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Thread: Paul Janish. Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB SS?

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    Flash the leather! _Sir_Charles_'s Avatar
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    Paul Janish. Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB SS?

    I'd been considering posting this for a while now, and with Ocab going down and Paul getting the nod as starter, I thought it might be a nice time to clarify things.

    I've seen this debated over and over again (most commonly in the game threads) but I've yet to see stats put in front of me that show me why Janish shouldn't be the starter over Cabrera (regardless of the injury). People go back and post his minor league numbers. Or they post his short stints in the bigs when he's getting the occasional spot start. But those stats never seem to take into account that his numbers were lower during those stages because he was rusty due to inactivity. But regardless, last spring training (2009) Dusty suggested to Paul that he work on his upper body strength (most notably his forearms and wrists) as that will help him increase his power at the plate. Not necessarily homeruns (like today...YIPPEE!), but with line drive power. He apparently took that suggestion to heart and Dusty said that he was working on that very thing quite hard last year.

    But as we all know, once a player gets a reputation, it tends to stick with them until they destroy that reputation once and for all. Well, Paul's reputation was "all glove, noodle bat". And prior to 2009, that description fit quite well unfortunately. But now let's look at 2009. From the beginning of the season until August 14th he was a bit player. He got the occasional playing time and the occasional spot start as Alex Gonzales was the full time starter until his trade to Boston for Kris Negron and some guy named "Cash". Now while Paul ended up with a paltry stat line of .211/.296/.305/.601, there were signs of improvement. Most notably, his 21 doubles in such limited playing time (256 ab's...168 of those after the Agon deal). I personally attribute a portion of his struggles to him sitting so much during the year. When he did see action, it was defensively and sometimes without a plate appearance at all. But the stats don't lie, he struggled despite the optimistic doubles numbers.

    Fast forward to spring training 2010. Paul has spent all off season preparing to be the starter. And in his mind, that means improving his numbers at the plate. More strength training. But then the surprise signing of Orlando Cabrera happens. Paul sees himself blocked by Alex Gonzales version 2.0. Instead of pouting, he works harder. During spring training, Paul got nearly identical opportunities as Cabrera did. In 20 games, he hit .350 with 3 doubles and 2 home runs in 40 at bats. Meanwhile, Cabrera in 20 games, hit .184 with 2 doubles and 0 home runs in 49 at bats. Big advantage to Paul, wouldn't you say? But Cabrera is the starter and Janish is relegated to the bench...again. All of this and we're STILL not even talking about the defensive differences between the two players. Don't worry, we'll get there.

    In April 2010, Paul got some limited playing time due to Rolen dealing with the flu and some back problems. The result for the month, .353, 3 doubles and 1 hr in 17 ab's. Most of that coming with him playing at third, not his natural position. But remember, he's not in the lineup because of his BAT. Meanwhile, in April, Orlando gets nearly every start (only 2 games he didn't start) and hits .241 with 3 doubles and 2 homeruns. And lets not forget that he played probably the worst defensive shortstop during that month that the Reds have ever seen. Keppinger & Hairston were GG'ers compared to Cabrera's range early in the season.

    In May 2010, Orlando again started every game but 2. Remember, this is a 35 year old shortstop we're talking about here. Rolen, whom everyone wants to get regular rest is...yep, 35. Now that we're starting to warm up a bit temperature-wise, Orlando's starting to get his legs loose and his defense is slowly improving. But just remember who his defensive counterpart is. So in May, Cabrera racks up 114 ab's and hits .289 with 5 doubles and a homerun. Orlando's bat has warmed up along with his legs.

    Meanwhile, Paul sits idly on the bench keeping the seat warm. He manages to get 2 starts in the whole month. Two. A whopping 15 at bats. And with that much rust and inactivity...he hits .200. He had a hot bat coming out of ST and in the first few weeks of the season...and he's put to sleep. Oh well. Done is done.

    In June, Cabrera doesn't start THREE games. Paul gets 3 starts that month too. Hmmm...I see a pattern. Janish's stats for the month plummet. His inactivity is making him extremely rusty at the dish. .083 for the month. Cabrera, well he's getting tons of playing time. He's almost NEVER getting days off and he's almost never pulled late in the game for defensive purposes. And the effects are showing. He also plummets back to earth to the tune of .204 for the month in 108 at bats. Only Phillips has more at bats than cabrera by this time.

    July gives us the All Star Break and a rejuvenated Cabrera. But it also gives us some nagging team injuries and increased playing time for Janish. He didn't get many more at bats, but he played much more regularly. Only getting 2 or 3 games off between appearances instead of the regular 7-9 days off. But Paul managed to put together a .368 average and Cabrera did well too with a .298 average. This one month seems to showcase what I've been wanting most of the season. More regular playing time for Janish to keep him sharp at the plate, and more regular rest for Cabrera to keep his legs fresh, his mind sharper, and his bat speed higher.

    So here we are with Cabrera down with an injury (Would regular rest have avoided this injury...I have no clue, and I don't want to saddle Dusty with that burden) and we stand thusly.

    Code:
                     G     AB      H     R    2B   HR    BB     K     AVG     OBP     SLG     OPS
    
    Janish          41     70     21     9     3    3    10    11    .300    .395    .471    .866    
    Cabrera        102    416    108    51    24    3    25    47    .260    .302    .339    .641
    The things that jump out at me here are the doubles, homeruns and the bb/k ratio. The bb/k ratio isn't something new for Paul either. He's always had a good eye at the dish. His "pop" seems to have improved and that combined with his already solid discipline makes for solid improvement. But even if it hasn't and it's all just small sample sizes, he still has great plate discipline and makes very consistent contact. He also has some attributes this club is sorely lacking from Cabrera. A player who works the count, who doesn't strike out much, who can draw some walks AND who plays EXTREMELY good defense at such a critical position.

    I know some will say that if Janish gets regular playing time his numbers will plummet. Well, I see an opposite outcome. If he sits, his bat slumps. As I'm sure most players' would. But since the spring of 2009, I think we're seeing an improved hitting shortstop in Paul Janish. But the question remains, will the Reds continue to see an "all glove, noodle bat" or give Paul the opportunity he's worked for?

    Anyway, I'd love for someone to show me why he's not a good enough hitter for the Reds at a "defense first" position.
    Last edited by _Sir_Charles_; 08-04-2010 at 07:33 PM.
    2014 predictions:
    99-63 WS champs (Cards take 2nd WC, Mil 3rd, Pit 4th, Chi 5th)
    Bruce/Votto neck and neck MVP race (neither takes it)
    Bailey CYA winner
    Hamilton ROY & GG

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  3. #2
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Paul Janish. Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB SS?

    Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB ss? Because his glove isn't good enough for his bat...
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Paul Janish. Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB SS?

    I believe he does have "enough" bat -- that is, he can be a replacement level bat with .750 OPS upside. He makes frequent contact, good plate discipline and doubles power. His glove will make him a decent, if not quite league average player, even if he doesn't hit up to his potential.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Formerly Farsighted Fan sabometrics's Avatar
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    Re: Paul Janish. Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB SS?

    He can be our Adam Everett. Is that a bad thing? No. But if that's how he projects (and I think it is), it is going to mean there could always be someone who could possibly be a better option, be it off FA, or out of the minors.
    "He looked like a surfer kid from SoCal," manager Dusty Baker says. "He didn't say much, but you could tell he was cool."

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Paul Janish. Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB SS?

    If Janish ever hit .750 that would be amazing.

    Of course I don't think he can

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    Re: Paul Janish. Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB SS?

    Many, many posters have said this all year.

    We expect Janish's stats to fall somewhat, but considering Cabrerra's OPS runs about .640, Janish would be a better player with an OPS of .600 and probably quite a bit lower.

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Paul Janish. Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB SS?

    Thank you for the big game Paul and the nice play in a limited role in 2010. That said, Janish Minor league career suggests a .750 OPS is a pipe dream.

    AA at age 24 in 327 ABs, - .695
    AAA at age 24 in 200 ABs - .601
    AAA at Age 25 in 318 Abs - .711

    Not sure why we expect anything more than .650 to .675. Below .600 seems a real possibility. Limited exposure is Paul's friend.

    As for the defense, the legend may be more than the performance. A fan base that hasn't seen a good defender at SS in a decade may be seeing what it wants to see. I also think that there is a tendency for the media to accentuate the positive. When a kid can't hit much, his average defense becomes plus and above average defense somehow morphs into super when he's being publicly decscribed. At least he has the defense to morph and we aren't hearing about his scrapiness and hustle.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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    Flash the leather! _Sir_Charles_'s Avatar
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    Re: Paul Janish. Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB SS?

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    If Janish ever hit .750 that would be amazing.

    Of course I don't think he can
    5 minor league seasons....733 ops. And he's now stronger and showing more power. Same plate discipline. Current ops...866. He not only "can", he IS.

    And I agree with Puffy. Even if he doesn't reach this .750 ops (and I have no clue why it's important for it to be that specific number), his glove MORE than validates a lower ops. And I don't see it as a stretch to say that the lower ops will still be higher than Cabrera's.

    Taking the Cabrera injury out of the equation, I don't see a reason why it shouldn't be Orlando filling the role of back up infielder and veteran pinch hitter.
    2014 predictions:
    99-63 WS champs (Cards take 2nd WC, Mil 3rd, Pit 4th, Chi 5th)
    Bruce/Votto neck and neck MVP race (neither takes it)
    Bailey CYA winner
    Hamilton ROY & GG

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    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Re: Paul Janish. Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB SS?

    There is only one way to find out, here is his opportunity. I said long ago that I thought he could fashion himself into a good enough hitter because he has good plate discipline, good selectivity, good contact skills and flat understands what he needs to do in any given PA. However I started changing my tune when I saw his incredible lack of strength, this was after he had improved it. Has he improved it more? Perhaps but I am not gonna believe it until I see it over a good stretch.
    "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

    --Woody Hayes

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Paul Janish. Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB SS?

    Quote Originally Posted by _Sir_Charles_ View Post
    5 minor league seasons....733 ops. And he's now stronger and showing more power. Same plate discipline. Current ops...866. He not only "can", he IS.

    And I agree with Puffy. Even if he doesn't reach this .750 ops (and I have no clue why it's important for it to be that specific number), his glove MORE than validates a lower ops. And I don't see it as a stretch to say that the lower ops will still be higher than Cabrera's.

    Taking the Cabrera injury out of the equation, I don't see a reason why it shouldn't be Orlando filling the role of back up infielder and veteran pinch hitter.
    He didn't approach that at the higher levels. His A Ball numbers at age 23 skew the totals. Using overall minor league numbers is about the easiest way tp distort things or at least see what you want to see. That .733 for 5 seasons is about as valid as the phases of the moon or the way he wears his socks.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Paul Janish. Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB SS?

    If Janish could OPS .750 he'd be a top 5 offensive shortstop this season (based upon players with at least 400 PAs thus far). Since it's likely that he'd be something like at least a +10 glove that would mean he'd be a 4 WAR player over 600 PAs.

    Are we really at a place where that seems possible?
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Re: Paul Janish. Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB SS?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    If Janish could OPS .750 he'd be a top 5 offensive shortstop this season (based upon players with at least 400 PAs thus far). Since it's likely that he'd be something like at least a +10 glove that would mean he'd be a 4 WAR player over 600 PAs.

    Are we really at a place where that seems possible?
    .750 OPS for Janish is unrealistic but .650 isn't out of the question. Where would a .650 OPS and +10 glove put him WAR wise?
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Paul Janish. Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB SS?

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    .750 OPS for Janish is unrealistic but .650 isn't out of the question. Where would a .650 OPS and +10 glove put him WAR wise?
    If you even believe is UZR, how do we really know he's a +10 glove? He hasn't really accumulated enough PT for any defensive numbers to be valid. Check back in 3 years.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Re: Paul Janish. Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB SS?

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    If you even believe is UZR, how do we really know he's a +10 glove? He hasn't really accumulated enough PT for any defensive numbers to be valid. Check back in 3 years.
    My eyes tell me he's a well above average defender.
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Paul Janish. Why doesn't he have enough bat for MLB SS?

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    .750 OPS for Janish is unrealistic but .650 isn't out of the question. Where would a .650 OPS and +10 glove put him WAR wise?
    As a shortstop, he'd be something like a major league average player...kind of like a Jack Wilson.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner


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