Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Eric Chavez Needs More At Bats

How about this guy?

After seeing Eric Chavez hit a run-scoring ball to RF in the 3rd inning of Wednesday night's game I was thinking, "there's no way they can keep him out of the lineup when ARod returns". So I decided to take a look at some stats.

In the last 28 days Andruw Jones is hitting a lowly .122/.229/.195 in 48 plate appearances. So taking at bats away from him is a no-brainer. Even if you chalk up Andruw's last 28 days as a slump, and look at his season numbers, things don't get any better. His line for the 2012 season so far sits at .213/.297/.455.

Yeah, things just aren't going so well this year, Andruw.

Over the last four weeks Raul Ibanez is hitting .279/.343/.492 in 67 plate appearances, and his season line is .250/.312/.469. For the record I think the "real" Raul is closer to his season averages than his last 28 day averages, after all this is a guy that hit .245/.289/.419 in 2011.

Then we come to Mr. Chavez, who is hitting .316/.381/.614 over the last 28 days, and .293/.350/.540 on the year. Now, Eric did only hit .263/.320/.356 in 2011, so perhaps he's hitting "out of his head" this season. But don't you think the Yankees may as well take a shot at giving Chavez more at bats, even it they're just "riding the wave"?

In my opinion the question isn't "which of Jones, Ibanez, or Chavez get the majority of at bats?" The question in my mind is "should Chavez play 3B, and ARod DH, when Rodriguez returns from the DL?"

Assuming Alex doesn't jump ship to the NFL. The Jets would surely be interested.

Looking at each players UZR/150 (not my favorite stat, but probably the best one we have for defense), the choice doesn't clear up. Chavez's UZR/150 so far this year is -11.5, while Alex's is -12.5. Sure, Eric's is better, so the choice seems clear, but that's just too close (not to mention the issues with the stat itself) for me to say for sure one way or the other.

Even if you look at the past few years these two have played the hot corner the choice doesn't really clear up. ARod had an outlier season in 2011, when he had a UZR/150 of 20.2 at 3B, while Chavez had a 9.5 that was more like his glory days in Oakland. In the three years before that both players have been below average third basemen.

What it comes down to me is health. Yeah, swinging a bat is not great for somebody with hand issues like Alex, so it's not like he's "safe" DHing every day. But it's a hell of a lot better for him to stay off the field, where he can simply lose his balance bending for a ball, put all his weight on his hand, and mess it up again.

Did you not listen to Jimmy Dugan? There's no crying in baseball!

So matter what order Girardi wants to put the guys, the majority of games should have Chavez at 3B and ARod at DH for the rest of 2012.


  1. The problem is durability. You give the guy 4 straight days of playing and he misses a weekend series with a back issue...

  2. Yeah, he'd clearly need 1-2 days off a week, but I'm thinking about this as the "regular" lineup.


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