Monday, October 10, 2011

Are the Braves really going to trade Jason Heyward?

There are some rumors on the Internets that the Braves may deal Jason Heyward. Surely this just frustrated Braves bloggers, desperate to pin the failures of 2011 on something. It wasn't a very good offensive season for Heyward, a bad .319 OBP, .708 OPS, 2.8 PAPP, and .89 PPG. With that said, he still put up a 2 WAR, and he only made $497,000, which is a fantastic WASP of 249. 2010 was much better though, as he put up a 5.2 WAR, 78 WASP, .393 OBP, .849 OPS, 2.41 PAPP, and 1.3 PPG. So what was the difference? One would be tempted to say that a book got out on him after his rookie year, and pitchers knew how to pitch to him. There is a rather obvious problem to this. He walked 91 times in 2010, it is not as if pitchers were just throwing meatballs up to him for him to hit. There is a better nonstatistical analysis, he wasn't healthy. He was battling injuries all year, and simply wasn't able to play up to his best abilities. There are statistical explanations as well though. Start with BABIP, in 2010 it was .335, in 2011, it was .260. This could either be luck, or he hit the ball like a little girl in 2011. If he was unhealthy, as it seems he was, it was the latter. The isolated slugging was lower, but not by a whole lot. As far as ratios go, the biggest difference was the percentage of walks per plate appearances, but it was really only about a 3% difference. Most distressing was that he went from 14% of his flyballs being in the infield in 2010, to 20% in 2011. In my opinion, most of these statistics could be explained by injuries. He is going to go through arbitration for the next 4 years, and won't be a free agent until about 2016. You simply aren't going to anyone that can get you that type of value realistically (unless you can get 2 or 3 MLB ready prospects or Mike Stanton). The Braves have made some pretty strange moves in recent years, but they have a pretty solid organization. I would be shocked if they made a move here, because this would make no sense.

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