Baseball Toaster Mike's Baseball Rants
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Jason and the…Clippers?
2005-05-11 21:03
by Mike Carminati
Nerine: After such a disaster what do you have left?
Medea: Me, I tell you, me, and that's enough.
—After the betrayal of Jason in "Medea" by Pierre "Rheal" Corneille

Jason Giambi is in danger of being shipped down to Columbus along with his problems. The onne-time MVP is yet to resemble his former self after the steroid and injury issues he has endured over the past year.

Giambi has some odd stats. He is batting .195 with an on-base percentage of .386, a slugging average of .325, and an OPS of .711. The OBP is great. The OPS is poor but not horrific. The BA and SLUG?…Well, Columbus beckons.

When my Toastermate Cliff Corcoran asked me earlier today how many players have gone an entire season with stats similar to Giambi's. I can't really say that anyone ever has.

Giambi is on pace for 86 walks, 138 strikeouts, 14 homers, 29 RBI, 71 hits, and 19 extrabase hits, in 367 at-bats. The guy hasn't had a double since April 18 nor a homer since April 19. His last RBI came April 23. He is 0-for-10 in May with 4 walks and 6 Ks for a .333 OBP, a .000 BA, .000 SLUG, and .333 OPS. He is currently zero for his last 14 at-bats with 7 Ks. Giambi's batting average is at least 53 points higher than the average major-league pitcher and he strikes out almost 3% less often (31.6% of pitcher plate appearances end in strikeouts and 28.7 of Giambi's have).

I doubt that Giambi's numbers would remain like they are now for an entire season. Either they will improve or Giambi will be either farmed out or benched to the point of marginalizing his impact. However, I wondered if anyone had ever matched his ratios for an entire season.

I found four other players who had a batting average no higher than .200, a slugging average no higher than .400, but an on-base percentage of at least .350 (min. 300 PA):

Denis Menke1973.191.368.270.638
Eddie Lake1949.196.359.254.613
Jimmy Sheckard1913.194.368.238.606
Lance Blankenship1993.190.363.254.617
Jason Giambi2005.195.386.325.711

Two of those four players retired after the season in question. The other two lasted no more than 30 games. If Giambi does continue this way, I can't say it bodes well at age 34, especially when he has almost four years and $86 M left on his Yankee contract

2005-05-11 23:06:10
1.   Cubdom Byron
Lance Blankenship...

Good Lord. I'm not familiar with the other players on that list, but I would never have thought to compare those two guys.

2005-05-12 01:30:34
2.   richie allen
Anderson Machado?
2005-05-12 06:13:30
3.   Mike Carminati
Lord Cubdom Byron,

Jimmy Sheckard actually was a borderline Hall of Famer with the Dogers and Cubs in the deadball era.

Menke has been a long-time coach in the Phils and Cubs organizations (I believe). He came up as a power-hitting shortstop (20 HRs one year) and was an All-Star with the Astros. But he ended up a journeyman who played basically any and every infield position. He was part of the Morgan-Lee May trade that helped build the Big Red Machine and Lil Joe's ego and world view.


Machado? How do you mean?

2005-05-12 06:17:59
4.   kcboomer
A minor problem in your thesis is that Giambi cannot be "farmed out". If he ends up in the minors it will be because he agrees to go there. The Yanks have to be very careful how they handle this because they could end up taking the full hit toward the luxury tax for Giambi's signing bonus even if Giambi agrees to go down or if they just cut him.
2005-05-12 07:38:31
5.   Mike Carminati

Whether it's mutual or unilateral, what's the diff? He can't really argue too vehemently when he's batting .195 given his recent history. Yeah, the Yanks have to weigh the luxury tax impact--I'm not sure how the bonus affects it--but I can't imagine that's the most important issue right now.

2005-05-12 12:21:06
6.   rbj
So far he's resisting it. But he's not going to get better sitting on the bench. Tino's staying in the line up, Bernie's hitting better at DH, or Torre could give a kid some ABs at that slot. I like Jason and hope he gets it together, but right now he needs to swallow his pride and go to Columbus.
2005-05-12 13:15:00
7.   Murray
Corneille? Not Euripides?
2005-05-12 13:19:41
8.   Mike Carminati
Euripides, You buy-a dese.
2005-05-14 08:15:37
9.   richie allen
Mike, Anderson Machado hit 196/360/296 in 423 at bats at AA Reading in 2003. He had 108 walks against 83 hits.

It struck me as being a very weird stat line, and Giambi's line reminded me of it.

2005-05-16 06:52:40
10.   Mike Carminati
Yeah, that's a good one. And that was after a year and change already at Reading ( In typical Phils' fashion, they promoted him directly to the majors for one game.

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