In my continuing campaign against Daniel Nava, I took my Normalizing formulae and tried to evaluate his actual performance against RHP. I do not have any sort of vendetta against Nava, and am happy for him that the was able to prove so many people wrong. But it is time to move on. Nava does have a solid looking career vs. RHP with .269 / .383 / .414 splits across the board, and it certainly looks respectable at first glance. After all, who would not want a player with a .383OBP in the lineup?
However, I went beyond the numbers with Nava and isolated his performance vs. RHP. First of all, his BABIP against RHP is .332, which is not absurd in some cases. It is with Nava, however. If you normalize his LD/GB/FB splits, his calculated BABIP should really be closer to .292, some 40 points lower. Couple this with his subpar power output, and you are very likely not looking at a productive strong side to the LF platoon.
Over 450 plate appearances, Nava is likely to hit .245 with a .324 OBP and 5 HRs. While Nava is certainly an adept line drive hitter against RHP, he simply strikes out too much (22.8%) and hits too many fly balls for a hitter with very little power.
The summary (BA / OBP, HRs in 450 PA)
Daniel Nava. .245 / .323 5HR
Seth Smith. .264 / .344 15HR
David Murphy .281 / .351 15HR
David Dejesus .265 / .340 12HR
Mike Carp .260 / .332 20HR
Brandon Moss .257 / .322 34HR (264PA)
Will Venable - .235 / .313 12HRs
I have long advocated for Seth Smith as the LHH in the LF platoon. Using the same BABIP breakdown, Smith would be the equivalent of a .264 / .344 hitter in LF with 15HRs, again in 450 plate appearances. David DeJesus is another I like in these situations, and he projects as a .265 / .340 hitter with 12HRs over 450 PA. Both figure to be steps up, but the cost is a little unknown. Undoutedly, Epstein / Hoyer signed DeJesus with the intention of flipping him for players to rebuild the farm, so he is unlikely to simply hand him over. The Sox might be at a slight advantage in dealing for DeJesus, as the Epstein / Hoyer tandem has their fingerprints all over the Sox farm system, and might be amenable to a prospect they drafted who would appear to not be panning out, assuming they have any residual faith. But I wouldnât count on it.
Beane might be easier to deal with in this case. A while back I proposed a deal of Saltalamacchia for Smith, in an exchange two players coming off seasons with similar remaining control, salary and WAR. I would be surprised if Beane were not amenable in his quest to repeat. After all, Smith is slated for DH duty, but the Athletics still have Chris Carter, Brandon Moss, and Daric Barton struggling for 1B/DH at bats, and have to accommodate Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick and Chris Young in the OF. They are still overcrowded at every position even without Smith. And catcher right now is a tossup between Derek Norris, who lost the job briefly last year, and career backup George Kottaras. Also worth pointing, with regards to non-nomralized perforamces, Smith is among the top 25 hitters in MLB for OPS and wOBA against RHP over the past 3 years. He possesses a .228ISO against them, which is in the top ten. If he could maintain his .228 ISO, you have a player with a .806OPS.
Brandon Moss is also a potential fit. I did try running the numbers similarly, but his 266PA sample vs. RHP over the last 3 years is simply too small, and the resulting .257 / .322 BA and OBP are potentially reasonably enough, but the 34HRs in 450 plate appearances is simply not going to happen. This is a skewed small sample, and his 26% HR/FB is actually higher than Giancarlo Stanton over the same stretch. If the Sox would go for an outfielder thy traded away already, David Murphy would be smarter. His projection of .280 / .351 with 15HRs potentially puts him a little ahead of Smith. However, the matchup is not as simple now that the Rangers have signed a catcher. Could something be worked out? I suppose there is potential.
Mike Carp is also very likely to be available soon, and may actually already be depending on the Mariners lineup. Their goal this offseason seemed to have the intention of replacing him offensively, along with a few others. However, he has only 330PA vs. RHP over the past 3 years. His .263 / .332 splits looks realistic, but the 20HRs he projects for is probably carried a little bit too much by a hot streak back in August, 2011. Really, he is very unknown between small samples and injury-plagued seasons. Some Seattle bloggers do seem to think Carp still possesses significant trade value, as they also feel about Smoak. Personally, I think their trade value for either will be heavily dependent on the number of teams interested and nothing else.
Will Venable was another name I liked, although he is fairly entrenched in a platoon. He figured more like the powerful version of Nava, with numbers of .246 / .313 and 12HRs. His power numbers are depressed by Petco, but he does strike out a very high 23% of the time vs. RHP. To be honest, Venable's numbers did disappoint, although it is also safe to estimae half his ABs come in Petco, where his OPS is about .150 lower.
And of course the Sox have Ryan Kalish, but there is certainly not enough data to do anything with him. But really, if Nava struggles, he is the one next in line, not anyone else on this list...