Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Nationals' 2009 Postmortem #4: Leadoff Spot

Hmm, I had the chart done about ten days again, then I wound up with too much to do. (Some of that was watching the World Series.)

The Nationals did suffer from a problem here this past season. For some reason, even the supposedly sabermetrically minded Acta seemed to look for a 'classic' leadoff hitter to fill the spot. They did have a 'sabermetric' leadoff hitter, until they traded him to Florida. The chart tells us more than any amount of words by me could possibly do:

Remember, this is not a measure of quality, but of how the different elements in a player's stat line convert to Runs Created. So neither Nyjer Morgan nor Cristian Guzmán walk anything like as much as an archetypal NL leadoff hitter. Most of their offensive 'oomph' comes from batting average, way more than the archetypal NL anything. Willie Harris does walk a lot more, and hits for power, but he doesn't hit for average. Also, Harris is a good player in the sense that he's versatile, but is he really a major-league regular?

The Nationals may feel that they solved their leadoff issues by trading for Morgan, but I'd say they should still be looking.

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