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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Placido Polanco: The new third baseman

Placido Polanco has signed a 3-year, 18 million dollar contract with the Phillies. He will replace Pedro Feliz at third base.

Polanco is a fantastic second baseman, but he hasn't played third base since 2005. Feliz was above-average defensively, so Polanco will probably either equal Feliz's ability or become a slight downgrade. However, Polanco is more mobile and his range may exceed that of Feliz. The defensive difference between the two is likely small.

Offensively, however, Polanco is vastly superior to Feliz, which makes this decision a no-brainer. Polanco has a career .348 OBP, and he has never had a full season below the .330 mark. Feliz, on the other hand, has a .293 OBP and never had a full season over the .308 mark. Their SLG% are a wash (Feliz .422; Polanco .414).

Neither Feliz nor Polanco walk much at all. The difference between the two is their strikeout rate. Feliz strikes out 15% of his plate appearances, while Polanco strikes out at a 6% rate.

This seems to be a perfect move for the Phils, but I am concerned as to where he will be placed in the lineup. Jayson Stark has this to say:

"The Phillies declined the option on third baseman Pedro Feliz last month to see if they could find a righthanded-hitting offensive upgrade who could help balance their left-leaning lineup. They envision Polanco hitting second behind Jimmy Rollins, a move that would drop Shane Victorino lower in the order."

That would be bad. Rollins' career OBP is much lower than both Polanco's and Victorino's. My vote is Victorino as a lead-off man and Polanco in the two-hole, while Rollins swings away from the 7-spot. Regardless of the lineup, however, the Phils have improved pretty significantly.

6 comments:

Scott Graham said...

I'm not sure how thrilled I am with Polanco at third base. He hasn't played there in a while, he's old, and I think he is a significant downgrade defensively. Pedro Feliz is an elite third baseman. I think the difference defensively is almost as big a gap as the difference offensively (slightly larger gap offensively).

I agree with the lineup, but we know that won't happen.

Andy Musser said...

I think Feliz lost a good amount of range defensively, and the drop-off will not be too significant (if at all).

Even if it were significant, the offensive difference is too overwhelming to ignore.

Anonymous said...

you are both neglecting the oddness difference in shape of head, in which case polanco takes the cake

Anonymous said...

Feliz's defense signifacantly decreased from 2007 to 2009. While he was very steady, his range decreased in 2009.

With his back injury and his age, his range would probably decrease once more.

Moving forward I think this is an excelent signing.

ROLLINS IN THE 7 HOLE... PLEASE!!!!!

Anonymous said...

ps. Polanco looks like Spongebob pretending to be squidward. picture to come soon.

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