Who is really the best baseball team in the majors? I honestly don't know but I try to figure that out by using basic and advanced statistics. I live for talking about baseball, it's my biggest drive in my life and I will jump on the opportunity to talk baseball with anyone, even with people who I don't really like. For me, Baseball is a piece of art that sits in my mind all day, ready to be painted on at any point of the day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Conversation: The Fall of Grady Sizemore?

Grady Sizemore's reign as a top notch outfielder is pretty much completely over. If that even makes sense.

Sizemore is 28 so he should be in the beginning part of his prime but his career has taken a turn for the worst. He has spent all of his career on the Cleavland Indians. After a 30-30 season in 2008, Sizemore ran into some injury issues an was limited to 503 PA, 18 homers, and a .248 batting average. 2010 was even worse for the seven year veteran. In 140 PA, he it just .211 with 0 homers. This is a guy that has shown the ability to put up some strong power numbers and he ZERO home runs. Yes, ZERO balls that were hit by Sizemore cleared the fence. His season was then cut short by the requirement of knee surgery on his right knee. Just got unlucky last year, right? Well, in a way he did because the injury was unlucky but not his actual performance. He did not get unlucky last year, he is just declining.

Before I continue, I would just like to say that even though I am using cold, hard facts to back up my idea, I still feel that Sizemore could make a comeback. So with no further ado, here is why Grady Sizemore is on a train headed straight for "washed-up" station (excuse the bad humor):

Grady Sizemore's BABIP has been below his career mark for three years in a row which might signify that maybe his BABIP trend in his last three seasons is now his "real" BABIP, so to speak. To back this up, his line drive rate in 2009 was 16.3% which means that he has potential for his line drive rate to drop again, especially in a "time of crisis" in which injuries have plagued him in recent years. His ground ball rate has actually been increasing every year since 2007 so there could be trouble in the category very soon. His fly ball rate fell drastically from recent years in 2010, and this fall in fly ball rate was accompanied by small decreases in his fly ball rate from 2007-2009. So I am actually not surprised that his FB rate fell off this year.

A reason for why he could have a comeback year is that he has shown great plate discipline in his career, with the exception of last years small sample size. His career O-Swing% is just 19.1%. He also makes the pitcher work, averaging 4.03 career P/PA. Even in the two down years, 2009 and  2010, he was still able to maintain that number: 2009: 3.97; 2010: 3.96. From just watching him play, he is able to control the strike zone and appears to set up the pitcher so that the pitcher is forced to throw the pitch that he wants.

Thats all I have to say on Sizemore. I think he can for sure have a bounce back year but it will not be very big. .265 BA and a 360 OBP is a nice bet but his power if completely in question. I don't know if there is a no-trade clause in his current contract but assuming that there is not one, I would not be surprised to see Cleavland move him and bring in some prospects for the future since the Indians roster on paper is sub-par currently.

So to answer the question: no, it is not the fall of Grady Sizemore but he probably will not be the same player as he used to be. The knee surgery is going to have some to do with his overall skill set.

(Statistics in courtesy of: espn.com, fangraphs.com, and baseball-reference.com)

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