Friday, October 28, 2005

2005 Player Retrospective: David DeJesus

Throughout the long, cold winter I'll be posting the occasional 2005 player retrospective to keep myself connected to the Royals and their players. Let me know if there is anything missing from these retrospectives that you'd like to see, and of course I always love to read your comments and opinions.

Let's start with...

David DeJesus

Key Statistics

Batting Line: .289/.359/.445

Overall Offensive Production
VORP: 31.5 (4th in AL among CFs)
EqA: .289 (3rd in AL among CFs)

Fielding Skill
Fielding Runs Above Average, 2005: 1
Errors: 4

SB: 8 for 19 (42%)

Games Missed: 40


Batting: DeJesus had a fine second season at the plate, improving steadily over his 2004 performance and avoiding the sophomore slump. His equivalent average improved from a pedestrian .253 in 2004 to a robust .289 in 2005, which was behind only Johnny Damon and Grady Sizemore in the American League. DeJesus on-base rate was practically unchanged from 2004: .360 in 2004, .359 in 2005, but I wouldn't consider that a disappointment in his second season. That proves to me that the man can still hold his own against major league pitching even though "the book" is out on him. DeJesus primary improvement was in terms of his power, though he is hardly a power threat: 15 home runs at his physical peak is probably his upper limit. As long as DeJesus maintains his patient, studious approach at the plate, eventually achieves close to parity with his walks and strikeouts and bangs out 40 doubles every year in spacious Kauffman Stadium, he'll set the table just fine as either a #1 or #2 spot player.

Fielding: Most every team believes their center fielder is spectacular and among the league's best. I don't think DeJesus is a great fielder, but merely adequate. According to BP's fielding runs metrics, DeJesus was about an average center fielder this year, scoring 1 fielding run above average (FRAA). There are certainly better defensive center fielders in this game, but DeJesus is one of the better defensive center fielders who can also hit: Grady Sizemore and Johnny Damon, the two CFs who bested DeJesus offensively this past season, were a -8 and -6 FRAA respectively. As long as DeJesus isn't giving teams too many extra outs with his fielding, I'll be satisfied since I'm pretty sure he's going to hit well. Some have suggested moving DeJesus to left field to make room for a speedy, base-stealing minded gnat in CF, but that seems unwarranted to me and is effectively irrelevant since the Royals have no such players in the system right now.

Baserunning: Buddy Bell's arrival in Kansas City mercifully marked the end of David's attempted stolen base days. Despite having good speed playing the outfield and on the basepaths, he's just not a good basestealer. Its a bit odd to have a fairly speedy centerfielder/leadoff hitter who can't steal bases worth a lick, which I'm sure explains Tony Pena's cognitive dissonance on the matter. I don't have a very good feel for DeJesus baserunning skills besides stolen bases; my impression is that he has at least adequate basepath smarts, but I'm happy to be corrected if someone else has a different take.

Durability: DeJesus missed 40 games this season, most of which were caused by the spectacular diving catch he made against the Yankees in August. Despite the nature in which DeJesus was injured and missed most of his games, points must be deduced for missing nearly 25% of the season due to injury. Durability was a question that dogged DeJesus throughout his minor league career, and while I'm certainly willing to dismiss this incident as a freak injury on a hustle play, we're going to have to keep our eye on his future propensity for injury.

Outlook: David DeJesus is the Royals' best overall player right now (that includes you, Mike Sweeney), contributing with a strong offensive game and at least an adequate glove. He has all the makings of a Johnny Damon-like center fielder with solid on-base skills, a good glove and throwing arm, but without the ability to steal bases at a rate that is worthwhile. Missing 40 games hurts a team like the Royals, though, and I'll continue to have minor concerns about DeJesus' durability until I see him play a 150 game season.

He'll be a fixture in the Royals lineup for at least the next 4 years, and he strikes me as the kind of players will have to serious consider signing to a longer-term contract once he hits arbitration to buy out at least 1 if not 2 of his free agency years (when he'll be 30 and 31). After that, he's free to go to another team who will gladly overpay for declining value as he hits the wrong side of 30.


At 4:12 PM, Blogger bfos said...

As much as I'd like to turn the other way when thinking about his injury this year, the one thing we have to keep in mind, is that, while he might not be so fragile to pull something rounding the bases, guys that make hussle plays get hussle injuries.

I'm sure there will be more similar injuries in DeJesus's future.....but I'm not complaining about a guy that plays that hard.

I still have a hard time putting him above Sweeney when rating the Royals players. The way Sweeney can change a game in any at-bat is something that can't be undervalued. Especially, on a team with practically no other *impact* bats.



At 5:09 PM, Anonymous FuriousB said...

Last year DeJesus was the only position player I looked forward to seeing when I went to the ballpark.

At 5:13 PM, Blogger royalsbeliever said...

He's definetly one of the few guys on the club that you can know what to expect with.

At 5:14 PM, Blogger royalsbeliever said...

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