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Community Projection Review: Second Base

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Freddy Sanchez was among a number of players we reviewed who didn't actually wind up with the team. Here's what we predicted. 

Community: .300/.332/.419

ZiPS: .285/.324/.398

Actual (with both Pittsburgh and San Francisco): .293/.326/.416

Bonus: We predicted that Sanchez would have 548 plate appearances, thus failing to trigger his 2010 option. Actually, he had 489.

We were spot on here. A number of people were very close, but it looks like Chad Bahamas, who predicted that Sanchez would hit .290/.330/.415, was the closest. 

Sanchez's numbers were better for the Pirates than they were with the Giants, for whom he posted a .619 OPS. I wasn't a big fan of the Sanchez trade that brought Tim Alderson, but purely based on the results so far, the Bucs look like pretty clear winners in that trade. Sanchez's injury issues have to be a big concern for the team that signs him on the free agent market. You'll recall that in 2008, he had an injury-plagued first half, posting a .556 OPS. In the second half, he was terrific, posting an .862 OPS.

This year, it was the opposite--he had an .834 OPS in the first half, and a .532 OPS in the second. Take the last half of 2008 and the first half of 2009, and you have a pretty good season in there. But if he can't stay healthy, and as he gets older he probably won't, he isn't much of an asset.

Anyway, Delwyn Young took most of the playing time at second after Sanchez left. It was an interesting experiment. Young tried hard and did make strides in the field, although he still wasn't close to being an average glove at second--he posted a -13.6 UZR/150 there. On top of that, his hitting collapsed completely down the stretch.

Young is a useful player, but he's probably more of a Rob Mackowiak-like super-sub than a regular player. The Pirates are considering moving Andy LaRoche to second at some point in time; while there's precedent for good defensive third basemen moving to second (or back to second) without much of a problem (Akinori Iwamura comes to mind, and so does Sanchez himself), it remains to be seen how well LaRoche can handle the position. Then there's also the issue of who will play third if that happens, since Pedro Alvarez will probably start the year in the minors and Neil Walker hasn't exactly locked down a big league job. I wouldn't be surprised if Young won the second base job out of Spring Training, but I would be surprised if he were still there at the end of the next season.