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Monday, September 13, 2004
The Broken Clock

It's a tired old phrase, but I think it applies well here.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day
Broken Clock. It's a nickname I've given my least favorite player on the Sox, Timo Perez.

You see Timo Perez has become something of a mascot for the "ozzieball" philosophy. Hawk and DJ gush about his ability to hit with runners in scoring position, or about his little dance that he does while on the basepaths. Timo has become this lovable figure that somehow shows "how the game should be played." (that's a direct quote from Hawk) The redeeming quality that both the TV announcers and fans hang their hats on is Timo's ability to hit with RISP.

This is how I've come to call him 'The Broken Clock'. Those same announcers and fans fail to recognize the supreme ineptness of Timo in all other phases of the game. I have a terrible fear that Sox GM Kenny Williams may share the same myopic views.

I know there are those out there, mostly "statheads" or "sabermatericians", who don't put too much stock into the whole RISP thing. They cite the wild fluctuations in situational hitting from year to year in their argument(see Arod). Hawk and DJ are obviously not of this ilk. I lie somewhere in between the 'stathead' philosophy and the old school way of thinking. I believe that you can sometimes see a different approach from a player reflected within their splits. So while a 'stathead' would completely dismiss Timo's high RISP average, I will actually listen to the argument. I believe that, given time, a players situational splits will trend toward his career norm. Which is, I guess, essentially the 'stathead' philosophy. I suppose that I just don't like being labeled.

Back to the original goal of this entry: to prove that Timo is almost completely useless.

Let's start on defense. Timo has a decent arm, and has recorded a number of assists and double plays this season. However, he has little-to-no range in the outfield. The only everyday rightfielder in baseball that he is obviously better than is Miguel Cabrera, who's be a nomad for the Florida Marlins ever since breaking in last season. His Zone Rating and Range Factors compare to those of Sammy Sosa and Jermaine Dye, hardly anyone you would consider a defensive force. So defensively, Timo is less than special, and not an upgrade over who we've had roaming rightfield for the past 6 years.

Offensively it doesn't get any better; in fact, it gets worse. To prove how offensive Timo's offense has been, I dipped into ESPN's sortable stats once again. I compared Timo to AL outfielders who've had at least 250 plate appearances this season. There was a total of 55 players who met this requirement. 55 is a significant number because it represents about 4 times 14, the 14 AL teams 4 most used outfielders. So the group I'm comparing Timo to includes not just superstars and established players, but 4th outfielders and role players.

Of those 55 players, here's where Timo ranked in various statistical categories.
  • AVG - (50) - .249
  • OBP - (53) - .291
  • SLG - (54) - .344
  • OPS - (53t) - .635
  • Runs Created - (55) - Runs Created is Bill James' seminal baseball statistic. It measures overall offensive prodution. It has undergone constant evolution, an incredibly accurate measure of offensive production.
  • Isolated Power - (51) - of the 4 player he ranked ahead of in this category, he was the only player to have a BA below .300. The others get on base regularly, making up for their lack of power. (Isolated power is slugging minus batting average.)
  • Secondary Average - (54) - Ranks ahead of only Alex Sanchez, who was challenging for the emptiest batting average in recent history. Secondary average is a measure of how often you advance past first base, either by stealing bases, or hitting extra base hits.

So what conclusions can we draw from those stats? Timo hasn't hit. Timo hasn't gotten on base. Timo hasn't hit for any power. Timo hasn't advanced himself past first base. Timo has been bad offensively.

So overall what have we learned? Of the 5 tools of baseball, (hitting, hitting for power, fielding, speed, and throwing) Timo only possesses one. Sure Timo has been "clutch" this season, but is that any reason to keep him around? Is that any reason for him to be stealing playing time from a still developing Joe Borchard? Over time Timo's RISP average will trend more towards his career average. At that point, what value does he have at all? KW you need to get rid of this guy now.