By Jason Wojciechowski on August 13, 2012 at 8:15 PM
First, a transaction: Brandon Inge had to hit the disabled list because of lingering problems with the shoulder he dislocated on Saturday. Which shoulder is it? The right shoulder, the one he throws with. Not that it matters, probably. If his left shoulder were all jacked up, he probably couldn't hit. Instead, he can't hit and he can't throw. Which, then again, that's only one more skill he doesn't have injured than he doesn't have healthy. Follow?
Josh Donaldson is here. That was the obvious move, given that Eric Sogard is already hurt and Adam Rosales is already in Oakland and Grant Green isn't on the 40-man roster. I guess Brandon Hicks was theoretically possible, but it's probably a toss-up which of the two is the better overall player at third. Neither hit in Oakland, but both are probably better than they showed.
The interesting question is what happens at third. Does Donaldson come up to play, with Rosales the utility-man on the bench? Or is Rosales the simultaneous third baseman and utility-man, a starter who will slide to short or second or even first as the need arises, with Donaldson coming in to play third in that situation?
Note how stupid this all is: the A's still have a three-man bench. What purpose does Evan Scribner serve? Couldn't Bob Melvin get more mileage out of Collin Cowgill as a pinch-runner for Derek Norris or Chris Carter or Brandon Moss than he can from Scribner's zero-leverage innings? What's the harm of passing those innings to Travis Blackley or Jordan Norberto?
But there I go again, quibbling over the 25th spot on the roster. It doesn't matter, Jason. It just doesn't matter. Shhhhh. There there.
I comfort myself knowing that Nico doesn't know what to make of Donaldson either.
I saw the phrase "clutch hitting" in the comments over there, though, so I got right the frak out and looked at his PITCHf/x hitter profile on Baseball Prospectus instead. Here's my favorite one:
What you're seeing is, from the catcher's view, where Josh Donaldson swings relative to other right-handed hitters. The summary is: good god man stop swinging so much. We could probably break this down and do video-scouting and all sorts of other stuff, but would all that work result in any insight besides "he swings a lot more than the league at the pitches on the outer third, high out of the zone, and low out of the zone"? I doubt it.
So yeah: Josh Donaldson, if you want to have success in this trip to the big leagues, even if it's just two weeks while Inge heals up, don't swing so much. Just breathe, brother, breathe.
Finally, here's Lyle Spencer extolling the virtues of Josh Reddick by quoting Baseball-Reference's flavor of WAR. On MLB.com, no less. That's pretty neat.
Saying Reddick is fourth in the AL in WAR includes DRS for his defensive value, though, and you know how I feel about that. How does he rank by VORP, a measure that includes everything WARP (Baseball Prospectus's flavor of WAR) does (i.e. hitting, running, positional adjustment, park, league, playing time) except for a defensive rating?
There are some bad defenders ahead of Reddick on the list, including Mark Trumbo and Josh Willingham, but are there enough of them to push him into the top-ten, or the top-N for whatever N would be necessary to keep him in the top-ten when the best pitchers are included? I'm not sure.
This isn't to take away from the season that Reddick has had, which has not only been very good (18th in VORP in the AL is nothing to sneeze at) but has been exciting as well. With Seth Smith, Yoenis Cespedes, and Coco Crisp all spending time on the disabled list, it's helpful to the training staff and probably to Bob Melvin's psyche to have someone he can ink into right field every night, someone he can bat third and forget about. I just think it's helpful to provide some other ways of looking at the season, especially given the state of defensive metrics — you're either dealing with dubious data and black boxes or you're dealing with huge margins of error or both.