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Stats on Adam Kennedy

February 5, 2010

The thud you heard was not more snow falling on Nats Park, but something far more ominous – the Nats signed Adam Kennedy.  In the grand tradition of Washington sports teams, the Nats signed an aging veteran with hopes that the fountain of youth is flowing down the Anacostia.  Tell me if you’ve seen this movie – Wizards/Michael Jordan, Redskins/The 2000’s starring Danny and Vinnie, Nats/Pudge Rodriguez, the list goes on and on…

To try to get a handle on the damage, I went to fangraphs and looked at the Ultimate Zone Rating averaged over 150 games (UZR/150).   Adam Kennedy’s 2009 UZR/150 at 2nd base was -14.8. Compare that to Orlando Hudson’s UZR/150 of -3.70. For those keeping score at home, Ronnie Belliard’s UZR/150 was -15.30, Alberto Gonzales -17.30.  I don’t know if the Nats are solidifying the middle of the infield, but they are definitely solidifying themselves in the bottom 1/3 of payroll (and with it, the standings).

In order to try to find the silver lining in this cloud, I looked at the data using the Baseball Think Factory‘s Offense Plus Defense (OPD) data.  OPD concept is fairly simple – it basically breaks a players contribution value down into the offensive and defensive components.

The offensive component is computed by taking eXtrapolated Runs (XR), adjusting it for park and out variances (+), and adding/subtracting points for a player’s offensive ability vs others at his position (AA).  On the offensive side, things aren’t so bad.  Kennedy had a XR+AA value of 7.8 last year, compared to Hudson’s 10.0.  Belliard was 1.7, Alberto Gonzales was -8.8.

The Defensive Runs Saved component is comparably bad to the UZR/150.  Controlling for games played at 2nd base, Kennedy was -5.57, Hudson 6.78, Belliard -0.27, and Gonzales was -9.86.

To get the overall OPD, you simply add the defensive component (DRS) to the offensive component (XR+AA).  The table below summarizes these values.  I also added several well known MLB 2nd basemen for comparison purposes.


Those are the numbers.  Happy shoveling.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Todd Boss permalink
    February 5, 2010 10:44 PM

    You shouldn’t fixate on his 2009 UZR so much. His 2008 UZR/150 (when he wasn’t shuttled back and forth from 2nd to 3rd by the A’s like a step child) was 21.8. His career UZR/150 at 2nd is 8.2.

  2. February 7, 2010 9:50 AM

    I agree that Kennedy’s 2009 UZR was way out of his career range. That’s why I looked at OPD, looking for better news. I really want this to work out. I love going to Nats games, but I am tired of bringing non-baseball friends to games and being embarrassed by the team’s performance. At least Kennedy will be a solid presence in the locker room.

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