Thursday, February 13, 2014

Erisbel Arruebarruena, the Dodgers' newest import, could be solid

The Dodgers are going to sign Cuban shortstop Barbaro Erisbel Arruebarruena to a contract that could be worth as much as $25 million. However, that amount hasn't been confirmed and neither has the number of years.

Here are a couple tweets of note from respected analysts on the new guy.

Put those two together and you can get a sense of the possible value here. That level of offense is about 15 runs below the average hitter over the course of a full season. For a bottom of the lineup hitter, it works out roughly 550 plate appearances, and counting some time off.

If he's truly one of the best defenders "on the planet" (and not ErrorBarruena), then maybe he can save 10-20 runs at shortstop over an above-average shortstop.  In 2013, the top defensive shortstops were right around that mark.


Player
Innings
UZR/150
1,352
23.9
309
22.1
429
20.4
804
14.2
1,320
12.2
1,388
12.1
572
8.3
1,051
8
1,308
7.7
1,029
7.6
1,093
6.7
380
6.6
1,417
6.1
1,400
5
1,288
5

When reading that table, consider 162 multiplied by nine is about 1,450 innings in a season. Ultimate Zone Rating is relative to the average shortstop. Playing shortstop is worth another approximately seven runs over the course of the year relative to playing an average position. So, add that all up and we get between about 0 and 10 runs above-average, counting offense and defense, if Arruebarruena were allowed to play full-time. Average is a lot better than replacement, though. You get another roughly 15 runs of credit to account for that difference -- so, 15-25 runs above replacement.  Wins in the NL go for about nine runs. Counting the neutral park effect of Dodger Stadium, you could even say down around 8.5.

If you squint hard enough, you can see 3-WAR potential here, which is a pretty good everyday player. But he really has to be all-world with the glove to get to that number. If he's just very, very good at shortstop, he's a backup infielder. Hopefully a little coaching goes a long way with the bat and he can justify the reported $25 million contract.

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