All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Case For Paul Janish

Edgar Renteria seems to think he'll be the Reds' starting shortstop. But the Reds apparently don't see it that way.

Asked if he considered Renteria or Paul Janish the starter, Baker said:

“I don’t know. We don’t have a quarterback controversy at short. Everybody plays on my team. They’re both going to play. Janish is younger. Edgar is more experienced. Janish deserves a chance to be my shortstop.”

...Baker plans to play Renteria at other position as well as shortstop. Renteria played one game at first base in majors, all his other appearances are at shortstop.

Very different from the way Orlando Cabrera was viewed last year. He was the guaranteed starter. Still...I hope Janish has a good spring training.

Fangraphs thinks Janish is probably the better player.

The Reds decided to sign Renteria despite his recent struggles, perhaps believing there’s a chance he will bounce back with a new team. While Renteria’s slash line from 2010 looks acceptable (.276/.332/.374), his peripherals show a player in decline. Renteria made less contact in 2010, leading to a career high strikeout rate. His line drive rate, which has hovered between 21%-24% over his career, plummeted to just 15.7% last season. Even when Renteria made contact last season, he wasn’t able to hit the ball as hard. It must be said, however, that Renteria was injured for a large part of last season and it’s possible some of his decline could be related to injuries.

…Renteria’s signing relegates Paul Janish back into a utility role this season. It’s possible, however, that Janish is the better player. Janish is regarded as an excellent defender, earning praise from the scouts and the advanced metrics. In 2009, Janish posted a 11.0 UZR in only 90 games. If he ever played a full season, he could rate as one of the stronger defensive shortstops in the game.

It’s a bit more difficult to judge Janish as a hitter. In three seasons, Janish has accumulated only 609 plate appearances. Over those three seasons, however, Janish has steadily improved. With each season, Janish has improved his contact rate, walk rate, and overall slash line, while lowering his strikeout rate. It’s a small sample from each season, but it looks like Janish is making improvements as a hitter each year. In 2010, Janish and Renteria actually posted similar offensive seasons in a similar amount of plate appearances.

Good point. Janish is probably better than Renteria right now, and he's on the rise while Renteria is in decline. Janish should be the starter.

The numbers he put up for the Reds last season were perfectly respectable, when taken along with his premium defense in a tough position. I know it's a small sample size, but I think it's legit. It's in line with his minor league numbers.

The other teams in the division don't have anyone better at SS (except maybe the Cubs' Starlin Castro). It's not like Derek Jeters grow on trees.

I don't think the Reds have anyone better than Janish down on the farm, either. At least, no one in the upper levels. The Reds had a glut of talent at shortstop, but none has emerged as a clear shortstop of the future. Zack Cozart had a great year in 2009, which raised a lot of hopes, but he came back down to earth last year, suggesting that maybe 2009 was a fluke. His minor league numbers are very similar to Janish's - almost identical OPS, only with more power but a lower OBP. His defense is good - more speed than Janish, but a weaker arm. First round draft pick Todd Frazier has been moved to left field, and Chris Valaika has been moved to second base. Kris Negron, a recent acquisition from the Red Sox farm system, had a good year last year, but looking over his minor league career, he doesn't seem to be as good as Cozart or Janish on offense or defense.

Cozart is the only one of them I'd consider over Janish. He's got nice pop, but Janish has a much better OBP. If I had to choose, I'd go with OBP.


posted by BubbaFan, 10:53 AM


Well, I hope that Janish and Renteria don't "both get to play" like Janish and Cabrera "both got to play" last year.
commented by Blogger Emily, January 09, 2011 10:07 AM  
Yeah. But last year, they DID promise Cabrera the starting SS job. It's the reason he picked Cincinnati over the other teams. Cabrera was also known as a guy who never missed a game. He's had several seasons where he played in every single game. While Renteria probably can't play every day without risking injury.

Also, last year, Janish didn't hit well in the few weeks' tryout they gave him at the end of the previous season. This year, he has a season of pretty solid hitting behind him.

I really think (hope) that it's different this time.
commented by Blogger BubbaFan, January 09, 2011 4:15 PM  

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