Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Free Agent Watch: Brad Hawpe

Brad Hawpe had a -6 WAR in 2011 for the San Diego Padres. In 7 years with the Rockies, Hawpe had a 3.3 WAR. To show you just how bad his defense was, he actually had a 11.2 O-WAR. He made $17.645 million in Colorado, giving him a 5347 WASP according to his full WAR, but a 1575 WASP according to his O-WAR. This certainly makes you consider him as a DH option for an AL team. However, his 2011 season is concerning: .301 OBP, 645 OPS, .68 PPG, and 3.18 PAPP. 2010 wasn't much better: .83 PPG, 2.78 PAPP, .338 OBP, .748, which is pretty mediocre. In Colorado, he had 4 straight years of .380+ OBP. So what happened? He had the highest AB/HR ratio in his career in 2011, hit slightly less groundballs in '11 than he did in 2010, and was around career average. In 2010, he also had a career low in BABIP, while it was around career average in 2011. Remember, all his good years were in Colorado, still a notorious hitters park. 2011 was with the Padres, one of the biggest pitcher's park in the league. He struggled with the lowest career Secondary Average, Slugging, and Isolated Slugging. It would be tempting to say he is somewhere between his Colorado and San Diego numbers, but he was terrible in a small sample in Tampa in 2010. His 2011 Offensive Win Percentage was a miserable .360%. In the good news department, he has always seen a lot of pitches: 4.14 pit/PA in 2010, 4.31 pit/PA in 2011, and 4.07 for his career. This gives you hope. He actually had a 100.93 pitches per starter metric in 2011, 99.7 in 10, and 100.22 in his career. This puts him in the same class as Matt Kemp. He can make a pitcher work and that is under valued. There are two major questions to answer that are extremely important to answer. Firstly, is Brad Hawpe a Colorado Rockies' Coors Field fluke (and what does that say about Todd Helton's "Hall of Fame" career)? His last full year in Colorado was in 2009, and there was a difference between his home and road splits. At Home: .397 OBP, 917 OPS, .395 BABIP, and 1.39 PPG. On the Road: .372 OBP, .890 OPS, .320 BABIP, and 1.26 PPG. He was clearly better in Colorado, however, his numbers on the road weren't as bad as his 2010/2011 numbers. So it is hard to call it a Coors Field fluke, tons of players would love his 2009 road statistics (so maybe Helton is safe). Also, how much will Hawpe command as a free agent? Will the last two seasons make him cheap (which, if true, could be a steal and valuable) or will his previous success command a lot of money? I wouldn't go more than a million and maybe another half, and only if I were an AL team, but I think he could be valuable. Even if forced to play the field, if he returns to Colorado form, a million and a half would be right around Halladay Standard.

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