Friday, May 25, 2007

Helton, revisited

A couple times now we've discussed the possibility of Todd Helton being traded to the Sox (here and here for example). The major knock on him was his serious power decline. But so far this year (yes, I know it's early), his slide hasn't seemed to continue. He's slugging the same as he was in 2005 - which was way below his 2004 numbers but nowhere near as low as one might reasonably expect given the trend (anyone have his "official" projections for 2007?). Plus he's hitting and walking more than ever - BA of .361, OBP of .480. The numbers (year/BA/OBP/SLG/OPS):

2002 .329 .429 .577 1.006
2003 .358 .458 .630 1.088
2004 .347 .469 .620 1.089
2005 .320 .445 .534 .979
2006 .302 .404 .476 .880
2007 .361 .480 .538 1.018

The other thing everyone points out is the massive offensive boost he gets by playing half his games in Coors Field: sure enough, in every year from 2002 to 2006, his OPS is consistently 200-250 points higher at home than on the road. But this year - again with the caveat of small sample sizes - that discrepancy is totally gone:

Home .361 .495 .528 1.023
Away .360 .466 .547 1.013

Likely just a fluke. But you have to assume he's not going be a Rockie by August...

P.S. Another change for 2007: he's adopted the same ginormous goatee that Kevin Youkilis has. Or, as I like to call it, the 'frotee.


  1. Not to get into this stuff again...

    But...if Giambi gets cut by the Yankees, I wouldn't be surprised to see them upgrade with Helton at first and sit Mientadthadl;ha-ich.

    Not that they need more offense. Obviously they want pitching. But they will make a run at Helton.

    Where would the Sox put Helton? Lowell is on fire. Youk is en fuego. Ortiz is the DH.

    I could see them shifting around the OF a little bit and that could be where Youk goes...Drew to CF, Youk to RF, Manny in LF, Helton at first.

    But, the Sox won't pursue him...Heck, they might resign Lowell with the way he's playing.

  2. He has made a nice bounce back ans started strong this year, but his power is NOT back. Helton's lack of power is being disguised by his hig batting average.

    With the season about 1/4 of the way over, he would finish with essentially the same number of 2B and HR as last year. His walk rate is a bit up and his K rate is about the same.

    And his isolated power (SLG-AVG) is exactly where it was last year (170). Still a huge decline from his peak days of 2000-2004 (ISO of over 280 each year).

    He is getting on base like crazy - and who knows how much is luck. Is he driving ht ball and getting all these hits because he is now healthy? Or are there a few bloops in there that inflate the numbers. I don't know. I did hear that the Yanks might have interest. Toward that point, maybe we should hope for Miekeioworewoe to get a few more hits every now and then.

  3. No question his power is nowhere near its 2004 value. But what did BP forecast for his 2007 season? My guess it was quite a bit lower than what we're seeing - as far as I know a steep decline was universally predicted, which is really what kept his perceived value so low. Also:

    "His walk rate is a bit up and his K rate is about the same."

    In 2006 he got 1.42 BB/K. This year it's 2.64. A 50% increase is more than "a bit up".

  4. okay, you are definitely right about his k rate - up a ton, but you are right the bb/k rate is up a lot, ecause hi bb rate is way up.

    but I still think he has no power and that the SLG is distorted by his hi BA. Using Pecota, they predicted a .503 SLG or .030 points below where he is. But they also predicted a batting average of .303, which is .057 points below where he is - so his power IS still in decline. If he indeed was batting .300, like last year, his SLG would be closer to .510. Granted he is still valuable with an OBP of .400 and OPS of .900. And would have value as a non-franchise batter. But he is being paid $17MM. That is a lot of money for a singles hitter.

  5. I totally agree. I'm not at all advocating that Boston sign him - I'm just saying he won't be a Rockie for long. Yanks very well might pay $17M for a singles hitter - they've made a lot of worse investments before (see Pavano, Carl).

  6. My $0.02... I agree that Helton will move. Scanning through the MLB offenses one thing jumped out at me:

    The White Sox are 28th in Runs Scored! (Ok, the Cardinals being the worse is also note worthy).

    Anyway, you read it hear first. Helton will be in Chicago by the end of the season :-)

    Yes... it's a total guess. Yes... I am shoting from the hip...

    Oh... Boit!