
DeRosa has primarily been a 2B/3B over his career and at each position he rates at -6 to -7 runs below average. By the 2009 Fan Scouting Reports, as a third basemen, DeRosa had an average ranking of 3.27 — that places him somewhere between Juan Uribe and Adam Kennedy at the hot corner. Pablo Sandoval and Mark DeRosa were actually pretty comparable in 2009 at third. Of course Sandoval doesn’t have near the same amount of time logged at third base, but his career UZR/150 of -3.6 runs is in the same neighborhood as DeRosa’s -6.5 runs. DeRosa has rated quite well in the OF over his career. His UZR/150 rating in RF is fantastic. Early reports indicate that the Giants aren’t ready to name DeRosa’s position just yet. If the team decides to push Sandoval across the diamond to first base because of DeRosa, I like this deal a good bit less. If the team decides to play him in LF — where he’ll most likely be a plus-defender — then I’ll move from ‘dislike’ to ‘at-least-he’s-not-Velez’.
The price for DeRosa is fine. He’s getting paid like a 1.5 win player when he’s projected closer a 2 win player. It’s a deal that’s not going to kill the Giants (both in dollars and length) but I do have to question DeRosa’s impact if Juan Uribe’s rumored return turns out to be true. If Uribe comes back, then I’m not sure what the point of Mark DeRosa is. Uribe is by far a better defender in the infield which makes DeRosa a LF. And when you compare DeRosa to other options on the roster in LF (Fred Lewis or John Bowker) I’m not sure he’s an upgrade. How many super-utility men do the Giants need?
And with DeRosa’s wrist injury and age, there’s a bit of volatility in the equation, too. Mark DeRosa isn’t a bad signing, I just think it’s an uninspired one.