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Which hitters meet Farhan Zaidi’s criteria?

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The front office will be focusing on these two qualities in their search for hitters who can make the 2020 team better.

Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The only part of today’s season-ending wrap up by Farhan Zaidi that grabbed my attention was a declaration of the two main qualities he and the front office are looking for with any potential hitter: power and “hitting profiles or track records of hitting in this park.”

The Giants were obviously a very, very, very, very, very, very, extraordinarily, extremely poor power team last year and the year before and the year before and — well, basically, since 2014, the last time their team ISO (.133) was anywhere close to middle of the pack (17th in MLB). Otherwise, they’ve been a bottom five team in pure power hitting, and other than 2015 and 2016, they haven’t even had a league average offense. Period.

So, power will be critical, regardless of what Oracle Park’s new dimensions might be. That’s where the “track records of hitting in this park” line really stood out. It makes sense, of course. 81 games in one spot — the team should have players who can handle the place.

But with those ballpark dimensions on the verge of changing and Oracle becoming therefore getting maybe a bit more neutral, they need to move on from “good Oracle hitters”, because that doesn’t mean anything at this point. Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, and Brandon Belt were all good Oracle Hitters . . . until Statcast ruined everything.

Seriously, here’s the list of Giants with at least 600 PA at Oracle Park from 2010-2016, sorted by wOBA:

(Yes, I could’ve sorted by wRC+, but I didn’t, and Gregor Blanco is highlighted because I didn’t notice it until I had already uploaded the picture.)

Now, any time Brandon Belt is the top of any list, I know I’m sure to get the armada of angry people whose lives have personally been ruined by other people liking Brandon Belt, so to mollify this sizable contingent, yes, that .363 home wOBA isn’t among the best home hitter marks in baseball. It’s just 56th in baseball for the 2010-2016 run. And Belt, of course, wasn’t even on the team in 2010. His home wOBA is just a few points better over this same span than J.D. Martinez (.360) and tied with Manny Machado. And, ISO-wise, his .176 is just 123rd.

Now here’s the list of Giants with at least 100 PA at Oracle Park from 2017-2019, sorted by wOBA:

Sure, the Giants could bring back 31-year old Jarrett Parker, but something tells me he doesn’t totally profile as what the Giants are looking for. Then again — maybe?

This is a pretty depressing list of failure and shows just how far the legacy players have fallen. But it’s also clear just how much help Kevin Pillar, Mike Yastrzemski, and Stephen Vogt provided this year. Who else like them might the Giants pursue in the offseason?

Strictly speaking, power + a positive track record at the park doesn’t exactly set us on our course. What kind of power? What kind of track record? First thing I’m going to do is look for non-Giants hitters with at least 30 PA in their career at Oracle Park and who will be 29 or younger next season, and then filter from there.

Home Run Leaders (Top 5)

  1. Nolan Arenado - 11
  2. Wil Myers - 9
  3. Matt Duffy - 8
  4. Kris Bryant / Ketel Marte / Christian Yelich / Joc Pederson / Corey Seager / Hunter Renfroe / Bryce Harper - 4
  5. Max Muncy - 3

Arenado just signed an extension, and it’s perhaps cheating to put all those tied with 4 on the same list, but let’s just focus on Myers, whom one of the Padres’ owners wants to move —

— and Matt Duffy, a non-tender candidate of the Rays who hasn’t hit for any power since the Giants traded him there.

They’re both options by virtue of possibly being available, though the commitment to Myers is far greater ($20+ million/year for the next three seasons before San Diego kicked in money).

ISO Leaders (Top 5)

Your ISO refresher, per MLB.com:

ISO measures the raw power of a hitter by taking only extra-base hits -- and the type of extra-base hit -- into account.

For example, a player who goes 1-for-5 with a double has an ISO of .200.

  1. Max Muncy - .326
  2. Ronald Acuna Jr. - .311
  3. Matt Chapman - .307
  4. Kris Bryant - .302
  5. Ketel Marte - .287

Muncy’s going nowhere. Acuna Jr. just signed an extension, so did Ketel Marte. And Chapman won’t be arbitration eligible for the first time until next offseason. So, here’s Kris Bryant on the second consecutive list.

Here’s an article about the nonzero chance of the Cubs trading Kris Bryant this offseason. Yes, it’s an extremely remote possibility that he’s in play, but Chicago’s ask might be too steep for the Giants to contemplate.

For more context, the league average ISO this past season was .187. Last year, .165. The year before, .175. I’m going to say .173 is about the absolute minimum for the search going forward, unless there’s news that the baseball will be altered again. So, there are other possibilities beyond these likely unattainable five.

Here’s the entire list of players with a minimum of 30 PA, have posted at least a .173 ISO there, and will be 29 or younger to start 2020.

David Dahl - .282
Josh Bell - .279
Christian Yelich - .274
Wil Myers - .271
Stephen Piscotty - .271
Scott Schebler - .250
Garrett Hampson - .250
Javier Baez - .240
Eugenio Suarez - .238
Travis Jankowski - .238
Rhys Hoskins - .222
Randal Grichuk - .219
Nolan Arenado - .216
Jake Lamb - .215
Joc Pederson - .210
Michael Conforto - .206
Marcell Ozuna - .205
Manny Machado - .202
Albert Almora - .200
Michael A. Taylor - .189
Kyle Schwarber - .189
Alen Hanson - .187
Hunter Renfroe - .180
JT Realmuto - .178
Jeff McNeil - .178
Cody Bellinger - .176

I highlighted 13 players I thought might be available.

wOBA Leaders (Top 5)

Your wOBA refresher, from MLB.com:

wOBA is a version of on-base percentage that accounts for how a player reached base -- instead of simply considering whether a player reached base. The value for each method of reaching base is determined by how much that event is worth in relation to projected runs scored (example: a double is worth more than a single).

So, this is a look at players who both have hit for power and hit pretty well overall at Oracle:

  1. Kris Bryant - .453
  2. Max Muncy - .447
  3. Ketel Marte - .424
  4. Travis Jankowski / Matt Chapman - .422
  5. Stephen Piscotty - .419

For context, the league average wOBA this year was .325. It was .320 last season and .326 the year before. Let’s take a look at this filtered group again and find the guys with wOBA between oh, .340 and .400 at Oracle:

Christian Yelich - .414
Garrett Hampson - .392
Ronald Acuna Jr - .392
Rhys Hoskins - .389
Trea Turner - .387
Wilmer Flores - .385
Josh Bell - .371
Yasiel Puig - .362
Kolten Wong - .362
Cody Bellinger - .362
Scott Schebler - .362
Wil Myers - .360
Marcell Ozuna - .360
Michael Conforto - .355
Joc Pederson - .354
Randal Grichuk - .348
Nolan Arenado - .347
Manny Machado - .344
Eugenio Suarez - .342
Jeff McNeil - .340

I highlighted five players who might be available. Puig and Ozuna are free agents, Myers looks to be a trade candidate, and Grichuk is on a franchise who still looks to be rebuilding. The Giants also already dealt with the Blue Jays at the beginning of this season when they dealt for Kevin Pillar, so, there’s some familiarity between the two organizations. Schebler got just 81 at bats with the Reds this year because of a multitude of injuries. He looks like another Alex Dickerson case, which means the Giants could gamble on him, too.

But this is all inexact. What if the Giants aren’t limiting their search to 29 and younger? What if they’re willing to go with a hitter as old as 31 or 32? What if they’re not interested in a player’s career but instead the last couple of years?

Well, in that case, here’s the list of the ten best players by wRC+ (since it adjusts for park effect) from 2017-2019 (min. 20 PA), who will be as old as 32 to start next season and, to really filter this sucker, had an ISO of .200 or better:

  1. Stephen Piscotty - .394
  2. Christian Yelich - .386
  3. Harrison Bader - .385
  4. Randal Grichuk - .333
  5. Max Muncy - .326
  6. Wil Myers - .326
  7. Scooter Gennett - .320
  8. Travis Shaw - .320
  9. Matt Szczur - .318
  10. Jedd Gyorko - .316
  11. Ronald Acuna Jr - .310
  12. Matt Chapman - .308
  13. Wilmer Flores - .304
  14. JD Martinez - .300
  15. Kris Bryant - .300
  16. Ketel Marte - .287
  17. Josh Bell - .279
  18. Manny Machado - .267
  19. Scott Schebler - .267
  20. Tucker Barnhart - .263
  21. Brian Dozier - .261
  22. Adam Duvall - .259
  23. Robbie Grossman - .250
  24. Garrett Hampson - .250
  25. Eugenio Suarez - .225
  26. Joc Pederson - .222
  27. Rhys Hoskins - .222
  28. Jose Martinez - .216
  29. Yasiel Puig - .213
  30. Travis Jankowski - .206
  31. Michael Conforto - .206
  32. Michael A. Taylor - .200
  33. Jose Osuna - .200

I think you’d agree that as great as it’d be to have hitters who can hit at Oracle Park, it’d be even better to have hitters who could hit in any park. Of the 20 players on this list who might be available because of free agency or rumors, here’s the bunch who were at least league average hitters this past season (100 wRC+):

  1. JD Martinez - 139
  2. Kris Bryant - 135
  3. Matt Szczur (Triple-A) - 129
  4. Adam Duvall - 121
  5. Wilmer Flores - 120
  6. Jose Osuna - 110
  7. Jose Martinez - 101
  8. Yasiel Puig - 101
  9. Brian Dozier - 100

Not on these last two lists is Jason Heyward, who had a 101 wRC+ in 2019 but has just a .133 ISO in his past two seasons at Oracle despite 7 career home runs there. This just goes to show that as much as we can hunt to try to keep up with the front office, they’re considering multiple angles simultaneously.

Who do you think the Giants might target? Who do you prefer they go after?