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

  • The Rest of the AL East [2017 Season Preview] March 30, 2017
    There has been an interesting bit of parity in the AL East this decade, as every team has won the division crown in the last seven years. The Red Sox appear to be the standard-bearer, with both ZiPS and PECOTA projecting them to repeat as division champs – but both also have at least four […] The post The Rest of the AL East [2017 Season Preview] appeared fi […]
    Domenic Lanza
  • Spring Training Game Thread: Final Grapefruit League Game March 30, 2017
    This afternoon the Yankees are playing their final Grapefruit League game of the year. They still have one exhibition game remaining, tomorrow night at the brand new SunTrust Field in Atlanta, but this is the final game in Florida. Well, at least until the Yankees come back to play the first series of the regular […] The post Spring Training Game Thread: Fin […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Yankees finalize Opening Day roster; Holder, Mitchell, and Shreve make the bullpen March 30, 2017
    Earlier this morning, Joe Girardi informally announced the Yankees’ 25-man Opening Day roster. Aaron Judge will be the right fielder and Luis Severino will be the fourth starter, and the decision to option out Rob Refsnyder means Pete Kozma will be the utility infielder. Also, Girardi told Bryan Hoch that Bryan Mitchell, Jonathan Holder, and […] The post Yan […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Girardi on Aaron Judge: “He’s our right fielder” March 30, 2017
    Common sense prevails! Joe Girardi announced this morning Aaron Judge will be the Yankees’ starting right fielder this season, according to Erik Boland. “He’s our right fielder,” said Girardi. The club was reportedly considering sending Judge to Triple-A as recently as yesterday. Judge, 24, is hitting .345/.406/.569 with three homers so far this spring. He’s […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Rob Refsnyder Optioned to Triple-A March 30, 2017
    Earlier today, the Yankees announced that Rob Refsnyder had been optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 26-year-old was batting just .209/.314/.349 in 43 at-bats, and was openly put on the trading block three weeks ago. There was some talk that he could have a shot at heading north in a bench role on the heels of the […] The post Rob Refsnyder Optioned to Tr […]
    Domenic Lanza
  • Passan: Yankees will use Luis Severino as fourth starter March 30, 2017
    According to Jeff Passan, right-hander Luis Severino has made the Opening Day roster and the Yankees will use him as their fourth starter. Neither Joe Girardi nor anyone with the team has announced anything yet, however. Still, all signs point in this direction. This isn’t exactly a surprise. Severino, 23, has allowed six runs in […] The post Passan: Yankees […]
    Mike Axisa
  • There are many pros and only a few cons to signing Sanchez to a long-term contract March 30, 2017
    February and March make up extension season in baseball. Most pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players hammer out their contracts for the upcoming season this time of year, and inevitably some strike long-term deals with their teams. In recent weeks Tim Anderson, Rougned Odor, Jose Ramirez (the hitter, not the pitcher), Kevin Kiermaier, and Carlos Ma […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Open Thread: March 29th Camp Notes March 29, 2017
    Your browser does not support iframes.The Yankees are officially Spring Training champions. They clinched baseball’s best record this spring with their win this afternoon. Neat. The Yankees are now 23-8-1 while the second place Cardinals are 20-8-4. Both teams have two games to play. Aaron Judge had two singles this afternoon and he even stole […] The post O […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Poll: The 2017 RAB Prospect Watch March 29, 2017
    One of our longest running features — I hesitate to call it a feature, but whatever — here at RAB is our annual Prospect Watch. We pick a prospect and track his progress throughout the season in the sidebar. Simple, right? Also kinda silly, but hey, people seem to like it, so it continues. Think […] The post Poll: The 2017 RAB Prospect Watch appeared first o […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Brian Cashman and the 2017 trade deadline [2017 Season Preview] March 29, 2017
    Welcome to another contract year for Brian Cashman. Don’t worry: Cashman has enough job security that he isn’t about to trade the farm for some short-sighted fix that harms the Yankees’ future. He’s acquitted himself quite well over the last two decades and it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the job right now. It […] The post Brian Cashman and the 2017 trad […]
    Steven Tydings

Blog Stats

  • 62,328 hits

%d bloggers like this: