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April 19, 2008

Giambi's Batting Skill Worthless & Yanks Should Cut Him

One of the splits that they track at Baseball-Reference.com is how a batter does against Power and Finesse pitchers. This is how they see each type of pitcher:

Power pitchers strike out or walk more than 28% of batters faced, Finesse pitchers strike out or walks less than 24% of batters faced. Stats are based on the three years before and after (when available), and the season for when the split is computed. A split in 1994 would consider years 1991-1997.

Note these Power/Finesse splits for Jason Giambi over the last three seasons - with 2008 being as of this morning:

2008		PA	 BA	 OBP	SLG     BAbip
vs.  Power	35	.037	.229	.037	.048 
vs.  avg.P/F	 3	.000	.333	.000	.000 
vs.  Finesse	17	.286	.412	.857	.182 
						     
2007		 PA	 BA	 OBP	SLG     BAbip
vs.  Power	 84	.176	.333	.206	.293 
vs.  avg.P/F	149	.248	.349	.496	.261 
vs.  Finesse     70	.281    .400	.561	.239 
						     
2006		PA	 BA	 OBP	SLG     BAbip
vs.  Power	122	.157	.369	.348	.153 
vs.  avg.P/F	311	.280	.434	.561	.296 
vs.  Finesse	146	.271	.404	.712	.207 

Note the difference for Giambi against Power and Finesse pitchers:

Power	  PA	 BA	 OBP	 SLG    BAbip
2008	  35	.037	.229	.037	.048 
2007	  84	.176	.333	.206	.293 
2006     122	.157	.369	.348	.153 
Finesse	  PA	 BA	 OBP	 SLG    BAbip
2008	  17	.286	.412	.857	.182 
2007	  70	.281	.400	.561	.239 
2006	 146	.271	.404	.712	.207 

These splits are interesting. Clearly, over the last three seasons, Jason Giambi is completely over matched against Power pitchers. But, against Finesse pitchers, his OPS numbers are great.

That said, note the BAbip (Batting Average on balls in play) numbers for Giambi against Finesse pitchers: .182, .239, and .207.

When I see these numbers, it suggests to me that, against Finesse pitchers, Giambi's greatest skill is working a walk and hitting some big flys. And, it's basically that all (BB or HR) or nothing for Giambi against Finesse pitchers. In a sense, it's as if Jason Giambi's best offensive weapon here is when the (Finesse) pitcher makes a mistake - meaning a walk or a hanger.

In summary, it appears evident that Jason Giambi cannot hit a Power pitcher. And, there's some evidence to suggest that Giambi's best success against a Finesse pitcher only comes when the pitcher makes a mistake. In total, as a batter, left to his own skill, Giambi - over the last three years - is worthless.

Yes, I know, I haven't addressed Giambi's batting results against "average Power/Finesse" pitchers here. In 2006, Giambi's numbers against these types were very good. And, in 2007, they were acceptable. But, like the importing/exporting debate on Seinfeld, I would question if "average Power/Finesse" pitchers do more Finesse work than Power work and that's why Giambi fares well here - like he does against "true" Finesse pitchers.

Why the Yankees keep running Jason out there, I dunno? I know that Giambi is due $23,428,571 this season. So, I can see why, maybe, the Yankees feel like they need to play him.

Me? I'd go another way. I would just cut him, at this point. He cannot play the field. He can't run. And, as the stats show, he's very limited as a hitter. Sure, you run the risk of him going somewhere else, with you paying him, and maybe hitting some homers (off mistake pitches). But, I'd be willing to trade that for getting someone on the roster (in place of Giambi) that can help the team.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at April 19, 2008 09:27 AM

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