Last season, Mr. March was Sean Rodriguez as he set club Spring Training records in batting average, hits, and runs while homering six times. This season, Mr. March is most definitely Robinson Chirinos as Chirinos continues to impress fans with his hitting ability and Chirinos put fans in a full fervor with his walk-off shot against the Red Sox yesterday in Port Charlotte.
For most of the spring, fans have already been trying to push Kelly Shoppach aside for the newest flavor of the month as Shoppach works as hard to shed his bum rap from last season as he did to shed some extra weight during the off-season. All of the sudden, it is Shoppach who owns the label of the most hated player on the Rays roster as fans turn their attention from B.J. Upton over to the man many remember for his ALDS struggles. Yes, Collette did pen a piece the other day looking into a trade of Shoppach, but it was not to simply ship him out of town but to rather find something beneficial for both the Rays and the Astros.
What if the Rays did trade Shoppach, or keep him on the team and add Chirinos to the 25 man roster when the club breaks camp in less than three weeks? How well could Chirinos hit at the major league level in 2011?
We can collect Robby’s splits from 2005 – 10 using MinorLeagueSplits to get an idea of how he has fared against both lefties and righties throughout his minor league career. Collecting the data gives us something like this (Click to enlarge in new tab):
I really like his walk and strikeout rates over this time, which encompasses good and bad years alike. Against lefties, Chirinos has been a monster of sorts getting on base nearly >42% of the time and flashing an ISO north of .200.
We can take this L/R split data as well as some ML projections to get an idea of what his regressed platoon splits could look like. For this I took the average of his CAIRO and THT Forecasts to come up with a baseline slash of (BA/OBP/SLG/wOBA): .266/.345/.439/.339. Now I think those are a bit optimistic so lets discount them 10% and you get a baseline of .240/.310/.395/.305. In my opinion this over-compensates a bit, so if we view the former projection as a ceiling and the latter as a floor then let’s take the average and get a slash of .253/.328/.417/.322.
Now we can plug these projections into our handy-dandy regression calculator and get something like this:
This gives us an optimistic line (OBP/SLG/wOBA) of:
V. LHP .353/.449/.340 V. RHP .342/.435./.338
A Pessimistic line of:
V. LHP .318/.404/.306 V. RHP .307/.391/304
And an Average line of:
V. LHP .336/.426/.323 V. RHP .325/.413/.321
What I takeaway from this is that he even has value at his floor assuming he can flash an above-average glove. I think the average line is pretty realistic and would allow him to play everyday, but man, if he can get to the ceiling and show even average chops behind the dish, you’re talking about potentially the best catcher in team history (not saying much). Add in that Jaso would be facing the toughest righties and that’s a heck of a platoon that could potentially surpass 4 WAR.
Lastly, you might get a kick out of these two slash lines:
- .261/.349/.472 in 1851 plate appearances
- .260/.350/.422 in 3396 plate appearances
The second line belongs to Robinson Chirinos as it represents his career slash line in the minor leagues; the first line belongs to Kelly Shoppach.