Here’s the deal: I really have enjoyed watching Freddy Sanchez play as a Giant.
That might sound a tad bit weird, but it’s true. Freddy Sanchez has been, for the most part, what I like to term a “Good Giant”. He seems like a likeable guy, he’s been a decent player for the Giants, and he was on the field in 2010 when the Giants won the World Series. Those things combined will always endear Freddy Sanchez to me. This isn’t rocket algebra.
And yet, there’s a part of me that’s kind of concerned about Giants second basemen next season.
I’ll break it down in two easy-to-read bullet points.
- Freddy Sanchez gets hurt a lot.
- Mike Fontenot and Emmanuel Burris are a single sproing away from a full-time gig.
This, being Bay City Ball, here’s a simple graph that depicts Freddy Sanchez’s plate appearances by baseball age.
We know that second basemen, as a historical player-group, don’t age well. By their mid-30s they tend to be old, broken, and ineffective. Freddy Sanchez will be 34-years-old in 2012. Back to the graph, take notice of that nasty red line … it’s going down, down, down.
The magical ZiPS computer has Freddy Sanchez at an 87 OPS+ — meaning that he’s projected to hit 13 percent below league average. That’s about ten points off Sanchez’s career OPS+. Not terrible production, and if you factor in Sanchez’s age with his player-group it seems quite reasonable. If you assume that Sanchez is playing his usual above-average defense, it’s a line you can live with.
I’m fully aware that January is kind of early to worry about this stuff, but this latest quote on Sanchez from the Giants’ motherpage has me a little concerned.
“I want to and I feel like I’ll be able to [play in exhibitions],” said Sanchez, who participated in a Giants strength and conditioning camp here last month and intends to take part in another one in a couple of weeks. “But at the same time, I’ll go by what the trainers want. I want to be smart.”
Freddy may or may not be ready to play in exhibition baseball this coming spring. Gulp.
It’s a gulp-worthy statement because while I like Mike Fontenot as much as the next guy, he’s going to be stretched as a full-time starter; and, everything else (scouting, statistics, small children) tells us that Emmanuel Burriss is terrible at baseball. So, for the Giants, Freddy Sanchez’s health will be a major topic in 2012. I think if the Giants can get 120 games out of him they’ll consider it a victory.
A little bit of crowd-sourcing before I end this post: How many plate appearances will Freddy Sanchez get in 2012?