(Or how I learned to stop worrying and love SSS).
Currently, TI is batting .250/.327/.330 for a whopping OPS of .657 and a OPS+ of 72. The Giants as a whole have an OPS+ of 39 at 1b relative to the rest of baseball.
Ouch. Clearly the blackest hole in the lineup.
So after TI's big game yesterday, I thought I'd look at his detailed stats and see if I could figure out what was going on.
I mainly looked at HR related stuff, because I can remember several deep fly balls that he has hit this year that, if either in a different park OR different conditions would have certainly been out. He's seemed a little snakebit so far this year with the long ball. One in SD in particular was about 2 feet from landing in the short porch, but instead landed in Giles' glove.
I was right. While his FB % is high - 40%... his HR/FB is incredibly low. A measly 3.8%. His K rate and BB rate are essentially the same as last year, as is his BABIP.
In a similarly sized sample last year, TI hit .274/.337/.432. A line I think today we would all be happy with (and combined with his above average defense, a line that might make him close to a league average 1b and certainly not the teams biggest problem.)
If we go ahead and regress his HR/FB rate, it gives us approximately 3 HR's thusfar (which, coincidentally, is how many he had last year w/ approximately the same sized sample, and how many I would think is reasonable based on watching him play.)
If I then pretend that essentially 2 of his deep fly balls had eeked over the fence instead of being caught for outs, his line this year looks like .270/.342/.410.
OPS of .742.
Again, a line I think we would all be a lot happier with. What does this mean? I think Travis is who we thought he was, and his supressed line so far this season is due essentially to a lack of power (everything else looks identical to last year, K%, BB%, OBP%, Etc.).
Because of the size of the sample, his lack of power can be very easily attributed to a little bad luck.
This also means that I am less enthusiastic about making a trade for 1b, because I think TI is probably capable of doing reasonably well there for us, assuming we continue to have faith in him and maybe find a reasonable platoon mate (Jesus?).
Also: Warning on Nick Johnson, benefactor of a .395 BABIP so far this season.