The Gross Injustice: Where is Gabe?


Today is January 27th and Gabe Gross is still unemployed. Here are some points to consider:

*In the past 3 seasons, Gabe Gross is 2nd in the Majors in UZR/150  in RF at 17.8 among all players with 1500 innings minimum.  This alone should qualify him as a defensive replacement specialist.

*Good on base skills as evidenced by his 12.9% BB%.

 

*Gabe Gross had a BABIP of .294 last year despite:

-A screaming 23.2% Line Drive %, good for 18th in MLB for PA>300. The average BABIP of the top 35 in LD% was .331.

-Registering as the third fastest speed off the bat (84.2 MPH) on the Rays in the April Hit Fx sample that was released in 2009 behind Carlos Pena and Pat Burrell.

BABIP Estimations:

LD+ 12%= .352

Using League Avgs per Batted Ball Type as Weights: .315

Using xBABIP calculator: .326

 

It's probably safe to say that bad luck contributed to Gabe Gross putting up a wRC+ of 86, his first wRC+ below league average since 2005. Generally, in a platoon role Gross will give you a league average bat with a top of the line glove. Yes he is 30, and yes his K rate soared to 28.2% in 2009 along with an O-Swing % of 22.6% (career avg (17.7%). However, you can make a strong case that a lineup of Zobrist at 2B with a Kapler/Joyce platoon in RF is a better lineup than Zobrist in RF with Orlando Hudson at 2B. If there is any ambition to control Joyce's service clock, I would prefer the outfield platoon of the Gabe of the Day with Zo at 2B, to the glitzier O-Dog/Zo combo.  Pocket the saved money and sign another bullpen arm.

Assuming Zobrist plays RF as well he does 2B,  there is no need to factor positional adjustments. The Gabes offer over the past 3 years UR/150 of 17.9 for Gross and 20.0 for Kapler. Chone has Kapler at-1.3 runs at the plate and Gross at .1. That about 1.75 Wins. Chone has Hudson's bat at 2.2 runs, though he's averaged a Win over the past 3 seasons.The glove measures about league average with a slight skew to the negative. According to Chone, the Gabes are about 1.5 more WAR than O-Dog as a Zo complement. If you give O-Dog the benefit of the doubt and award him a win with the bat, the Gabes still are a half-win better.

While I prefer Matty Joyce getting his shot alongside Kapler, whatever team decides to bite on Gabe Gross will receive an excellent platoon value.

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