Tuesday, January 11, 2005

       G   AB  H  2B 3B  HR  SO  BB  SB  CS  AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS+  EqA  ZR(2B)

2004 144 468 130 20 5 10 92 41 15 5 278 351 406 98 .264 .847(1)
Car. 144 489 136 26 5 9 76 31 17 7 278 329 406 91 .252 .854
Pro. 143 465 129 22 4 10 81 37 17 5 277 347 404 99
If you've been reading my ravings for awhile, you may have picked up on the fact that I am quite fond of Adam Kennedy. Here's why:

1. Adam Kennedy has had an OBP better than the league average for each of the last three seasons.

2. Adam Kennedy led AL qualifiers at second in zone rating in 2004, was third in 2003, second in 2002, and first in 2001. If you want to look at the majors instead of just the AL, he was first in 2001, second in 2002, sixth in 2003, and second in 2004. I haven't studied it thoroughly, but he is almost certainly the most consistent of any second base defender over that period in his excellence.

3. Mitchel Lichtman's UZR has a weighted average of +25 runs for Kennedy from 1999 through 2003, second only to Placido Polanco, who played far fewer games, and as such has a much lower sample size. From 2000 through 2003, Kennedy was a total of +70 on defense by this measure, and in 2004 he was +12.

4. Kennedy is a good and smart baserunner. He has had only one season where he had a substandard SB%, and is above 70% for his career. Anecdotally, I'd have to say that I'm never shaking my head or throwing things at my TV when he's running the bases, which are acts I must take several times a game for most of the team. MGL keeps track of baserunning, too, and says Kennedy was a total of +5 above average in baserunning over the course of 2000-2003. Given the narrow band of variation on this part of the game, that's pretty good. And just to finish up the talk on MGL's analysis, he projects Kennedy as the best overall 2B in the game in 2005 (post 91 here) were he to be healthy for the whole year. I don't know if I buy that, but who knows ...

5. I was there when Kennedy hit his three home runs in Game 5.

6. I was telling a female co-worker that I was sad about Kennedy being hurt, and she said she didn't care because she doesn't follow baseball, but then another female co-worker who likes the Angels jumped in to say that she should care because Kennedy "is cute." So Kennedy is attracting comely college-age women to the ballpark! (He practically has Wally Joyner's hairline, so I don't really know how that works, but I'm not really an expert on the subject ...)

If I were the Ninja Guy, I'd sum it up thusly:

1. Adam Kennedy is a mammal.
2. Adam Kennedy turns ground balls into outs ALL the time.
3. The purpose of Adam Kennedy is to flip out and hit three home runs in the ALCS.

In short, though he's obviously not a superstar, Kennedy is one of those guys who really does do all of the little things well, and is an above-average player and valuable contributor.

So, anyway, I'm sad that Adam's hurt for an undetermined amount of time, and that we might not see him on the field until August. Legs Figgins may hit as well as Kennedy, and though he's not likely to be as good a fielder the drop-off shouldn't be too large. And as I've argued a few times in the past, Kennedy should be platooned. He's not very good against left-handed pitchers, and the team would be really well off to let Figgins take those at-bats.

This assumes, of course, that Kennedy can come back from injury okay. Here's hoping he does, and that he can enjoy several more years of success.

"I don't really know how that works, but I'm not really an expert on the subject ..."

Ladies dig the overbite?
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