Thursday, February 20, 2014

Attempting to project Alex Guerrero's statisitics for his rookie season

It is notoriously difficult to translate performance in the Cuban league to the major leagues. The competition level is similar to A-ball in the minors. There's only about a dozen people who have any kind of record in both places, so that's not much to go on.

Nevertheless, some have made now their best attempt to guess at what our own Alex Guerrero might offer in 2014.

In the field, people expect him to be maybe average at second baseman once he gets used to it. On the bases, he might be about average as well, or a little below. He was signed for his bat though, so let's look at that.

His last few years in Cuba he was hitting something like .310/.400/.600, with a 14 percent walk- and strikeout rate. That sounds good, but it might only be equivalent to .225/.285/.400 (according to the foremost Cuba stats guy, Clay Davenport)

Some have taken a stab at projecting his 2014 hitting line, and they mostly see him doing better than that in the batting average department.

BB% / K% / ISO
8 / 14 / .128
.250/.309 /.418
7 / 16 / .168
.215 /.277 /.389
8 / 28 / .174
.240 /.298 /.405
? / ??  / .165
My Own Crazy Ideas
8 / 18 / .165

I don't have the Pecota details, but to get to that line, it'd have to be around an 8 percent walk rate and 25-26 percent strikeout rate.

My crazy ideas are based roughly on the idea of treating Cuba stats like A-ball, but also based on translating traditional scouting reports into Major League performance. If a guy has a 45 hit tool and 55 power tool, that's pretty much the line I'm giving you since 50 is average by definition. And that's what they say he has.

These five projections are not saying terribly different things. He looks to be about an average hitter, and if he's capable of playing something close to a major-league average second base, that's really good. His hitting projection is not average for a second baseman, it's average for all hitters. That makes him a solid regular approximately worth his salary ($28 million / 4 years = $7M AAV). This winter, free agents expected to give about that level of performance (call it ~2 Wins Above Replacement) got right around that same dollar figure give or take. That's guys like David Murphy at $6M, James Loney at $7M, Chris Young at $7.25M and Marlon Byrd at $8M.

And critically, it's a comparable or higher level of performance than can be expected from Mark Ellis next year, so the Dodgers are likely to have improved their team overall and paid a fair price to do it.

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