There’s something about Xavier Nady that’s kind of impressive. It’s not that he’s really a good player, but rather that he’s A) always hurt and B) somehow managed to still get chances to play baseball every year. Since Nady’s 127 OPS+ season in 2008, he’s gone on to hit .240/.289/.349 from 2009-2012 in 720 plate appearances. Or, if you like crazy new fangled statistics, that’s a 70 OPS+. Seventy oh-pee-es-plus.
So, that’s the B-part of his amazing Xavier Nadyness, but the A-part probably has something to do with the B-part: Xavier Nady gets hurt a lot, oh goodness does he get hurt a lot.
stroll hobblelimp down injury lane:
2012/07/21 Missed 22 games (right wrist injury).
2012/06/25 Right wrist injury, 15-day DL (retroactive to June 24).
2011/10/07 Missed the last 43 games of the regular season and 5 playoff games (fractured left hand).
2011/08/13 Fractured left hand, 15-day DL.
2009/07/31 Transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL (elbow injury)
2009/04/15 Elbow injury, early September.
2008/08/02 Missed 1 game (quadricep injury).
2008/08/01 Quadricep injury, day-to-day.
2008/06/27 Missed 9 games (left shoulder injury).
2008/06/15 Left shoulder injury, day-to-day.
Wrists, quads, hands, hamstrings, elbows, lips, eyeballs, ear drums, nasal passages, elbows again. If it’s a body part, Nady’s probably injured it at some point. I stopped at 2008, but look at the list for yourself, it’s not a pretty sight. Unfortunately, some guys can’t stay healthy and in Nady’s case, he looks like one of those guys.
So, when I read stuff like this from Bruce Bochy, I get it. Giants left fielders have been a mess in the post-Melky existence we call “now.”
That’s the production from non-Melky left fielders. There’s nary a plus-600 OPS performance to be found (well, Nady is in there with a 1.056 OPS, but you catch my drift). So, while Gregor Blanco’s early start the year was fun while it lasted, his recent slump over the past three months has brought his seasonal — overall and not just in LF — line down to .236/.331/.336 (92 OPS+). Blanco isn’t a terrific option, but you already knew that. However, I do think Blanco’s defense and baserunning are enough to separate himself from a guy like Xavier Nady. The ZiPS rest-of-season projections for Nady peg him at a .278 wOBA. On the other side of things, Blanco is at a .304 wOBA. A projection system like ZiPS is going to be really, really down on a player that’s been so bad for the past four years. That’s kind of how projections work. Betting on Nady to start hitting again is a poor bet, and we know for sure that Blanco’s defense and speed are very good right now. His bat isn’t as good as we saw earlier in the year, and he’s looked atrocious lately, but he’s still probably better than, or at least equal to, 2012 Xavier Nady.
Not to take the post into the direction of Brandon Belt, but if the team wants to take the defensive hit for the sake of getting someone who isn’t Blanco in LF, why not consider Brandon Belt, who by most metrics is the third or fourth best hitter on the team right now. I’m not a fan of moving Belt into LF — I much prefer him at first where he’s a very capable defender — but Belt in LF makes some level of sense for the team as currently constructed if the Giants are determined to play Posey at first base when he needs an off day from catching.
As far as I can tell, these are the universal truths of the current roster:
1. Buster Posey should always catch. Always. If he’s unable to, then either rest him, or move him to first base.
2. Pablo Sandoval should always play 3B; Angel Pagan should always play CF; Hunter Pence should always play RF; and, Marco Scutaro should always play 2B.
3. Brandon Belt should always play 1B unless Posey needs a day there; if so, move Belt to LF.
4. Platooning shortstop — Arias vs. LHP; Crawford vs. RHP — is a good idea.
Left field is still a mess, but if the Giants want to platoon things — Nady vs. LHP; Blanco vs. RHP — that’s a passable solution. It gets Nady into a favorable platoon advantage and it protects Blanco a little from LHP — who he has a career .614 OPS against. Truthfully, though, the Giants don’t have much to lose by sticking with Blanco in LF over the remainder of the year. Neither Blanco nor Nady is going to provide much, but if I have to chose a non-Belt solution, I’m taking the guy that can actually play good defense and run like the wind.