Monday, March 26, 2007

The Saga of Scott Hairston and the Battle for the Bench!

In today's post, we're going to look at the final players vying for a spot on the opening day rostor. The first subject of this lengthy post is DBBP fan favorite Scott Hairston. If you don't know, here's why Scott Hairston deserves to be the starting left fielder.

1. Scott Hairston is out of options, that means, if he doesn't make the team, he must be A) traded, or B) passed through waivers. Unfortunately Hairston is too good to slip through waivers. 2. Eric Byrnes is a slightly above average offensive centerfielder, and an average-below average defensive centerfielder. Last year, he had a career year. In CF, Byrnes holds some value. Once he shifts to left field , he may become one of the leagues better defensive left fielders but he's just not cutting it on offense. For argurment sake, last year, league average for a CF in the NL was 264/.335/.418, for an NL leftfielder it's 277/.359/.478 3) Scott Hairston is cheaper(salary is major league mininum) than Eric Byrnes(4.25 Million), and by most projection systems, he's expected to easily outproduce Byrnes offensively. (.276/.334/.522 with 22hrs for Hairston, .265/.323/.462 with 20 hrs for Byrnes). It's also worth noting that Scott is 4 years younger. Not to mention, Byrnes never hit as well as Hairston in the minors. Scott also has almost no trade value at this point, even though clearly he is a good offensive player, let's take a look at his minor league track record.

Scott Hairston, Age 27. Scott Hairston attended High school in my home town, Tucson, Arizona, at Canyon del Oro High school. He was drafted in the 19th round in 1999 by the White Sox, but did not sign, and enrolled and played at Central Arizona College. In 2001 he was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 3rd round, 98th overall. He was assigned to Missoula in the Pioneer leaugue, where he posted a line of .347/.437/.588, in 74 games, 14 hrs and 34 XBH overall. His k/bb ratio was a respectable 50/38. In 2002 he was assigned to low-A South Bend in the Midwest league, hitting 332/.426/.563 with 16 hrs and 55 XBH overall in 109 games, with a 74/56 k/bb, before earning a promotion to high A. In 18 games in High-A Lancaster he hit 405/.442/.797, adding another 6 HRs ands 27 XBH, and a 6/16 k/bb of . In 2003 he began the year in AA El Paso, posting a line of .276/.345/.469, with 10HRs, and 38 XBH, and a 20/30 k/bb. 2003 appears to be an injury shortened year, as he listed as only playing 88 games, with one at bat in tucson, as a pinch hitter.

2004 is a year Scott Hairston, and many Diamondbacks fans will remember well(and most want to forget, mostly for the franchise record losses). Hairston began the year in Tucson, playing 28 games, in 115 at bats in Tucson he had a batting line of .313/.375/.565, with 5HRs, 16 XBH, and a 21/11 k/bb.. Meanwhile, on the Major League team, everything went to shit, and just about every starter was injured. Hairston got called up, and IMHO, did pretty well, hitting
248/.293/.442, with 13 HRS, 6 3B, and 15 2B. However, his k/bb was a rather poor 88/21. The season ended, and some how, Hairston must have really pissed off someone in the organization. Some say he missed a bunt sign, others say he kicked Joe Garagiola Jr's dog. Or maybe his defense at second base was just atrocious, and he was moved to the outfield, and returned to AAA Tucson. In 58 games, and 209 at bats, Hairston posted a line of 311/.384/.608, another 16 HRs, 3 triples, and 8 doubles and an improved 21/40 k/bb He also spent15 games with Arizona, which i don't recall at all. He got 20 at bats, which consisted of approximately one hit, and 6 strike outs.

So Scott Hairston has an impressive minor league track record, with only two real weaknesses in his game. Well three, if you count his terrible luck. His first weakness is that he has a tendency to strike out a bit too much, and second he's not the best defensive player. At his original position of second base, he's committed 77 errors. He shows poor defensive baseball instincts at times. The Dbacks have converted him to left field, and the games i've seen him in Tucson last year, he looked average, and occasionally pretty good.

So here comes the off season. Eric Byrnes is slated to take over left field for the year. Top prospects Chris Young and Carlos Quentin have wisely been given the starting jobs in Center and Right Field, respectively. If you're a visitor of the DBBP forums, you should be aware of why Scott Hairston should have the job in left field, and why Eric Byrnes should be traded. And with Jeff Davanon and now Carlos Quentin injured, and likely to start the season on the DL. you see why keeping Eric Byrnes is needed. Anyway, Hairston is having a fine spring hitting .391/.462/.804 with 18 hits, six doubles, two triples, and three homeruns in 46 ABS.

So the decision should be easy: Trade Eric Byrnes. However, with out Byrnes, we would be an outfielder short. So with Quentin injured, and Davanon injured, Scott Hairston will start in left field, Chris Young will play center, and Eric Byrnes will play right. So Hairston finally gets a job, and hopefully he keeps it.

Now that we've gone over the Saga of Scott Hairston, we move on to the battle for the bench.

There should be two spots left on roster, and we essentially have three candidates. Johnny Estrada trade throw in, and former first round draft pick disappointment, Dave Krynzel. Then we have fan favorite, super-utility catcher of Randy Johnson's perfect game, Robby Hammock. Finally we have the underdog, overlooked infielder with the alliterative name, Brian Barden. Let's take a look a look at each, their minor league track records, and look at their chances of making the roster.

Dave Krynzel, age 26, drafted 11th overall by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2000 drafted at out of highschool at age 18. He began his minor league career in the pioneer league rookie ball. All though he only played 34 games, he had a strong season batting 359/.442/.489 with 47 hits, 8 doubles, 3 triples, one HR and a k/bb of 23/16 in 131ABS. He also stole 8 bases, and was caught stealing 4 times.
In 2001, Krynzel began the year with MIL A Ball affliate, Beloit, in the Midwest league. He spent 35 games there, getting 141 ABs, hitting 305/.364/.348, this time with 43 hits, 1 double, 1 triple, one home run, and k/bb of 28/9. Weird. He stole 11 bases, and was caught stealing 5 times. Partway through 2001, Krynzel was promoted to High-A High Desert, playing in 89 games, and getting 383 at bats. His batting line at High Desert was 277/.329/.392 with 19 2b, 5 3b, and 5 home runs and he stole 34 bases. However he was caught stealing 17 times, and he had an atrocious 122/27 K/bb ratio. In 2002 Krynzel began the year again in High Desert, playing 97 games. In 365 ABS he batted .268/.391/.460. with 12 2b, 12 3b, 11 HRS, 29 Sb/17CS 100/64 k/bbKrynzel was promoted to AA Huntsville for 31 games, and in 129ABs hit .240/.269/.349, with 2 2b, 3 3b, 2 HRs. 13 SB/5CS, 20/4 k/bb Krynzel spent all of 2003 in AA Huntsville, playing 124 games. In 457 ABs he hit .267/.357/.357, he had 122 hits, 13 2b, 11 3b, and 2HRs, 43 SB/21CS ,119/60 K/bb. In 2004 hew played in the AFL, and in 16 games and 41 ABS hit .500/.600/.688, with 8 hits, 1 2b, 1 3b, two stolen bases, and a 2/3 k/BB.
in 2004 he played 69 games for AAA Indy, and in 257 ABS, hit 276/.332/.416, with 71 hits, 10 2b, 4 3b, 6 HRS, 10 SB, 8 CS a 65/20 K/bbHe was called up to MIL, playing 16 games with the big club, and getting 41 ABS. He hit poorly - .220/.319/.244, 9 hits, 1 2b, 15/3 k/bb - and earned his ticket to nashville in 2005. He played 115 games, getting 450abs, hitting 256/.324/.416 with 115 hits, 25 2b, 7 3b, 11hrs, 24sb/8 cs with a 138/43 k/bb. He was called up for 5 games with MIL, getting 7 at bats. He had no hits, and struck out 3 times. Last year, Krynzel spent the year once again in AAA, not even earning the cup of coffee this time. He played in 116 games, amassing 359 ABs. His average is terrible, but he has made a few strides - .231/314/.359 - 83 hits, 17 2b, 4 3b, 7 HRS. 40Sb/4CS and a 107/42 k/bb. So that's Dave krynzel's minor league record. it is far from impressive, but a few things stand out. He's fast. 197 career stolen bases and 51 career triples. He's got very little power, and he strikes out wayyyy too much. He's slowly made some progress with his plate disciple, whihc is a sign of encouragement.

Under new Arizona hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, it appears Krynzel has had a revival this spring, In 33 at bats, Krynzel is hitting .364/.450/.576. with 2 2b, a 3b, a HR, and 4 SBs. Also worth noting is he has showed some plate discipline, with a BB/K ratio of 6/10. These are some nice stats, but of course, the small sample size warning still applies. Defensively, Krynzel has looked good in the outfield, and most importantly, he can play all three outfield positions. With Jeff Davanon on the DL, Quentin possibly headed to the dl, and Scott Hairston limited to left field, Krynzel's defensive versatility gives him an edge on making the roster as Barden, and hammock can not play CF. One thing worth noting is that there is a small chance Krynzel could pass through waivers, but I'm willing to bet at least one team would be willing to take a flier on him.

Next up let's look at the right handed hitter Brian Barden, 26 years old. Drafted as a third basemen, Barden's minor league career has been pretty mediocre, consedering the hitting enviroments he played, such as Lancaster, El Paso, and Tucson. In his freshmen year in college at Oregon State University he posted an unbelievable line of .370/.433/.597, 67 hits, 13 2b, 2 3b, 8hrs, 1sb/1cs. He posted a .367/.423/.540 line in 2001, and a 349/.398/.539 line in 2002

After he signed with Arizona in 2002,he was assigned to Low A Yakima, playing 4 games, and in 15 at bats hitting 333/.412/.400, with 5 hits, a 2b, and 1/1 K/bb. He was then promoted to Lancaster for 64 games. In 269 at bats he hit.335/.370/.502 with 90 hits, 19 2b, a 3b, 8hrs, 3SB/1CS and 63/16 k/bb. It's worth noting that the california league is a notorious hitter's league, and Lancaster in particular is an extreme hitter's park. Barden spent 2003 at AA El Paso, in the Texas league, another hitter's haven. Barden played in 109 games, and in his 383 at bats he hit .287/.348/.399 with 110 hits, 24 2B, 5 3b, 3 HRs, 10SB/4CS, and a 76/29 k/BB. In 2004, Barden started off the year again in AA El Paso, playing 48 games there. In his 195ABS before being promoted to AAA Tucson, Barden had offensive line of 303/.335/.462 with 59hits, 10 2B, 6 3B, 3 HRs, 1sb/2CS and a 46/10 K/bb.

Barden finished off 2004 playing 89 games with AAA Tucson. In his 332 ABs, he hit 283/.324/.476 with 94 hits, 30 2b, 5 3b, 8 hrs, 14SB/5CS and a 83/17 K/BB. He also started playing second base in addition to 3b at this point for the sidewinders. In 2005 Barden spent the year in Tucson again, playin gin a career high 135 games. In his 518 ABS, he hit 307/.363/.483 with 159 hits, 36 2b, 5 3b, 15hrs, 14sb/5 CS, and a 111/38 k/bb. Career highs for Barden that year in hits, doubles, homers, stolen bases, and slugging percentage in his pro career. In 2006, Barden was once again slated for Tucson, especially after Chad Tracy's monster year for the Dbacks playing third base, his main position. Playing 128 games for the 2006 AAA champion Tucson Sidewinders, Barden followed up his 2005 year with another impressive year. In 494 at bats Barden hit .298/.361/.478 with 147 hits, 35 2b, 3 3b, 16HRs, 1sb/3CS and a 92/44 K/BB. Barden strikes out too much to become a MLB regular, but his defensive versatility and power coming off the bench could allow him to stick with a major league club. So now that I've gone over Barden's MIL track record, how is he doing this spring? In 22ABs, he's hitting .409/435/.636, with 2hrs, and 4 2b. And his bb/k ratio? 2/5.

So who makes the cut for the final spots on the roster? Dave Krynzel and Brian Barden. After reviewing this post, it appears i have forgotten Robby Hammock, The fact ii forgot him should give you a summation of my opinion of him. He's old, so he's 30. He was never that good. He can play lots of positions but none of them well. (how often is a club going to use that emergency 3rd catcher) The last two spots are better used evaluating guys with no options left, like hairston and krynzel. With Alberto Callaspo, Brian Barden, Scott Hairston, Dave Krynzel, and Tony clark, we have the field covered in regards to back ups.



Quintero said...

What happens when Davanon comes back? Use one infielder (callaspo) and have three backup outfielders?

Wesley (aka Zephon) said...

I'd say trade/release krynzel/byrnes/davanon. Krynzel is pretty fringy and he might not be that good in the time he's on the roster. It may be possible to slip him through waivers.

Quintero said... Byrnes >:(