Wednesday, November 30, 2016

All or nothing, and it's nothing

Chris Carter -- not to be mistaken for the retired football player; this guy knows how to spell Chris -- hit 41 home runs for Milwaukee this year. This tied for the National League lead in home runs, which is generally considered something worth having on the roster.

The Brewers cut him loose Tuesday. Non-tendered him. Go play for somebody else, fella. They signed Eric Thames, who washed out of American ball three years ago and has been starring in the Korean league, to fill the roster spot.

Carter is pretty much the epitome of the all-or-nothing hitter. He struck out 206 times in 2016; nobody in the NL whiffed more often. And 206 isn't even his career high; he piled up 212 K's in 2013, when he was with Houston. His 2016 batting average was .222, which is (a) low and (b) higher than his career batting average, .218.

And on top of that, he's not a particularly adept defensive player either.

Add it all up, and you have a player that both Houston last year and now Milwaukee find eminently replaceable. (Houston non-tendered him last winter.)

WAR, or at least the Baseball Reference version, agrees; last year Carter scored at -0.1, this year at 0.9. Milwaukee invested 644 plate appearances in him and got little return, even with the 41 long balls.

Letting a 41-homer guy walk is something that probably wouldn't have happened even 10 years ago, Teams would have perceived value in that many homers, even with all the outs that accompanied them. But in the age of analytics, the counting stats -- the narrative stats, as I described them recently -- matter less than they once did.


  1. Wonder how soon Ruesse and his ilk will rant about the "stupidity" of spurning the "value" of all of those dingers. . . .

  2. P.S. I too know how to spell the name "Chris".