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Hanser Alberto’s season

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Hanser Alberto started the season on fire, and ended it freezing cold.   We can’t make too much of where he was on hot streaks/cold streaks in a 60 game season.  He ended at .698 OPS this year, and he was that low as late as Game 75 last year before getting hot, then cooling off again towards the end of the year.  

However, I do see two things that worry me:

1.   A significant increase in strikeout rate.   Last year Alberto only struck out 50 times in 550 PA, about a 9% K rate.    This year he struck out 30 times in 231 PA, about a 13% K rate.    When you’re a swing-at-everything kind of hitter, making contact is very important.

2.    He wasn’t as good defensively at 2B as I expected.   Last year he was plus on the defensive metrics at that position, this year he’s minus.   +5 Rtot to -2; +2 Rdrs to -2; +4.0 UZR to -1.3; OAA +3 to -3.    Defensive metrics take a long time to stabilize, but I take them seriously when they all point the same direction.   And, the eye test agrees with those numbers.    

wildcard has pointed out many times that Alberto has pretty extreme L/R splits, and while last year I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions based on one year of data (.948/.609) given his lack of extreme splits in the minors, the same pattern showed this year (.917/.635).    It’s fair to question if Alberto should remain an everyday player.

I still like Alberto, but I’d classify 2020 as disappointing for him.   

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Why bring him back?  Because you like him vs lefties?  To me, you either non tender him or offer him a 1 year deal for 1-2 million.  If he doesn’t like it, let him walk. He has no power and he doesn’t walk.  The league is adjusting to him.

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He put up .5 WAR overall. Over a full season, maybe he is a 1 WAR player. I would guess most of his value came vs LHP. Ideally we would have a lefty hitting, RHP-mashing infielder to pair him with at 2B or 3B, and the two could combine for 2-3 WAR without costing much. I wouldn't lose much sleep if we nontendered but also wouldn't mind keeping another year in the absence of an alternative. 

Gunnar, Vavra, and Servideo are all lefties but who knows when they will be ready. 

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The problem with our infielders is that we have no one with whom to replace them(except at 1b, where we have too many)

Like Nunez, Alberto will be picked up Immediately if he’s free, but no one will trade anything for him.

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I like the idea of keeping him, playing him everyday against lefties, and occasionally against righties.  He can also be a valuable pinch hitter against lefties in the three-batter limit era.  But only so long as his salary is reasonably low, in the few $million range.

In 1982 he would have had 325 at bats a year and hit .325.  He's the new, improved Garth Iorg, for those who remember the 80s.

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Not in his fan club.  He lights up the dugout with his smiile. Everybody seems to comment on that quality.  Not enough ! Let him go.

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Hanser’s a fantastic platoon player forced into an everyday role with no replacement knocking on the door and a clubhouse favorite. That’s enough for me for 1 time through arbitration. Obviously this team should still be trading away players who won’t be here long term if the right deal arises, but I think, at the least, we are at the point in the rebuild where we can afford to pay a few quality but flawed players above the league minimum. 

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20 minutes ago, Matt Bennett said:

Hanser’s a fantastic platoon player forced into an everyday role with no replacement knocking on the door and a clubhouse favorite. That’s enough for me for 1 time through arbitration. Obviously this team should still be trading away players who won’t be here long term if the right deal arises, but I think, at the least, we are at the point in the rebuild where we can afford to pay a few quality but flawed players above the league minimum. 

I think this is a fair point. I also like that he has some versatility. Maybe not really a SS, but he can play 2B and 3B. After a great year in 2019, his 2020 has him in a similar bucket to Rio Ruiz for me: a guy that is good enough for now, but likely gets pushed out down the road.

I think Alberto's ability against lefties plays more for trades at the deadline (a normal deadline) where teams are looking to fill key deficiencies to get to (and have success in) the postseason. I'd be inclined to tender him and see if anyone is willing to trade a couple lottery tickets for him at the deadline. I don't see anyone pushing for his spot this year, but Vavra and Bannon may have a chance by mid-year and then Hall may be on the way shortly thereafter.

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14 hours ago, Sports Guy said:

Why bring him back?  Because you like him vs lefties?  To me, you either non tender him or offer him a 1 year deal for 1-2 million.  If he doesn’t like it, let him walk. He has no power and he doesn’t walk.  The league is adjusting to him.

Do you like Velazquez better? 

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1 hour ago, Sports Guy said:

Don’t like any of them.

Well, that is the answer to your question "why bring him back?" He may be the best internal option for a placeholder until Gunnar/Vavra are ready. As long as he doesn't cost too much I don't see the harm. 

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2 hours ago, Aristotelian said:

Well, that is the answer to your question "why bring him back?" He may be the best internal option for a placeholder until Gunnar/Vavra are ready. As long as he doesn't cost too much I don't see the harm. 

I would rather give Bannon the at bats personally.  
 

Im ok with him coming back for a little bit of money.  He can hit lefties.  There is value to that and his versatility but I don’t really want him here.   By that I mean, I would rather watch someone that perhaps has more upside.

I know what Alberto is and it’s not overly thrilling to me although I do feel we are now greatly underrating BA.

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I would put him at third base next year, give Valaika most of the ABs at second base, look for longer-range upgrades at both spots, and let Ruiz go. 

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26 minutes ago, Sports Guy said:

I would rather give Bannon the at bats personally.  
 

Im ok with him coming back for a little bit of money.  He can hit lefties.  There is value to that and his versatility but I don’t really want him here.   By that I mean, I would rather watch someone that perhaps has more upside.

I know what Alberto is and it’s not overly thrilling to me although I do feel we are now greatly underrating BA.

OBP understates the value of a guy like Alberto -- singles hitter with little power who never walks (and usually doesn't strike out much). He generates virtually all his OBP through singles. 

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