Soriano-to-Washington trade a big whiff for Nats

Alfonso Soriano, more than anyone else in Major League Baseball, hates walking. Who knows why, but one thing’s for certain, no one walks less than Soriano, the latest member of the Washington Nationals. In 3490 plate appearances, Soriano has just 157 walks.

With a career on-base percentage of .320, Soriano, who led off with the Yankees, has long defied normal expectation. While Soriano is often an all-or-nothing, home run-or-strike out hitter, he has a career .500 slugging percentage, and his .512 mark last season was good for third among all second basemen.

With such drastic numbers, Soriano is an enigma when it comes to attempting to assess his worth to a team. He had a VORP of 47.8, placing him fifth among second basemen. But his WARP-3 (a measure of how many wins above replacement level a player contributes) of 4.9 placed him squarely in the middle of the pack among those at his position.

Now, it seems, the Washington Nationals have acquired this enigma. In a trade for Brad Wilkerson, Terrmel Sledge, and a player to be named later, Soriano moves from Texas to Washington. It also seems that Soriano will be moving from second base to left field. This move slightly decrease Soriano’s value. He falls to the bottom of the pack among left fielders in on-base percentage and his slugging would be seventh among left-fielders.

Furthermore, Soriano, who turns 30 in January, won’t be enjoying the cozy confines of Texas anymore. This, more than a position move, could have a negative effect on Soriano’s production. This year, Soriano’s home-road splits illustrate a compelling story. In Ameriquest Field, he hit .315/.355/.656 with 25 home runs in 311 at-bats. On the road, Soriano hit just .224/.265/.374 with 11 home runs in 326 at-bats.

So now what happens when Soriano is playing all of his home games in RFK Stadium without Mark Teixeira and the rest of the high-powered Texas offense in front of him? A quick glimpse at some raw park factors could clue us in to Soriano’s future. Ameriquest was number two big leagues behind Coors Field in inflating scoring all around. The Rangers hit 153 home runs at home, compared to 107 on the road. That’s an astounding 50 percent more home runs at home than on the road.

Meanwhile, RFK in the Nation’s Capital wasn’t nearly as friendly. The Nats hit just 46 home runs at home and 71 on the road. So RFK dulled home runs by nearly a third for the Nationals.

Soriano, a big fly ball hitter, now moves to RFK where his Ameriquest home runs will become RFK outs. He, along with his low career OBP, join a team that was in the bottom third of the league in terms of getting on base last year. He’ll slide into a line up with very little protection in a team that isn’t expected to finish higher than fourth next year.

Long gone are the days when Soriano could hit with Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, and Hideki Matsui behind him. Gone are the days when Soriano could hit behind Michael Young and Mark Teixeira. Now, at the age of 30 and with one season left before free agency, Soriano will face his toughest challenge yet. He’ll want a large contract after this year, but he has to play in an extreme pitcher’s park in left field instead of at his normal position. He won’t be thrilled about switching positions, and a player of his make won’t be successful in Washington.

While the Nationals with GM Jim Bowden love making moves, I sometimes wonder why the brain trust of the Nationals decided that Soriano would be a good fit. He isn’t, and I expect him to struggle mightily in 2006.

Meanwhile, in the same week, the second baseman with the lowest on-base percentage – Alfonso Soriano – and the second baseman with the highest on-base percentage in 2005 – Luis Castillo – were both traded. I can only wonder if that’s ever happened before.

Advertisements

1 Response to “Soriano-to-Washington trade a big whiff for Nats”


  1. 1 Chris December 8, 2005 at 12:38 pm

    Good analysis. I agree with your concern about him and the power alleys, but I don’t think you can necessarily just look at his road stats, and say that’s what he’s going to do.

    For one, when he’s on the road, he’s playing in Safeco and the Coliseum. Those are the two biggest pitcher’s parks in the AL. Throw in a neutral Anaheim, and he’s facing a road climate that’s actually a park disadvantage. And, if you look at the pitching staffs he’s facing, his numbers aren’t surprising. A healthy dose of Oakland and Anaheim’s staffs are going to make most batters numbers look poor.

    I worry about his transition to outfield, and I worry about him chasing sliders in the dirt, but there’s no reason he can’t put up a .280/ .315/ .480 line. That’s pretty good. Not great. But good enough to be our second or third best hitter. It’s probably not $10 million worth, but if they can move Vidro’s ungodly contract…. And I’d rather they dump the money into payroll than Selig’s pockets anyway! 😉


Comments are currently closed.



RSS River Ave. Blues

  • Game 74: A Sonny Saturday June 23, 2018
    The Yankees lost for only the fifth time in their last 22 games last night, and you know what’s crazy? Two of those five losses were by one run and the other three were by two runs. Even when they lose, the Yankees are in every game right to the end. Losing winnable games stinks, […] The post Game 74: A Sonny Saturday appeared first on River Avenue Blues. […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Saturday Links: Watson, Giambi, YES Network, Kay, Singleton June 23, 2018
    The Yankees and Rays will continue their three-game series with the middle game later this afternoon. Here are some links and notes to check out in the meantime. Yankees pursued Watson over the winter According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees tried to sign left-hander Tony Watson during the offseason. He instead signed a luxury tax […] The post Saturday Links: […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Rays 2, Yankees 1: A forgettable loss if there ever was one June 23, 2018
    Ugh, I hate that the Yankees only win most games and not all games. The Yanks dropped a completely forgettable series opener to the Rays on Friday night. Giancarlo Stanton made a great catch and … that’s it? Nothing else of note happened. The final score was 2-1. Sabathia Bends, Breaks Only A Little Pretty […] The post Rays 2, Yankees 1: A forgettable loss i […]
    Mike Axisa
  • DotF: Clarke Schmidt debuts following Tommy John surgery June 23, 2018
    MLB.com posted their midseason top 100 prospects list today. Three Yankees made it: OF Estevan Florial (No. 39), LHP Justus Sheffield (No. 42), and RHP Albert Abreu (No. 65). 2B Gleyber Torres and 3B Miguel Andujar are no longer prospect eligible while RHP Chance Adams, who was No. 66 before the season, has dropped out […] The post DotF: Clarke Schmidt debut […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Game 73: A Trip to the Trop June 22, 2018
    The season is nearly halfway complete, and the Yankees are just now making their first trip to Tropicana Field. Very weird schedule this year. I’m not complaining. The Trop stinks. Just pointing out the schedule is weird. First of three in St. Pete tonight. As for the Yankees, my goodness they are red hot right […] The post Game 73: A Trip to the Trop appear […]
    Mike Axisa
  • 6/22 to 6/24 Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays June 22, 2018
    For the first time this season, the Yankees will play in Tropicana Field. They’re in Tampa for three games this weekend. The Last Time They Met It seems like just yesterday that the Yankees hosted the Rays, but that’s not quite true; in fact, it was last week. The Rays visited the Bronx last weekend, […] The post 6/22 to 6/24 Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays a […]
    Domenic Lanza
  • Yankeemetrics: Bomber Brooms, Seattle Sweep (June 19-21) June 22, 2018
    Domingo+Dingers=Win After a quick trip to the nation’s capital, the Yankees were back at the friendly confines on Tuesday night and opened their series with an easy 7-2 win over the Mariners. Domingo German was absolutely brilliant in his eighth career start. After giving up a run (unearned) in the first inning, he retired 19(!) […] The post Yankeemetrics: B […]
    Katie Sharp
  • Mailbag: Torres, Adams, Loaisiga, Gardner, Drury, Judge, Bundy June 22, 2018
    There are ten questions in this week’s mailbag. RABmailbag (at) gmail (dot) com is the mailbag email address, so send your questions there each week. Ryan asks: Any explanation for the power Torres is showing in the majors? I think I read he had only 24 homers in like 1,500 at bats in the minors. […] The post Mailbag: Torres, Adams, Loaisiga, Gardner, Drury, […]
    Mike Axisa
  • DotF: Wagner goes deep yet again in Tampa’s win June 22, 2018
    Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (3-1 win over Lehigh Valley) SS Tyler Wade: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 SB — 24-for-73 (.329) with five doubles, a triple, and two homers in his last 17 games … that looks a lot more like pre-2018 Tyler Wade 1B Brandon Drury: 1-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K — second start […] The post DotF: Wagner goes deep yet again in Tampa’s win appeared […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Thursday Night Open Thread June 21, 2018
    ?Good game today, great series this week. The Yankees finished the three-game sweep of the Mariners this afternoon and they are now 28 games — 28 games! — over .500 on June 21st. Feels awesome. The 2018 Yankees are not perfect, far from it, but damn, is this team good or what? Great team and […] The post Thursday Night Open Thread appeared first on River Ave […]
    Mike Axisa

Blog Stats

  • 62,703 hits
Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: