Austin Barnes Making a Case To Be On The 25-Man Roster

To this day, many people still think the Dodgers made a mistake by trading All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon to the Miami Marlins, basically for Howie Kendrick. Gordon went on to win a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger last season as well as the batting title. What most people forget is that Howie Kendrick was not the only player that the Dodgers received in the deal.

The Dodgers also acquired three other players in the deal, two of which have already made significant contributions. Chris Hatcher was a big part of the Dodgers bullpen last season and looks to do the same this year. Kike Hernandez played a crucial role in the Dodgers winning their third straight division title by taking over in center field for a struggling Joc Pederson.

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The third player the Dodgers acquired in the trade, Austin Barnes, could end up being the most valuable in 2016. Entering his age 26 season, Barnes has proven he is major league ready during spring training with 4 home runs as well as a .375/.483/.875 slash line. He also leads the team in runs scored (7), RBI (8), and walks (5). He has played so well that he is not only making a case to be on the 25-man roster, he is even making a case to take over as the #2 catcher over veteran AJ Ellis.

Although Barnes is not a proven player by any means, he clearly has much more potential than the aging AJ Ellis. Entering his age 35 season, Ellis has a career .241 batting average and has hit only .214 over the last two seasons. He has also combined for only 10 home runs and 46 RBI in that same time span. He has been Clayton Kershaw’s personal catcher during that time, but rookie manager Dave Roberts has made it clear that those days are over.

Even if Barnes does not take over as the #2 catcher, he brings much more value to the team than just his catching abilities. Barnes also plays second base and even has got some time at third base. In fact, Barnes played 151 games at second base in the minors over the past two seasons. Although the Dodgers are considered one of the deepest teams in baseball already, it never hurts to have a player on the team that plays multiple positions, especially when one of those positions is catcher.


Injuries are inevitable for every team and the Dodgers have already suffered their fair share before the season has begun. Included on the list of injured players are second baseman Howie Kendrick, third baseman Justin Turner, and catcher Yasmani Grandal, all positions that Barnes can play. Although Grandal’s injury is only a bruised right forearm and he is expected to return this week, he has already shown signs of being injury-prone in his young career. Grandal disputes this as he had this to say about his injuries:

“A lot of times I’ve been put as this guy who gets hurt all the time, where my injuries have been caused by something else and it hasn’t been my body breaking down. It hasn’t been that I haven’t been healthy, it’s just one of those things.”

Grandal has landed on the disabled list multiple times in his career and has had multiple surgeries, the most notable being repairing a torn ACL and MCL in 2013. He also had surgery this offseason on his left shoulder to repair his left AC joint. Dodgers fans hope that the 2015 All-Star can stay healthy and become a mainstay in the Dodgers lineup, but having a player like Barnes around just in case would be a great idea.

Watch for Austin Barnes to make a huge impact this season and show why the Dodgers front office knew exactly what they were doing when they traded Dee Gordon to the Marlins.

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Written by Chris Wolf

Chris was born in raised in Southern California where he attended CSULB. As a lifelong fan, Chris has strong opinions about all things Dodgers. He lives in the Bay Area, but proudly wears his Dodger Blue whenever he can. He is also the founder and editor of Dodgers Chatter.


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  1. Chris I think many of us are not Grandal fans. I really like Barnes. He is a much better defensive catcher and is a contact hitter so has a much better OBP than Grandal. Plus Gradal is one fo those guys that gets hurt no matter what he says.
    The trade for Gordon looks better when you factor in Barnes so that you get 3 starters for 1 player. But Gordon has the speed component we truly missed last year. And he won the Silver Slugger…Had the Team been smart and kept Heaney and not traded for Kendrick I would say it was a big win as Heaney looks to be a very good top of the Rotation Guy in a year or two. 
    But I like Barnes a lot.

  2. Michael Norris I agree Michael and he is a very solid contact hitter with a very good OBP and has a little power…

  3. Tmaxster I don’t really know too many people who aren’t Grandal fans.  I wouldn’t categorize Barnes as a better overall hitter.  Grandal brings a lot more power than Barnes.  The 4 HR for Barnes is a pretty significant jump in ISO for him compared to his minor league track record – meaning he profiles, at best, as a 10-12 HR guy at the major league level with a full season of at-bats.  Grandal easily profiles at double that rate.  And actually, Grandal profiles as a .260-.280 AVG type hitter, and was on track for that type of AVG for the season, but that shoulder injury completely sapped everything from him, and it hurt him a lot when he dropped into that 0 for what 30 AB spell.  Barnes profiles maybe a little better because he does make more overall contact, as indicated by his better K/BB ratio, but it isn’t as if Barnes profiles as a .300-.320 type hitter.  He has better speed too, and his defensive versatility is what gives him most of his defensive value.  Grandal can play catcher and 1B.  Barnes can play C, 2B, 3B, and even SS if absolutely necessary.  He does profile as a plus defender at C, 3B, and slightly plus at 2B, and probably slightly below average for SS, but still passable enough.  Grandal remember significantly improved his receiving and throwing defense last year, and has continued his reputation as a plus plus pitch framer.

  4. Nice to be three deep at the catcher’s position. Ellis is a free agent at the end of the season, so Barnes figures to stick with the big club starting in 2017, barring an injury to Grandal or Ellis this year. If Seager opens the season on the DL, Barnes might get his slot, but so might Johnson or Thompson. Grandal is still the better offensive player if he can stay healthy, but that’s a big if, given his history. The Gordon trade still looks like a loser to me. The Dodgers got three solid players, but Gordon has developed into a star and a game changer.

  5. yarritsblake Tmaxster Most people I know like Grandal as well. Nothing wrong with an All-Star catcher who has power. Been awhile since Dodgers had someone like that. Martin maybe? Lo Duca?

  6. yarritsblake Tmaxster  Profiles? Grandal has never come close to that number…..more like his career .241 if you ask me. I would not trust Grandal at first at all. Not that great a fielder. Barnes is a contact hitter, and much more versatile. Grandal still cannot block balls in the dirt worth a damn, and he has double the passed balls that Ellis has. This is most likely AJ’s last year as a Dodger, but having Barnes around makes the transition a lot easier…….

  7. ChrisWolfDC yarritsblake Tmaxster  Most people I know do not like the guy, and he was given a pass on his PED use……

  8. ChrisWolfDC yarritsblake Tmaxster Chris he is a poor defensive catcher and catcher is one of the most important defensive positions in baseball. He does not block pitches in the dirt well especially to his left. I think he is learning to call the game better from Ellis but is not a great hitter either with a low average. 
    Barnes is a better defensive catcher and will have a better avg and OBP. 

    The great news is we have 3 young guys in the farm system coming up with Barnes, Farmer and young phenom Deleon. So the Dodgers are in great shape for the future. 
    Once Barnes is up and has some experience and Farmer is ready I would trade Grandal as fast as I could…
    I do not know who you talk to but most of the “old Guys” I talk to and hang with that have watched a lot of baseball are not fond of Grandal. 

    And to quote Mike Scoscia who is my expert when it comes to catching Pitch Framing is a BS Stat…

  9. Blue58 Blue Amen to that. Yes Barnes if he eventually gets on the 25 man roster makes the trade better. But there are only 8 position guys on a team that can play at one time. So the value of a guy with speed that can steal bases and win the Silver Slugger at his position is huge…. 
    Kike and Barnes will be nice players and we are hoping Hatcher plays well but Gordon is a game changer. They are rare in baseball. And more valuable than three good Roster guys…

  10. Michael Norris Blue58 Yes, I know that’s the official story and here’s hoping it holds. But the Dodgers have a recent history of underplaying/misinterpreting/lying about how serious injuries may be. They indicated Brett Anderson’s injury was minor and the next thing you know, he’s undergoing surgery and out for most of the season. Rye was just taking a short break until it turned into a break that will last two months into the season. 
    Last year, Turner’s knee injury was revealed to be more serious than they told the media. There’s a pattern.
    I hope the reports of Seager’s injury are accurate, but I won’t be shocked if he’s out longer than first predicted.

  11. Michael Norris yarritsblake Tmaxster Yes Michael, profiles as a .260-.280 hitter.  He had a .310/.410/.485 minor league triple slash over the course of 5 seasons, 2067 plate appearances.  His first season in 2012 (60 games albeit) he hit .297, and then between injuries and his PED suspension in 2013-2014 he only hit .224/.332/.389, but still managed a .322 wOBA (good for 18th among catchers with 500 min PA’s) and a 108 wRC+ (good for 14th, same conditions).  Last season, before that shoulder injury, Grandal was slashing .285/.394/.500 with a .387 wOBA and 151 wRC+ through July 30th.  After July 30th, through the end of the season, he triple slashed .142/.277/.204 with a .233 wOBA and 46 wRC+.  If that isn’t a clear indication of playing injured, I don’t know what is Michael.  As for Grandal’s defense, he actually measured positively in most regards.  Let me elucidate:
    Passed Balls.  You brought up the AJ Ellis comp.  Grandal allowed 8 passed balls and 32 wild pitches in 884 1/3 innings caught.  A ratio of 0.08 PB and 0.33 WP per 9 innings.  Ellis allowed 3 PB and 18 WP in 492 innings caught.  Ratios of 0.05 PB and 0.33 WP per 9 innings.  Honestly, such a small difference, that the difference is honestly negligible and moot.  In terms of Defensive Runs Saved, Grandal was -3, Ellis 0. Considering the innings difference, not major.  Considering also Grandal, up until last year, had an abysmal 16.8% caught stealing percentage, his 29.1% caught stealing percentage is an enormous improvement.  Grandal is not known to be a defensive wizard, but he is very well known for being one of the best pitch framers in the league.  And to have his offensive upside to boot, only adds to his value.
    On the note of Austin Barnes, I was not in any way discounting his value.  I truly believe Barnes should be on the 25 man roster as he could be an invaluable role player off the bench and as a utility starter (similar to Kike Hernandez).  However, it is way too early to be saying he’ll be an amazing offensive threat.  His offensive ceiling would look something like this .280/.380/.420 – really great, but I still don’t think he’ll offer more offensively than the ceiling of Grandal.  And while he has drawn rave reviews about his defense behind the dish, there is also no indication that if he offers more value over Grandal in totality in the regard, let alone enough to make up for the potential differences in offensive value granted.

  12. Tmaxster ChrisWolfDC yarritsblake Tom, I am just as excited as you are for our catching depth, which is finally great for the first time in over a decade, however, Farmer isn’t necessarily young (in terms of prospects) at 25, and just played in AA for the first time in 2015 – and happens to be less than two years younger than Grandal.  His profile appears to be that of an Austin Barnes lite type player.  Same contact profile, just with a much lower BB rate and a good deal less over-the-fence power, as evidenced by his .784 OPS to Barnes’ .828, and has less versatility than Barnes defensively, though still able to aptly play multiple positions. Barnes may arguably be a better defender than Grandal, however, the question would then become, is he that much more valuable defensively than Grandal is offensively to justify his use over Grandal?  Think of someone like Kevin Pillar on the Blue Jays.  The Jays have better offensive options I’m sure, but none can outweigh Pillar’s defensive ability that forces the Jays to play him.  And in terms of OBP, Barnes and Grandal have very comparable BB rates – Grandal just tends to strike out a little more (most likely because he has double the over-the-fence power potential). Now, going into last year I was like you on Julian Leon – PUMPED!  He dominated a Rookie level ball at 18 years old!  I mean, how could you not get excited with a 150 wRC+ for an 18 year old catcher at rookie level ball?!  But last year he seemed very much overmatched a A-level ball.  Thus, his stock took a huge hit.  Now, how he performs this year could very well determine the direction of his prospect status.  Another rough year, and he could just fade into the background.  If he bounces back, he becomes a very intriguing prospect again.  The reports on his defense indicate he is very much rough around the edges.And on a final note with Grandal’s defensive chops, I already highlighted his passed ball and wild pitch rates per 9 innings in my other post.  Here are Buster Posey’s: 4 PB and 20 WP in 901 2/3 innings caught.  Good for 0.04 PB and 0.20 WP per 9 innings.  Again, I feel the differences between Grandal and other catchers is too small (especially regarding a more defensive minded catcher with less offensive ceiling) is not significant enough to justify benching Grandal in favor of someone like Barnes.  Barnes, at this point in time, is better suited to a backup catcher role, while filling in at 2B, 3B and SS as needed.

  13. Tmaxster ChrisWolfDC yarritsblake
    For however flawed, or useful, the stat Catcher’s ERA is, Grandal’s was 3.36 to Ellis’ 3.42.  There are so many factors that could factor into that stat, so it is very limited in its usefulness in the grand scheme, but it still shows when Grandal was catching, he had a better ERA, and with over 300 more innings caught.

  14. yarritsblake Michael Norris Tmaxster All great stats and information thank you. Still not a Grandal fan. I hope he has a great year and blows us a way and changes my mind. But I bet he gets hurt right after the AS game and lingers does not tell anyone how bad off he is and hurts the team like last year…
    The guys is arrogant in that he will play hurt and hurt the team rather than admit he cannot perform to the level that a back up can. I wold rather see Barnes play than an injured Grandal 
    He really hurt us in the playoffs…I do not forgive him for that…

  15. Blue58 Yes Barnes impress me, they should leave him alone, and let him be the best catcher that he can be. Few players can be really good at critical positions like catching and second base unless we want to be average at both positions. I think that Barnes has Allstar potential. He is the only one that came in that trade that might make us one day say it was worth while. I have no trust in Hatcher, although Kiki plug holes. I believe that the leadoff position sats the table for the next three hitters. Gordon made the pitchers predictable and how many leadoff hitters gets 200 hits and puts that kind of pressure on defenses. Carlos Stanton may hit 50 HR’s this season.

  16. Tmaxster yarritsblake Michael Norris I can understand the dislike of him.  I also agree that it is annoying when players let their pride get in the way of what is best for the team and ultimately them when they get injured.  I wouldn’t call him arrogant, just that he let his pride get in the way.  Many players have done that, are doing that, and will continue to do that.  I wouldn’t charge that as a knock against his character, just a flaw he shares with many other athletes whose competitive pride gets the better of them.

    And you are welcome for the stats.  I take a very objective approach to a lot in baseball and try to gather as much hard evidence before drawing conclusions.  I definitely see tons of potential in Barnes, but most of his appeal/upside is in that his floor is quite close to his ceiling, which cannot be said for many players.  I don’t see Barnes really failing at the major league level, and could very easily play to his potential.  The unfortunate side to that is that his ceiling potential is not amazing by any metrics.  Very solid and above average?  Most certainly.  Superstar, top five catcher in the league perennially?  Maybe not as much.

  17. yarritsblake Michael Norris Tmaxster  Projections mean bupkis…… me on the field. Since that first 60 games he has shown no such stats. His on base percentage is good because he walks a lot. As far as passed balls, he has twice as many as Ellis in a shorter career. He is a lousy game caller. And like Tom said the guy is arrogant. You could see it when he was a Padre. I do not like the guy, I wish they would trade is double play hitting into butt to Cleveland. Last year he KNEW he was hurt, and kept playing and in doing so hurt the team. He had no business playing in game 5. Some players you just never warm up to. Sutton was like that. A talented pitcher who was a bit of an arrogant ass…Grandal strikes me the same way… power aside, I would rather have AJ with health back there than Grandstand..

  18. Michael Norris yarritsblake Tmaxster  Michael you have always maintained your disdain for Grandal (not a complaint).  While not a full fledged advocate, I am more in his corner than not.  But everyone commenting on his playing hurt are not telling the full story.  No player wants to come out, but you are all giving Greinke (and Mattingly) a pass on this.  It was Greinke who wanted (insisted) Grandal to pitch to.  Greinke was having a CY type year, and while framing is not universally accepted as a measurable metric (or BS as some call it), Greinke liked Grandal and his framing.  In Greinke’s mind, he was more valuable as a pitcher, and the team had a better chance at winning, even with an injured Grandal.  Grandal is not going to volunteer to come out during a playoff run, so the decision should have been taken out of his hands.  That is why Mattingly is just as guilty of Grandal playing as anyone else.  There is no way, Greinke is not pitching to Grandal in game 5 of NLDS.

    So while it is fashionable to jump all over Grandal for the 2nd half of 2015, at least one very good pitcher thinks that Grandal is worthwhile as a catcher.  Many have commented on Grandal being arrogant; maybe yes, maybe no.  But the most arrogant player last year was Greinke.  I do not mind arrogance if it can be backed up, and Greinke certainly did that.

  19. This is the year for Grandal to either become the All Star Catcher that many of you say he is or the oft injured, arrogant, bad ball blocking defensive catcher many of us think he is. He was also a Double Play machine for most of last season in critical times during games.
    I will take Barnes or AJ if his back and legs are good.
    Also this is the Year to find out about young catcher Deleon. Is he going to be the great hitting catcher we initially saw or last years mess?
    He is young so we shall see….

  20. Michael Norris yarritsblake Tmaxster Respectfully Michael you are ignoring an enormous mountain of data and basing your “opinions” about Grandal, his defensive ability, and so on simply because you dislike the guy.  I don’t really get where you grab the “terrible defender” label you are slapping on Grandal from, because every defensive statistic shows he is at the very least average.  I never claimed that he is a better defender than Ellis, but you brought up the comp, so I provided you the largest, most recent sample size, and Grandal is marginally worse than Ellis.  The minor league track record for his offensive potential supports the triple slash he put up in his rookie season and the triple slash he put up through July 31st supports the projected numbers I have above.  I think you also are forgetting that Ellis had a triple slash of .218/.320/.318 which went for a .289 wOBA and 85 wRC+.  I could keep giving you facts if you like.  In the end though you are entitled to your opinion on the guy.  Whatever his personality may be, unless he is a clubhouse cancer (i.e. Mat Latos), or a PR/outside the clubhouse cancer (i.e. Jose Reyes, Aroldis Chapman), which Grandal is neither, I don’t have a problem with him being on the club getting playing time.

  21. AlwaysCompete Michael Norris yarritsblake Tmaxster  I am not, nor have I ever been a stat geek, or one of those who believes all that saber metric stuff. His career caught stealing pct is 22%……lousy….he has 29 passed balls in less than 4 years….lousy…..his game calling skills are marginal. What you hit in the minors does not always translate to the bigs. And I can name 100’s of guys to prove this point…you are right, I dislike him, and I hated the trade even though I understand why it was made. He is an arrogant ass…..I watch him gripe about pitches all the time. As for Ellis, the last 2 years injuries , probably because of age have slowed him pretty good. But he was one of the hottest hitters on the team at the end of  the year, and almost caught Grandal in BA even though he was at under the Mendoza line in June. There is a reason that Kershaw prefers AJ…he is a better catcher period…

  22. Michael Norris AlwaysCompete yarritsblake Tmaxster Ok Michael I find it ironic you say you are not a stat head, but you try to use stats to justify your point.  Grandal had 21 passed balls and 44 wild pitches in 1300 innings caught up until last year, and then 8 passed balls and 32 wild pitches in 884 1/3 innings caught last year.  Those ratios per 9 innings translate to: 0.15 PB and 0.30 WP up until last year, and ratios of 0.05 PB and 0.33 WP per 9 innings last year.  As for his caught stealing percentage, it was 16.9% up until last year and 29.2% last year.  Overall a great deal of improvement.

    And ironically when you talk about Barnes and his projections, what do you use?  His minor league numbers – but chastise the use of Grandal’s minor league numbers to support the idea he projects with a pretty good triple slash.  Then you give Ellis a pass on his performance because of injuries, but won’t give Grandal a pass on performance due to injuries?  

    And Kershaw “prefers” AJ Ellis for these reasons: 1) He is more familiar with him, since, you know, Grandal has only been in the organization one year; 2) Ellis is literally his best friend on the team.  It isn’t because he performs better necessarily with Ellis than Grandal.  In fact I read an interesting stat, I’d have to dig to find it, that Kershaw had a better ERA with Grandal catching than Ellis last year.  

    Just some points to consider man 😉

  23. yarritsblake Michael Norris Tmaxster Grandal displays a less than winning personality in interviews and that’s one reason people don’t like him. Some fans still miss Matt Kemp, though he could come off as a “me first” rather than “team first” player as well. 
    I was not a supporter of the trade, but now agree with @yarritsblake that Grandal has the potential to be the best Dodger catcher in years. Before he was injured he was one of the better hitters in the lineup and he improved defensively a lot last year. And yes, Kershaw did have a better ERA with Grandal behind the plate than when he pitched to Ellis. 
    For me, Grandal has to prove that he can stay healthy and continue to improve as a catcher and in throwing out runners. I don’t care whether he’s a jerk. Baseball is not a Mr. Congeniality contest.

  24. yarritsblake Michael Norris AlwaysCompete Tmaxster  I openly admit, I totally dislike the guy. And I base a lot of it from watching him play. I do not use the saber metric stats. I was quoting from Baseball Register fielding stats. Pct wise, he is a .973 guy…ok I get that..but he still, at least when I have watched, is a bad pitch blocker, so so at throwing out runners, and not so great a game caller. Yes, he was a pretty good hitter the first half of the year, and the injury limited that. But in my opinion, he is a bad situational hitter, he grounded into a lot of DP’s in clutch situations, and he struck out a lot in the same situations. He is to me, one of those players who just does not fit the Dodger mold. Frank Robinson was the same way. Alston really disliked the guy. And despite what you or anyone else thinks, he will have to prove he is all that as a hitter before I believe it. Barnes is a contact hitter. I like his upside. I do not need a catcher blasting 20 plus homers, I want a team leader back there…..that is something Grandstand will never be,…….

  25. Blue58 yarritsblake Michael Norris Tmaxster  Same here…..I hated the trade, but that is done and over with. What I do not like about the guy is that frippen smug attitude he shows. He is not that great no matter what he thinks in his mind., It is my opinion, and I do not expect anyone to agree with me, I can’t stand him period…….I would not even want his bobblehead……

  26. However it needs to be done, get Barnes 400 AB. Use him as DH in interleague. Spell Howie, platoon w/Grandal. Just get it done.

  27. Michael Norris yarritsblake AlwaysCompete Tmaxster Quite honestly, I wasn’t using saber metric stats either for Grandal’s defense.  I was going purely off of traditional metrics that gauge a catcher: passed balls and wild pitches as well as caught stealing percentage.  I showed that while Grandal was pretty below average from 2012-2014, I also showed that he vastly improved in 2015 in those three areas (particularly with his Passed Balls per 9 innings ratio and his CS%), and that those numbers weren’t at all too different from AJ Ellis, whom you claim is far far superior on defense.  As for the offensive numbers it is pretty easy to look at those triple slashes and the wOBA stats.  wOBA is actually a pretty straightforward stat – it gives more weight to homers than triples than doubles than singles and walks.  Hence why it is similar to OBP, but is indeed higher.  For example say two players have an OBP of .350.  Both players have the same number of singles, doubles and triples, but player A has double the home runs of player B, whereas player B has double the walks of player A.  Player A will have a greater wOBA because more weight is given to home runs in the calculation of wOBA.  wRC+ is another fun stat where the MLB average is 100.  It measures the amount of runs created by a player, in comparison to the rest of the league (average out of course) and the + portion means that the run factors for each ballpark is thrown in as well.  So, again with an example, Player A and B may have equal OPS’s, RBI’s, and runs scored, which, I believe, would lead to an equivalent wRC.  However, Player A calls Coors Field home, whereas Player B calls Dodger Stadium home.  Player B would have a higher wRC+ because Coors Field has a higher runs factor (i.e. is more hitter friendly) than Dodger stadium.

    Just letting you know why I use those stats and why I like them.

  28. Michael Norris Blue58 yarritsblake Tmaxster Grandal was still better than Kemp last year.  Kemp’s absolutely horrific defense cost the Padres 15 runs over the course of the season, and had some of the worst range, zone, and jump ratings of any RF’er, let alone outfielder.  And don’t give me that guff of, well Kemp hit 23 HR and drove in 100 runs.  Using those stats ignores that he was the #3 hitter essentially the whole year, whereas Grandal was not.  Also, if you judge by HR and RBI’s, Kemp was a better outfielder than Adam Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Braun, Starling Marte, Josh Reddick, Mookie Betts, etc.  I’m just heading off the inevitable usage of HR and RBI totals to justify hate of the trade of Grandal for Kemp.  Whatever you may think of Grandal’s personality, he most assuredly is not a clubhouse cancer (not saying Kemp was, just making the point), and he is much less expensive, and gave the Dodgers a 2.3 WAR, whereas Kemp gave the Padres 0.4 WAR, in 40 fewer games.

  29. yarritsblake Michael Norris Blue58 Tmaxster  Well my friend, until the saber metric and stat geeks took over, a players value was based more on the offense he provided, rather than the runs he allowed….classic example, Dick Stuart, better known as Dr. Strangeglove. Guy could rake, but was a clunker at 1st base. Kemp played 149 games and Grandal 115. Grandal to you is much better…that’s fine, you can like the guy if you want. But when a player drives in 100 runs that is important to any team, especially one as offensively deficient as SD. Kemp only made 1 error more last year than he did the year before. Have his fielding skills declined? Sure, you crash into a wall and take close to 2 years to recover and see how well you do. I do not care which argument you use. Kemp is a far superior player to Grandal. And do not ever try to convince me that Grandal is the next coming of Mike Piazza offensively…..You like him….I do not….period, end of discussion

  30. Michael Norris yarritsblake Blue58 Tmaxster First things first, Grandal is no where near Piazza – pretty tough for anyone to touch Piazza in terms of that sheer offensive prowess.  The problem again with using RBI’s solely to determine whether a player truly is better than another is RBI’s is extremely flawed.  I merely brought that up preemptively because every other conversation I’ve had in regards to the Kemp-Grandal trade is that they point to Kemp’s 100+ RBI’s.  Also, Defensive Runs Saved is a real, measurable metric.  Is it more advanced that Fielding Percentage?  Yes.  But it gives more clarity as well to whether a player costs his team runs, or saves runs, on defense. The reason fielding percentage can be somewhat flawed is because of this:
    Player A has three times the range (can cover three times as much ground) of Player B.  But Player A has made 4 errors, whereas Player B has made 2.  Player A has made more plays, and saved his team more runs, but Player B has made fewer plays and saved fewer runs, or even cost his team runs.  If you go purely by fielding percentage you can fall exactly into this trap of thinking that because Player B has made fewer errors and has a better fielding percentage, they must be a better defensive player than Player A. Matt Kemp is a perfect example of this.  
    Let’s take Jason Heyward versus Matt Kemp in 2011.  Matt Kemp made 5 errors, had a .986 fielding percentage, but had -5 Defensive Runs Saved and a -4.9 UZR/150 (basically a metric for measuring a player’s range where 0 is average).  Jason Heyward made 6 errors, had a .976 fielding percentage, but had +15 DRS and a 13.5 UZR/150.  Yet Kemp won a Gold Glove (for whatever reason) and Heyward did not.  
    I guarantee that 30/30 GM’s would take Heyward’s defense over Kemp’s.  That is why using solely FP and errors committed as your metrics for determining a player’s defensive value is selling yourself short.
    You claim that defense wasn’t valued nearly as much until the stat geeks took over, but let me name a couple Hall of Famers well known for their defense: Brooks Robinson and Ozzie Smith.  Robinson owned a career .267/.322/.401 triple slash, didn’t break 300 HR, or 3000 hits, and only stole 28 bases out of 50 attempts.  He was well known for his defense.  Smith had an even more bland triple slash of .262/.337/.328, only hit 28 homers, 2460 hits.  Again valued as a defensive wizard.  Those are the two most prominent that come to mind, but to claim that a player’s value was based more on the offense he provided than defense as well is ignoring the 1970s and 1980s which was dominated by run prevention, and the dead ball era pre 1920s.
    And on a final note, I never said I “like” Grandal as a person or what have you.  But as a baseball player and what he brings to the field, I prefer him currently as the starter over Barnes, Ellis, and prefer trotting him out instead of Kemp in our lineup.  Kemp’s defense is flat out awful (-99 DRS since 2010) because he gets terrible reads, takes miserable routes, and makes plays more difficult than they need to be.  Don’t get me wrong, I love(d) Kemp and think he is a great ball player in his own right, but you will see me siding with the vast, vast, vast majority of baseball scouts, old school and saber metric geeks alike, who say his defense is bad, and has been bad for a while.

  31. yarritsblake Michael Norris Blue58 Tmaxster  I respect your opinion there bud. I am just plain old school when it comes to all this stat stuff. Always have been, always will be. I could care less about WAR and all that other stuff….call me bull headed. I know the highest WAR’s in Dodger history are all guys who played years ago. The only one in this era even close is Kershaw. I know what I like in a player, and I know what I do not like. I prefer Ellis, or Barnes to Grandal. I wish the guy was out of town, but that’s just me. I do not apologize for the way I feel about him. Hell, Johnny Roseboro was a better catcher, so was Yeager. Neither hit that much. But they were solid team guys, and leaders on the field. Too many times I watched pitchers get in trouble and Grandal never went out to calm them down or talk to them. That to me is a lack of controlling the game, which is one of the major jobs a catcher has.

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