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Orlando Cabrera and Championship Shortstops

The Reds signed Orlando Cabrera to a free agent contract in the off season in an effort to strengthen one of the Reds’ biggest offseason question marks; that is, who plays shortstop or maybe the question was actually whether Paul Janish would hit enough to be the regular shortstop?

Janish was the default regular after oft-hurt Alex Gonzalez was dealt to the Red Sox in a post-trade deadline deal for minor leaguer Kris Negron last August. The Reds have been searching for a shortstop since the retirement of Barry Larkin following the 2004 season. Felipe Lopez gave us one good offensive season in 2005, but we’ve since gone through Gonzalez, Royce Clayton, Jeff Keppinger, Ray Olmedo, Juan Castro, Danny Richar, Enrique Cruz, William Bergolla, Rich Aurilia, Pedro Lopez, Jerry Hairston Jr. , Adam Rosales, Drew Sutton, and even Brandon Phillips has played there since Larkin retired. We even had current Reds’ shortstop Orlando Cabrera’s brother, Jolbert Cabrera, stand there for nine games in 2008.

I don’t know why, but I’m hearing Johnny Cash‘s “I’ve Been Everywhere” in the background; or maybe it’s REM’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It;” maybe it’s Billy Joel‘s “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” I don’t know, but…

Am I the only one missing Barry Larkin?

Anyway, Janish is an outstanding defensive shortstop. The 2010 edition of “The Bill James Handbook” rates Janish as having saved 13 runs more than the average shortstop in 2009, which would rank him seventh in the major leagues (the leader was the Pirates’ Jack Wilson who saved 32 runs more than average according to their matrix). Janish accomplished this having only played 82 games at shortstop and only starting 63 of those 82. That’s really quite amazing.

However, Paul’s not a hitter and he’s not young. Last season, in his age 26 season, he batted .211 with one homer and a .601 OPS, which equates to a 59 OPS+ rating. Janish had 21 doubles in part-time work, but a 59 OPS+ rating means his hitting was worth 59% of the average major league hitter last year. That’s a huge obstacle to overcome, and since he was 26 years old last year, there’s not much room for growth. Hitters’ peak seasons typically come during the ages of 26-29. He may improve some, but its’ unlikely that he’s going to get that much better (see the article “Prospects or Suspects” from the other day).

So, the Reds went and signed Orlando Cabrera, who’s a proven major league shortstop. Cabrera is a two-time Gold Glover and finished 15th in the American League Most Valuable Player voting as recently as 2007 when he batted .301 with 86 RBI for the lost Angels of Anaheim in Los Angeles (or whatever marketing scheme they’re calling themselves these days). Cabrera is the anti-Gonzalez and anti-Larkin; he seems to never miss a game after having played 153, 155, 161, and 160 games over the last four seasons at ages 31-34.

Cabrera gets the bat on the ball, rarely strikes out, has doubles “power” (ahem, doubles power?), can sacrifice bunt, and even hits sacrifice flies (led the AL in three of the last four seasons—Marty Brennaman would be proud). But, oh boy, can he make outs. He’s led the American League in outs made the past two seasons (512 and 509), and even finished third in outs made in his big 2007 year.

Why does that matter? Because outs are a team’s currency; it’s their budget. Former Orioles manager great Earl Weaver would not use the sacrifice bunt because he didn’t want to give away an out. Despite batting .289 last year (which sounds great), Cabrera averaged making three outs per game. His OBP was .316; I don’t care that he gets the bat on the ball, if he’s batting second he’ll be wasting the team’s money (budget=outs). And before somebody tells me those are “productive outs” let me tell you he was fourth in the American League in double plays grounded into last year (22). Cabrera used to have some speed, but here’s his stolen base totals the last four years: 27, 20, 19, 13. The speed’s gone.

Reds management has talked about improving overall team defense. Those were the reasons given for trading Adam Dunn and Edwin Encarnacion to get Scott Rolen and anyone except Dunn in LF. Jonny Gomes isn’t any better than Dunn in LF; Laynce Nix is a gifted fielder, as are Chris Dickerson, Drew Stubbs, and Jay Bruce. In fact, James’s Handbook rates the Reds as having the second most efficient defense in the National League behind the league champion Phillies. That had a lot to do with the improved outfield defense and the play of Janish, Rolen, and Phillips.

So, where does Cabrera fit into the equation? He, like Alex Gonzalez before him, comes with a good glove reputation. But, like AGon before him, I believe we’ve missed the boat on Cabrera’s glove.

Orlando Cabrera is baseball age 35. You can count the number of shortstops on two hands in baseball history who’ve played regularly at a star level at age 35. There’s Luke Appling, Luis Aparicio, Barry Larkin, Derek Jeter, Omar Vizquel, Ozzie Smith, and Honus Wagner. Cal Ripken‘s last shortstop year came at age 35; Pee Wee Reese played well through age 36. Miguel Tejada was 35 last season; there…that’s ten. I did a search on every player that played shortstop in 75% of its teams games at age 35, and that’s your list. There were others who played shortstop at this age, but they all hit about the same as Paul Janish did last year.

Why do I mention this? Because defense is usually the first tool to decline as a player ages. We like to say the experience and knowledge of the players gives the veteran expertise on positioning and shortcuts in the game, but , let’s face it, players are moved off shortstop as they age because they just aren’t as quick as they used to be. Whether it’s Ernie Banks, Robin Yount, Rico Petrocelli, Joe Cronin, Alex Rodriguez, Vern Stephens, Roy Smalley, Toby Harrah, or Cal Ripken, Jr. (have I covered enough eras?), they get moved because they can’t supply adequate-enough defense at a defensive-first position (offensive era or no offensive era).

According to Bill James’s 2010 Handbook, Cabrera was dead last in defensive performance in shortstop. The matrix used by James shows that Cabrera allowed 33 runs more to score than the average shortstop. That wasn’t just last; it was last by a lot….Yuniesky Betancourt was second from last with minus-19, and the other 35 year old guy, Tejada, was third from last with minus-16. Baseball Prospectus‘s new book says that Cabrera allowed 13 more runs to score than the average shortstop while playing only 99 games in Oakland (BP says he was dead on average while with Minnesota for a yearly total of -13). And, before someone throws up the one season of defensive metrics don’t mean anything flag, James’s studies show that Cabrera is fourth from the bottom for the past three years, too, and that includes his Gold Glove year of 2007. To be fair, no doubt last year’s performance affected this three year cumulative totals.

Give Cabrera credit; he’s been a good enough shortstop for all these years to earn the right to keep playing. And, parts of Cabrera’s negative numbers are due to his ability to stay healthy. He plays lots of innings at shortstop because he stays healthy and gets more opportunities. Unfortunately, those opportunities may not be an advantage to our team at this point in his career…maybe Janish needs to be entering the game in the seventh inning.

Shortstop is a young man’s position. I tracked the shortstops for all World Series teams since 1990. The average age for the shortstops on those World Series teams was 27.7. The oldest were Derek Jeter, last year, at age 35, and Walt Weiss, 35, who was a part-time starter for the Braves back in 1999. Mike Bordick was a part-time shortstop at age 34 for the Mets in 2000. Next were some 31’s: Red Sox’ Julio Lugo in 2007, Cardinals’ David Eckstein in 2006, Diamondbacks’ Tony Womack in 2001, and Blue Jays’ Tony Fernandez in 1993.

Oh, did I mention that, of the past-30 shortstops I mentioned above, only one (soon to be two with Jeter) played full time the next season for that team? Jeter will return for the Yankees this year, but only Womack played shortstop full time the next season for his respective team (Weiss played 80 games for the Braves before retiring at season’s end).

So, I checked further for more average ages:

World Series winners since 1990: 27.6
World Series runners up since 1990: 28.4
League championship teams since 2000: 27.7
National League champions since 2000: 27.5
National League runners-up since 2000: 26.4
American League runners-up since 2000: 27.0
Every Reds World Series team: 26.8

Does anyone else see the pattern here?

It seems clear to me that our team needs a young shortstop to compete. The Reds say they needed a vocal leader in the clubhouse and that Cabrera offers that dimension (I guess Rolen’s “quiet leadership” wasn’t inspiring enough). The Reds are Cabrera’s seventh team in seven years. In fact, Cabrera’s included twice in my study above…the Red Sox acquired him at age 29 to replace 31 year old Pokey Reese to win the World Series in 2004 and the Angels signed him as a free agent for the 2005 season when they were AL runners-up.

For the record, I don’t think the Cabrera signing is the end of the world; I don’t think the Reds are really ready to compete just yet, so Cabrera could be a bridge to the future. What concerns me is where are the replacements? Zack Cozart is a good field, no-hit guy who should be in AAA this year. In AA behind Cozart is Kris Negron (acquired for AGon), but Negron is not listed on anyone’s prospect list. During the winter, the Reds were trumpeting their minor league shortstop prospects, but they’re buried pretty well deep in the minors. Miguel Rojas is yet another “good field, no hit” player; Mariekson Gregorius may be the opposite (good hit, no field); and young athletic Billy Hamilton may actually be a centerfielder by trade. How long had we known that Larkin was going to retire? And, isn’t filling this position rather important to the team’s future?

Maybe I’m spoiled and want too much. The Reds have had sixty years of quality shortstop play in Barry Larkin, Dave Concepcion, Leo Cardenas, Roy McMillan, and Eddie Miller. If we had one more real outfield stick we could play Janish at shortstop and let his defense talk. But since our offense is now so poor, we sign a shortstop that seems to be offensive-minded but really isn’t and, what’s worse, is the exact type of hitter our manager doesn’t need to have. Dusty Baker will bat him second and Cabrera will make outs. Cabrera doesn’t make out the lineup card, but Dusty should never have been batting AGon or Janish second last year either.

One thing’s clear to me…as long as our current shortstops are batting second, we won’t be clogging the bases for our best hitters like Joey Votto. But, isn’t that what top of the order hitters are supposed to do? So, that the Reds can score runs? And, if the Reds aren’t scoring runs don’t they need to stop the other team from scoring?

20 thoughts on “Orlando Cabrera and Championship Shortstops

  1. Steve,
    Where is the idea that Zack Cozart is a no hit shortstop? The average NL shortstop OPS’d .725 last season. Cozart isn’t Hanley Ramirez, but to be a no hit shortstop given the average, you need to be a .675 OPS type of hitter.
    Billy Hamilton is a plus defensive shortstop. There were talks he may be a center fielder when drafted because of how raw he is, but odds aren’t good of that move now given how good his defense turned out to be.
    DD Gregorius is also an above average defender at shortstop.

    • Where is the idea that Zack Cozart is a no hit shortstop? The average NL shortstop OPS’d .725 last season. Cozart isn’t Hanley Ramirez, but to be a no hit shortstop given the average, you need to be a .675 OPS type of hitter.
      Billy Hamilton is a plus defensive shortstop. There were talks he may be a center fielder when drafted because of how raw he is, but odds aren’t good of that move now given how good his defense turned out to be.
      DD Gregorius is also an above average defender at shortstop.

      Well…Baseball Prospectus projects Cozart to be a major league level .675 OPS hitter this year…now, he’s just 24, with some room to grow…but, I did a quick search on prospect logs (not all the websites listed everyone, which may be saying something, too).

      On Cozart:

      From John Sickels: Zack Cozart, SS, Grade C+: Took a big step forward with his plate discipline last year, good glove, has some pop, but probably just a .240 hitter.

      From Baseball Prospectus: Zach Cozart, SS: Cozart is a plus defender at shortstop with surprising pop, but his pure hitting skills are lacking.

      From fangraphs:
      The infielder (Cozart) should – at the very least – develop into a MLB utility player, but he could also see some time as a regular middle infielder.

      Diamond Futures was somewhat kinder: A second round pick in 2007, Cozart had been considered a defense first SS prospect prior to his bat showing signs of life during 2009, posting a Top 30 Performance score in the Southern League (SOL). Cozart now profiles as a Major League average offensive SS, with a plus glove. The Reds need a SS desperately, but Cozart is unlikely ready, offensively, at the start of the season. If they don’t acquire someone else though look for Cozart to be manning the position sometime during the 2010 season.

      (I’m still seeing middle infield/reserve in the notes….)

      On Hamilton:

      From John Sickels: Billy Hamilton, SS, Grade C+: Great athleticism, but will need time to develop the bat. Defensive value puts him a little ahead of the tools outfielders listed below.

      From Baseball Prospectus:

      The Good: Hamilton’s tools leave little to complain about. He’s a true burner, with plus-plus speed, and showed a surprising ability to sting balls into the gap during his debut. His speed should provide plenty of range at either shortstop or center field, and his arm is another plus-plus weapon.

      The Bad: Hamilton is far more of an athlete than a baseball player at this point, as he’s never focused on baseball full-time. His swing is slowed by a complicated trigger mechanism, and he has little feel for the strike zone. While he has all of the tools to be a good shortstop, he’s equally messy in the field, needing to improve his instincts, transfers, and work around the bag. Some feel he’d be better off with an immediate transition to center field. He’s small, and it’s unlikely that he’ll ever develop much in the way of power.

      from Diamond Futures:
      Billy Hamilton, SS (2009– Power 31; First Base Rate 29; Discipline 36; Speed 79)

      We’ve reached the part of the Reds’ prospect list where the players have more questions than answers. Extremely athletic, Hamilton is a slight, 6’1”, player with plus-plus speed and a solid arm, who may be best suited for CF in the long run.

      (from the notes–that’s 2 of 3 that are predicting CF)

      Miguel Rojas:

      From John Sickels: no comment, but rated a C

      From Baseball Prospectus:
      The Good: Any discussion about Rojas begins with his glove. He’s a classic shortstop with range to both sides, smooth actions, a good arm, and remarkable fundamentals, as his .977 fielding percentage is a big-league number rarely seen in the Midwest League. He employs a slashing, contact-oriented approach and improved throughout the year, batting .311/.357/.361 after the All-Star break. He’s a tick above-average baserunner and a very good bunter who plays within his limitations.
      The Bad: It’s unlikely that Rojas will ever develop enough offensive firepower to bat anywhere but the bottom of the lineup. He’s small and without power or projection for much, if any, down the road. He improved his plate discipline in 2009, but he will need to continue to work on his patience

      From fangraphs:

      Miguel Rojas, SS (2009– Power 31; First Base Rate 62; Discipline 78; Speed 57)

      Rojas is one of those players that we are higher on than most. A legitimate plus defender at a premium position, he possesses above average contact skills and plus plate discipline—both of which are indicators that he will continue to show offensive improvement as he moves up the ladder.

      (I feel like Rojas may be the best of the bunch, but seems to be bottom of order, too).

      Mariekson Gregorius:

      John Sickels: no comments, rates him a C

      From Baseball Prospectus: Mariekson Gregorius, SS: This Dutch import has solid tools across the board, and he impressed scouts in the Pioneer League. (Pioneer League is rookie league; rated him below Cozart)….could not quickly find where I read good hit, less fielding skills.

      No Reds minor league shortstop was listed on:

      Hardball Times top ten major league shortstop prospects
      Project Prospect top 15 major league shortstop prospects
      scoutingbook.com did not list any Reds minorleague shortstops as top prospects

      • Well…Baseball Prospectus projects Cozart to be a major league level .675 OPS hitter this year…now, he’s just 24, with some room to grow…but, I did a quick search on prospect logs (not all the websites listed everyone, which may be saying something, too).On Cozart:From John Sickels: Zack Cozart, SS, Grade C+: Took a big step forward with his plate discipline last year, good glove, has some pop, but probably just a .240 hitter.

        I still don’t get where Sickels comes up with that. Cozart doesn’t strike out and has pop. That doesn’t suggest .240 hitter in the slightest unless he projects to be a .270 BABIP guy year in and year out. Which isn’t likely considering he isn’t a weak hitter or a fat guy who can’t run.

        From Baseball Prospectus: Zach Cozart, SS: Cozart is a plus defender at shortstop with surprising pop, but his pure hitting skills are lacking.

        Again, based on what? Mid teen strikeout percentages and good pop in his bat. I just can’t see this stuff. Maybe if we were talking about him 2 years ago, but after solid seasons in Dayton and Carolina with plenty of adjustments at the plate, it just doesn’t add up.

        On Hamilton:From John Sickels:Billy Hamilton, SS, Grade C+: Great athleticism, but will need time to develop the bat. Defensive value puts him a little ahead of the tools outfielders listed below.From Baseball Prospectus:The Good: Hamilton’s tools leave little to complain about. He’s a true burner, with plus-plus speed, and showed a surprising ability to sting balls into the gap during his debut. His speed should provide plenty of range at either shortstop or center field, and his arm is another plus-plus weapon.The Bad: Hamilton is far more of an athlete than a baseball player at this point, as he’s never focused on baseball full-time. His swing is slowed by a complicated trigger mechanism, and he has little feel for the strike zone. While he has all of the tools to be a good shortstop, he’s equally messy in the field, needing to improve his instincts, transfers, and work around the bag. Some feel he’d be better off with an immediate transition to center field. He’s small, and it’s unlikely that he’ll ever develop much in the way of power.

        Sounds like pre draft reports on Hamilton rather than ones after the season here. The managers of the league voted him the best defensive shortstop in the league. He led the leagues shortstops in FP% as well. He is viewed as a plus shortstop at this point.

    • Where is the idea that Zack Cozart is a no hit shortstop? The average NL shortstop OPS’d .725 last season. Cozart isn’t Hanley Ramirez, but to be a no hit shortstop given the average, you need to be a .675 OPS type of hitter.

      Cozart is pretty much Janish, except Janish fits the Dusty SS 2 hole better. 🙂

      Minors AB AVG OBP SLG OPS
      Cozart 1064 .265 .336 .410 746
      Janish 1702 .261 .351 .382 733

  2. Great article. Nice and long, just how I like ’em (that’s what she said).

  3. Royce Clayton, Jeff Keppinger, Ray Olmedo, Juan Castro, Danny Richar, Enrique Cruz, William Bergolla, Rich Aurilia, Pedro Lopez, Jerry Hairston Jr. , Adam Rosales, Drew Sutton,

    wow, that is a….special list, isn’t it?

    While I don’t have time now to address it fully, I really don’t think that Cabrera’s age 35 is equivalant of some of the other guys you mentioned based on his durability alone. And while I didn’t watch more than 40 games or so of him last season, reports of his losing it in the field seem greatly exagerrated. I agree that he should not bat second, but even at this stage of his career he is an ideal 6 or 7. He is an extremely smart ball player who does not make many mental errors and who is truly in the right place at the right time. He is no long term solution, but the club is better this season with him on it, and I think the influence he will exert over the team, especially our young Latin players, will pay dividends for years to come.

    It’s also interesting that your list of + SS past age 35 includes several defensive first guys. If memory serves (and it may not in this case, so pardon me in advance if I’m wrong), Ozzie and Omar actually improved their offense later in their careers. And neither one of them were guys you would make your first choice as a pinch hitter at any point, especially early, in their respective and long careers.

    • If memory serves (and it may not in this case, so pardon me in advance if I’m wrong), Ozzie and Omar actually improved their offense later in their careers.

      Ozzie Smith may have learned to hit the ball down more when he was traded to St. Louis from the Padres, but I believe it’s a myth to think he became a better hitter. If you will print off both Smith’s and Garry Templeton’s statistical record and cut them right at the point of the trade and then glue them back together as St Louis shortstop and San Diego shortstop, you will see the statistical record almost completely matches. It’s a park anomaly.

      Smith “improved'” Templeton “declined”…I think it was the ballparks.

      As for Vizquel….he was terrible his first three years as a hitter, and did improve. However, the improvement happened by age 25. His hitting skills did remain through age 39.

  4. @Doug Gray: I agree with everything Doug just listed. I’d also add that Rojas has shown great improvement with the bat. If he can maintain his strides in contact and add a little bit of pop, he may provide Comcepcion-type offense; that is, enough to warrant keeping him because of his exceptional glove.

    • @Doug Gray: I agree with everything Doug just listed.I’d also add that Rojas has shown great improvement with the bat.If he can maintain his strides in contact and add a little bit of pop, he may provide Comcepcion-type offense; that is, enough to warrant keeping him because of his exceptional glove.

      He improved in one season. I think we should see if that trend continues before we remove the “all field – no hit” label.😆

  5. tremendous article Steve. You and I have discussed the great history of Reds SS for many years and to answer one of your questions, you are not the only one to miss Larkin. Just imagine if going into this season the Reds had an MVP level SS?

    a couple more SS who played well at age 35 or older (but I do agree there are only a handful).
    Eddie Joost, Candy Nelson, Maury Wills, and Alan Trammell. In each of these cases I’m not sure how many games they actually played at SS as they got older

    I think the important thing to note is that signing an old SS is almost always a bad idea. Could the Reds not have lived with Janish’s GREAT defense for 1 years (or maybe a half year)?

    and of course the ever present problem of baseball-by-the-numbers (like painting by the #s). Dusty will bat his SS 2nd, no matter how bad or good they hit

    • couple more SS who played well at age 35 or older (but I do agree there are only a handful).
      Eddie Joost, Candy Nelson, Maury Wills, and Alan Trammell. In each of these cases I’m not sure how many games they actually played at SS as they got older

      Candy Nelson? Mike, where did you find that name!! You’re right…the improvement happened after he transferred from the NL to the AA in the 1880’s. His offense improved dramatically, but it was almost from drawing walks.

      Maury Wills got a late major league start; he did play the speed game through age 36; he never had any power.

      Trammell quit playing fulltime shortstop at age 34.

      Eddie Joost could draw walks like nobody’s business, and did so through age 37.

      If we can name the players in a post out of 140 years of baseball…well, that means it’s uncommon. Do we really think Cabrera is that great?

      However, I do think we may be a little better with Cabrera…But, if we had used the money (plus Hernandez’s money) to sign an outfielder, we could’ve played Janish…

  6. Fantastic post, Steve. It came just in time for me to link to it in a post I was working on regarding the top of the Reds lineup.

    While I hope it works out, the Cabrera signing epitomizes old-school thinking. Cabrera appears to be a “good RBI guy” and has a solid batting average. Two of Baker’s favorite things.

    The statistics on the demise of his defensive skills are alarming, especially since Baker will stubbornly never admit to it, lingering on Cabrera’s Gold Glove accomplishments of a half-decade ago.

    The Reds are now two revolutions in thought behind the rest of the league. We totally missed the wave that saw all the top clubs latch on to OBP. Now that thinking has become successful conventional wisdom, the smart clubs are moving on to Moneyball II – preventing runs with defense. While Rolen is a positive step in that direction, benching Paul Janish in favor of Cabrera is a very costly misjudgment. One that Baker will surely make us pay over and over again.

    I’m about to leave OH for 16 days in Goodyear. You can read about my first-hand observations at Seeing Reds. http://www.seeingreds.blogspot.com

  7. That line-up of players the Reds have trotted out to play shortstop over the last few years must be about the most pathetic group amongst any team in MLB over the same time period… Ouch.

  8. Somewhere in the archives is a post by me that shows that every single regular Reds SS from the 1940s(?) through Felipe Lopez was an all-star as a Red. Such a run.

  9. What about Cabrera at 2nd and Phillips at SS? I don’t expect it again this year, but Cabrera DID play 160 games last year at age 34. He could end up being a pretty decent one-year stop-gap. Not that I suspect bolstering any single position for this single year is very important.

  10. Granted it’s not the greatest metric known to man but look at the total number of chances generated by Cabrera per nine innings for the last few years and the decline and the total number of chances created per nine created by Janish.

    Orlando Cabrera
    Chances/9 Chances/season (162 games)
    2004 4.48 726
    2005 4.23 685
    2006 4.40 713
    2007 4.50 729
    2008 4.73 766
    2009 4.61 747

    Paul Janish
    2004 4.79 776
    2005 5.36 869
    2006 4.71 763
    2007 4.37 709
    2008 4.93 799
    2009 4.94 800

    Ok, I took incomplete minor league stats from Janish and made each one of his appearances in a season as a nine inning game and I realize I’m not the greatest comment formatting person of all time but I’m willing to bet that Janish is worth an extra 50 chances this year and that would more than make up the 20 hits Orlando Cabrera would add. I hope Cabrera has a great year but that signing still doesn’t make sense to me and Dusty is gonna ride this horse till it breaks down.

  11. Cozart struck otu 87 times last year in 541 plate appearances in AA… in 600 big league plate appearances that would be more than 100 K’s.

    He’s also 24 years old right now…I don’t think he will be ready to come to Cincinnati this year, unless we’re injury decimated, which means his big league arrival age would be 25.

    50 years of Reds history says a Reds player that makes his debut at age 25 would be forecast to have a 4.7 year big league career, playing an total of 267 big league games, or about 50 games per year. If he was to make the bigs this year, he would be projected to spend 4.9 years in the big leagues or play an average of 316 big league games for his career.

    Players with debut age of 24: Joel Youngblood, Eric Owens, Jeff Treadway, Aaron Boone, Chris Denorfia, Brandon Larson

    Players with debut age of 25: Gary Redus, Jeff Branson, Tracy Jones, Paul Janish, Adam Rosales, Jason LaRue, and Josh Hamilton (who had other resaons)

    Side note: Todd Frazier is 24 this year…odds are declining; Yonder is 23 and counting. 23 year debut players have had average careers of 9.9 years and 914 major league games.

    the clock is ticking….

  12. Cozart v Janish offense: Janish’s better numbers were his first couple of years in the league in Rookie and A-ball. Cozart’s worst season was his first half season in Dayton (.619 ops).

    He followed that up with a full season Dayton campaign of .787 ops and a full season last year in AA, after skipping A+, with .758 ops. Janish hasn’t hit at AA or higher. AA .686 in 407 PA & AAA .666 in 592 PA.

    Cozart also played AA at a younger age (by 1 year) than Janish.

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