Saturday, March 29, 2008

DeJesus vs. Gathright

So what about the possibility of Joey Gathright becoming the everyday centerfielder for the Royals? Is he a better fit than David DeJesus? As I looked at their numbers, I compared them to other AL centerfielders from 2007 rather than to all AL outfielders for obvious reasons. Nobody expects centerfielders to produce the power numbers at the plate that corner outfielders do. And because the Royals would hit either man lead-off.

Gathright had 228 at bats last season. If he won the starting job in centerfield, he'd be much closer to 600 (DeJesus had 605 last season), so keep that in mind as you look at the numbers with me.


  2007 OBP 2007 AL Rank/CF Comments
DeJesus .351 T-7th Ichiro led all AL centerfielders with a .396 OBP. DeJesus was tied for 7th with Johnny Damon. And he finished ahead of Torii Hunter, Coco Crisp, Melky Cabrera, Gary Matthews Jr., Corey Patterson, and Vernon Wells.
Gathright .371 Didn't qualify Assuming that he could have kept up the pace he was on (which is a stretch since his OBP last season was much higher than it has ever been before), he would have ranked fourth in the AL among CF just below Nick Swisher (.381) and just above Kenny Lofton (.367).


  2007 BB 2007 AL Rank/CF Comments
DeJesus 64 5th He led the team in walks last season. And he finished behind only Grady Sizemore, Nick Swisher, Johnny Damon, and B.J. Upton in the AL among centerfielders. He's also drawn 9 walks this spring in just 17 games.
Gathright 20 Didn't qualify If you project his BB total over a full season (600 ABs), he would have had 52 walks last season. This spring he has drawn 4 walks in 24 games.


  2007 Runs 2007 AL Rank/CF Comments
DeJesus 101 4th He led the team in runs last season and he finished just 10 runs behind Ichiro. He scored more runs than Torii Hunter, Johnny Damon, and Kenny Lofton. And he has scored 14 runs this spring, which places him in a tie for second on the team.
Gathright 28 Didn't qualify If you project his run total over a full season (600 ABs), he would have scored 73 runs last season. He leads the team in runs scored this spring with 18.


  2007 SB 2007 AL Rank/CF Comments
DeJesus 10 T-12th His 10 SB last season were a career high, so we can't expect him much more from him.
Gathright 9 Didn't qualify If you project his SB total over a full season (600 ABs), he would have stolen 23 bases last season. With that said, he's stolen 12 bases this spring in just 24 games, and if he won the starting job, he would undoubtedly have a career year swiping bags.

So, what does all this mean?

They both get on base a lot--DeJesus has the edge in career OBP; DeJesus is probably going to walk more often; they both appear to be on similar paths regarding runs scored; and Gathright would steal far more bases than DeJesus.

But what about base running ability, defense, and intangibles such as attitude and hustle?

Some of these things are measurable, some aren't. Certainly Gathright is faster out in centerfield, but they both have similar arms (slightly below average in my opinion) and they both always seem to make the plays that ought to be made. They are even similar in age (DeJesus is a year and a half older).

As similar as they appear to be, I don't think you can discount the fact that DeJesus is going to hit more home runs and drive in more runs that Gathright would--neither stat is vital for a lead-off man, obviously, but those numbers are in DeJesus' favor.

In my opinion, David DeJesus is more valuable to the Royals than most people give him credit for. He's never going to be an All-Star, but he does a lot of things well. He gets on base, he scores runs, and he plays a decent centerfield.

Gathright is certainly a flashier player than DeJesus, but I'm not convinced that he would be produce better numbers or be a better fit for the Royals as the every day centerfielder.

What are your thoughts?


RickMcKc said...

I read on the Star tonight that one scout from another team was wondering why, on a team that finished in last place, a player with Gathright's speed has trouble finding at bats. I wonder the same thing, too. Someone (maybe you?) has written about sliding DeJesus to left, Teahan to first and Gathright to center and making Gload the fourth outfielder/1B. I would like to see that happen.

That said, I'm more excited about the Royals this season than I have been in a very long time.

Lee Warren said...

The short answer is that David DeJesus is probably a slightly better player than Gathright.

I did put forth a defense that looks different than what we will see on Opening Day, and it would include Teahen back at third, Gordon at first, Butler as the primary DH, and either Gload or Gathright could move to the outfield. This would put all of these players at their best positions. Just a thought.

Clicky Web Analytics