Friday, November 11, 2005

Play-In Game

Check out an explanation of what is going

Play-In Game:

C Brad Ausmus (65) vs 1B/DH Scott Hatteberg (64)

Close battle as expected, but the positional edge does Hatteberg in – the catcher will beat the 1B/DH (ironically enough a former catcher by the way) in a relatively even match every time. Plus, I think Hatteberg might be done as a regular in the league while Ausmus is still a top 30 (i.e. starting) catcher at least for another year or so.

VICTOR: Brad Ausmus

Brad Ausmus had a VORP of 12.0 this season ranking him 11th in the NL and 24th in baseball. His OPS+ of 83 was his highest in his 5-year reunion stint with Houston and tied for the 5th highest in his 13 major league seasons. Most impressively, Ausmus played an inning at second and an inning at shortstop this year for Houston. He has previously played an inning at third base and a whopping two innings at first base. He has a bit more experience behind the plate however – the man has caught 6,609 innings of major league baseball.


Scott Hatteberg will be 36 years old at the start of next season. He was a high profile Oakland pickup due to the exposure he received when Moneyball (man that Billy Beane has one big ego, but he can really write!) came out – Hatteberg was featured prominently in the book. Billy Beane considered Hatteberg to be a diamond in the rough. He had a history of high OBP and was doing it as a catcher. Beane believed that once Hatteberg was moved off of catcher and given more time to think about his hitting, he would be a useful, productive player at 1B/DH. His first year in Oakland (2001) was a success. Hatteberg hit .280/.374/.433 with an OPS+ of 111. This wound up being his best year as a big leaguer.

The last three seasons in Oakland have been far less successful for Hatteberg bottoming out in 2005 with an OPS+ of 79. His modest power to begin with (two seasons of 15 homers represent his career high) has fallen off and he had more strikeouts than walks for the first time since 2000. Hatteberg can continue to be useful in a bench role somewhere as he still shows signs that he get on base better than many prospective bench players in the majors. The lack of power is what restricts him. No 1B/DH can afford to be just a singles hitter with a good eye for a pennant contending club. It just isn’t going to work.

Hatteberg does have a slight Phillies connection though. He was originally a Phils draft pick in 1988, but did not sign. They took him in the 12th round that year. So now you know.

Prediction: Hatteberg re-signs with Oakland in a bench role, 1-year deal worth $1.15 million


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