Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Astros newest outfielder: Travis Buck

The Astros signed Travis Buck to a (reportedly) minor league contract. He had a 0 WAR in 2011, -.5 WAR in 2010, and -.1 WAR in 2009. He did have a 2.2 WAR in 2007, his first year (his career high in PA and Games). Travis Buck has a great Fielding Percentage at .997, however, his Range Factor is well below average. So is the whole "he doesn't get to many balls" game. Fielding statistics have tons of problems and aren't always reliable, but it does help to look at other metrics. His total zone runs have him in the positive, meaning he saves more runs than average. A similar result is found in Baseball Info Solutions defensive runs saved. So it seems safe to say he is at least above replacement at defense (he has a .4 D-WAR in his career). In 220 major league games, he has a .320 OBP, .727 OPS, .95 PPG, and 2.98 PAPP. However, even though it has been a relatively short career, it has been a tale of two different Bucks. So we will look at his 2007 season and his 2011 season. In 2007, he had a .377 OBP, .850 OPS, 2.55 PAPP, and 1.05 PPG. In 2011, his line was .275 OBP, .617 OPS, 3.64 PAPP, and .78 PPG. So why are these two years so different, can it be explained statistically, and can we project how 2012 will turn out. One of our very familiar friends, BABIP, helps explain a lot. In his good 07 year, he had a .347 BABIP, and in 2011 his BABIP was just .271. His career BABIP is under league average at .290 so it could come up. In both in 2011 and his career, he is an above average extra base hitter. This, along with being a flyball and linedrive hitter, leads me to believe that the BABIP and the OBP will come up from his 2011 and career numbers. He is an about average walker, and slightly below average home run hitter. His career Secondary Average is unimpressive at .266, as is his .166 ISO. Even though his Offensive winning percentage is .472, his Runs Created per game is above average at 4.6. His PPS is pretty poor at 87.67, and that can further explain inconsistencies. Overall, Buck could be a decent hitter, and for the price and no risk situation the Astros got him for, it is a good deal.

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