Todd Greene, Hitting Machine?

The Giants signed Todd Greene to a minor league contract after the 'Dres signed Piazza and Greene asked them to release him from his minor league deal with them. The Giants website touted Greene's HR hitting of the past few years, citing a homer every 17 AB. This would suggest to fans that he is a great power hitting catcher.

Whoa there Nelly! What they forgot to mention is that for the past few years, Greene's home team have had home parks which are so skewed that fantasy baseball advisors had to have a separate category for when teams are playing there: he had two seasons with Texas, then two with D'Rockies. So the better indicator of his HR hitting prowess is not his overall numbers but his numbers on the road.

From ESPN's 3-year data, here is his splits:

Home - .285/.319/.519/.838 with 13 HR in 260 AB or 20 AB per HR
Away - .226/.256/.414/.670 with 14 HR in 266 AB or 19 AB per HR

Wow, so his power does seem legit, he hit for the same power on the road as he did in his homer-homes!

So I wondered how that differs from his career. From Yahoo's career data, here is his splits:

Home - .246/.287/.456/.743 with 35 HR in 678 AB or 19 AB per HR
Away - .250/.274/.436/.710 with 34 HR in 736 AB or 22 AB per HR

Because he has played with so many teams, his home numbers are blended, so it is not a surprise that the numbers end up pretty close to each other. As his body matured (i.e. as he started packing on the weight that most mid to late 30-year-olds do), his power has picked up, though it appears his hitting has gotten worse, when comparing the Away figures. But the HR power is definitely legit, both recent and over his career.

Matheny hit .242/.295/.406/.701 overall in 2005 with 13 HR in 443 AB or 34 AB/HR. Here are his splits:

Home - .254/.293/.446/.739 with 8 HR in 213 AB or 27 AB/HR
Away - .230/.296/.370/.666 with 5 HR in 230 AB or 46 AB/HR

So Greene appears to be an upgrade in terms of HR power, but walks much less, so his OPS appears to be in the same ballpark as Matheny, when comparing Away figures. Based on the valuation of OBP being around 1.8 times the value of SLG, Matheny is the more valuable run producer, overall. In addition, Matheny would appear to have an advantage with his much better home stats, but Greene has hit well in limited action in AT&T/SBC/PBP (someone suggested calling it "The Bell" and it has a nice ring to it, so I might start using that):

SBC Park - .333/.375/.733/1.108 with 2 HR in 15 AB in 5 games there during his career.

I would have preferred to have picked up a lefty hitting catcher, especially since Greene will get a $700K contract if he makes the major league roster, if I had my druthers (Fick got $850K). It looks like Greene's main value is his ability to hit the homer off the bench plus play C to give Matheny a rest; don't know how good his defense is. Matheny clearly tired out by season's end, in particular the last two months, so he could help there:

OPS by month: .765 (April); .727; .760; .733; .699; .560 (Sept)

That could be because by then Yorvit was traded and Haad was the backup and Alou rode the horse to exhaustion:

Games played/AB by month: 19/69 (April); 22/70; 21/64; 21/77; 24/78; 26/84

As we can see, his games played and AB went up a lot in the last 2-3 months. Hopefully Greene will be able to take up that slack. Greene has been good for 100-200 AB per year, 35-60 games per year, so that should help Matheny out, including the times he gets PHed for by another batter on the bench, whether Bonds, Alou, Finley, or Sweeney, among the main choices.

Side Notes

The D-gers signed Takashi Saito, a 35-year-old reliever, from Japan's Central League. I wonder if this means that it was Sheriff Ned who engineered the trade to bring Shinjo to the Giants. I still like Shinjo, I can still remember that throw he made, barehanded, from CF after the RF flubbed it, it is the Willie Mays World Series throw for this recent generation of Giants fans.

He was just totally misused and abused by Dusty Baker: he should not have been leading off and neither should he have been batting 8th. He was a decent 6/7 hitter, which was the way he was used in Japan and how he viewed himself and how his stats looked like, even 5th would have been better than 1st or 8th. Throughout his brief MLB career, he hit very decently in the 5/6/7 spot, but just horrible anywhere else in the lineup that he got a lot of ABs in. He hit .277/.322/.423/.745 with 36 AB/HR. That is not bad given his superlative defense in CF and compared to what we got from Grissom, who costed us probably about twice what we could have signed Shinjo to (he got a $1M from the Mets after leaving us): .281/.316/.441/.756 with 29 AB/HR.

With that extra money, we could have done a number of things: up the contract offer to Maddux; not have to sign Tucker early to avoid paying a bonus to 1st round draft pick; signed a better relief/starting pitcher during the offseason so that we didn't need to trade prospects away to get Wayne Franklin et al; kept Tim Worrell instead of letting him go, which probably would have allowed us to keep Jerome Williams instead of trading him away to get relief help; lots of stuff...

Follow-up on Venezuelan Connection: I realized that my 2005 Media Guide would have been helpful as well. Didn't miss any other prospects from there, but missed some major leaguers, Yorvit Torrealba also came from there, and, of course Edgardo Alfonzo is from there as well.

Interesting thing was that I found out that there is also a number of Canadians, eh!, in the farm system. Most Giants fans know about Chris Begg, who was on the Canadian Olympic team, but there were a few other players who were born in Canada that I found in that book (not sure if all still on team for 2006): Aaron Hornostaj, Ryan McGovern, Brooks McNiven, Brent Swanson.


Blogger Teh Neifi Chicken said...

Yeah, I talked a lot about Greene as well.

As his HR's show, it's not the elevation of Coors helping Greene as his power is great.

I think it's one or two things:

1) The elevation of COL taking neutralizing the curve for pitchers. He could be very susceptible to the curve. Despite being a lefty masher, you know the splits, he is a career 0 for 9 vs Barry Zito. Although only 1 K in those 9.

In that same equation, he is 3 for 12 with a .588 OPS against Shawn Estes who is also a lefty.

2) Coors field is spacious, it could help him add a few hits to his avg (as it does many) and make a few singles into doubles for the slow man.

Fri Feb 10, 03:58:00 PM PST  

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