Wednesday, July 13, 2005

PLEASE don't trade for Preston Wilson

Strong rumor on the street has it that within the next day or two, we will be sending J.J. Davis and Zach Day to the Rockies for Preston Wilson. One might ask, well, what is wrong with this? Davis never plays and Day can't hit the broad side of a barnacle with his pitches. The problem isn't what we are trading. The problem is what the trade will mean. Preston Wilson makes over $12 million a year, making him three times richer than our next highest paid player. The Nats won't have to pick up more than 2 or 3 million of that one would think, but still, we are obviously going to be giving up money in this deal, making it harder to make other deals.
MUCH more means that Wilson would go into the starting lineup relegating star-in-the-making rookie Ryan Church to the bench. Now if we then trade Church for something spectacular, what you are about to read may change, but we have to assume for the moment that the plan is simply to "upgrade" Church for Wilson.
Let's get one thing verrrry clear. Preston Wilson is an extraordinarily huge downgrade from Ryan Church.
Ryan Church's OPS? .924
Preston Wilson's OPS? .813
Ryan Church's .924 was compiled with his home park being RFK, one of the most pitcher-friendly parks (if not the most) in all of baseball.
Preston Wilson's .813 was compiled where? Oh, that is right...Coors Field.
A more accurate read of Wilson's stats are probably his road stats where overall the parks will be neutral. His OPS there was a grotesquely low .691 for an outfielder. That means that his road stats will probably stay in that dreadful .691 area, while his home numbers should be even lower, conservatively in the .650 area. YUCK! I'm not saying this will happen exactly, but that is what the numbers say is your most likely scenario.

Oh, and let's dig a bit deeper. How did Wilson get to his .813 OPS? Hitting poorly overall, but at least hitting well in clutch situations? Nope. In fact, his trend is very Cristian Guzman like. Hitting well in the lowest of pressure situations (.925 OPS with none on and 1 or 2 out) to hitting not very well in mid-pressure situations (.835 with none on, none out) to being just awful in high-pressure situations (.632 OPS with runners in scoring position, .535 OPS with runners in scoring position, 2 outs and .536 OPS with bases loaded). This is the guy that Bowden would probably look to bat 5th--talk about an inning killer.

So, please, please Mr. Bowden. Do not make this deal unless something remarkable is up your sleeve--like turning around and trading Wilson to an even bigger sucker. We can't afford to lose Church's bat and glove for this guy.


At 11:46 PM, Blogger Mean Dean said...

You mention there that it's probably not as simple as Wilson replicating his road stats at home for a new team... just wanted to expand on that a bit. Neyer claims that Coors hitters "do not... revert to their road performances." I forget where I saw the exact evidence, but I'm pretty sure I have seen it.

[I guess that Neyer link above circumstantially gives some evidence (off a very small sample) by showing 5 of 10 guys who didn't get worse after leaving Coors; since we know their home stats skyrocketed, if their overall stats stayed consistent, it stands to reason that Coors must have been depressing their road stats. I guess.]

I coulda sworn I saw something more precise, though, that specifically looked at home/road stats for the same guy before, during and after Coors, and showed that players just hit worse on the road when they're Rockies. Maybe adjusting for the differences in the amount the ball breaks is a very difficult thing to do, or something like that.

All that said, even though he's probably better than his road stats, Preston is still not a better player than Church. And he makes a lot of money. So, yeah.

At 12:12 AM, Blogger dexys_midnight said...

Well, more proof that Bowden does not listen to me. I am not going to enjoy :-( watching his signees Guzman, Castilla and Wilson suck up outs for the other team.

At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Will said...

Well, the article on is saying that Church won't lose playing time; Wilson will play center while Wilkerson plays first. Its unclear what will happen when (if?) Johnson ever comes back.

At 8:56 AM, Blogger El Gran Color Naranja said...

If Nick isn't lost for a good deal of time, we got older, more expensive, worse in the field, and worse at bat.

If Nick is lost for a good deal of time...we lost Nick for a good deal of time.

Talk about your no-win situations.

At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Mason said...

This sucks. I agree this helps the team with Johnson out, but when he comes back, Wilson should ride the bench unless he dramatically improves. Sure we didn't give up anything, and I support that, but my bigger worry is that Bowden now thinks "Okay, I solved the big bat problem."

No you didn't! You solved NOTHING.

We need a left infielder that can hit. And another quality starting pitcher. We didn't need an outfielder, and certainly not one that can't even break .700 OPS outside of Coors.

At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Will said...

Hmmm. Preston hits a HR in his first at-bat for the Nationals. Good omen? Woulda been more impressive if it was at RFK.


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