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Aubrey Huff at second base: too weird, or not weird enough?

On Saturday, with the Giants out of position players, Aubrey Huff played second base for the first time in his career. It was an unexpected defensive alignment, but it was probably the Giants' best option. Or was it? Sure it was. OR WAS IT? Let's review. 

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March 15, 2012 11:56 am

Overthinking It: Free the Bench Bats!

2

Ben Lindbergh

Several overqualified players might be riding the pine while a pricier, less productive veteran hogs their position on Opening Day, but they deserve to be starting.

Every year, major-league teams spend millions on evaluating and acquiring players from outside their organizations, whether they’re amateurs eligible for the draft, professionals in another system, or foreign or domestic free agents available to the highest bidder. Sometimes, though, a potential source of improvement is already in house and in uniform, overlooked in favor of a more experienced or higher-paid player who’s no longer the best man for the job.

Sixteen years ago, Brian Giles was one such player. Giles was blocked by Albert Belle and Manny Ramirez at the outfield corners in Cleveland, but at designated hitter, only an aging Eddie Murray barred his way. The 40-year-old future Hall of Famer had been productive a season before, but by ’96 he was a year away from retirement and had little left. Giles was ready to replace him. At age 25, he was beyond the age at which most promising players get a long major-league look, but he had only a September cup of coffee to show for his two successful seasons in Triple-A.

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March 13, 2012 3:00 am

Preseason Value Picks: First, Third, and DH for 3/13/12

11

Michael Street

In Michael’s column this week, he looks at San Francisco’s first base battle, as well as how injuries are affecting the values of Ike Davis and Justin Morneau.

Two of the main considerations for real-world and fantasy baseball managers during Spring Training are injuries (which I looked at last week) and playing time. This week, I’ll look at a little of both at first base, starting with the Giants’ positional battle and moving onto the futures of two players with mysterious—or at least difficult-to-detect—ailments.

Aubrey Huff | 1B | San Francisco Giants
Mixed: $-4 | NL-only: $9 | PECOTA 1B Rank: 21 | 1B ADP: 26


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February 21, 2012 3:00 am

Western Front: Runs? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Runs!

5

Geoff Young

Given their overturned offense, will the 2012 Giants be able to improve their won-loss record from 2011?

Not long ago, while discussing the anemic offense of last year's Mariners, we noted that 10 MLB teams scored fewer than four runs per game in 2011. Only two of those teams finished with a winning record. The San Francisco Giants represented the most extreme case; they won 86 games despite having the National League's worst offense.

That got me to thinking: How often has the team with the NL's worst offense finished with a winning record? The answer may come as a surprise.

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The tater trots for June 2: Aubrey Huff wishes Sabean would bring the spotlight to him.

The news Thursday wasn't exactly dominated by the play on the field, but that doesn't mean nothing happened. Fans in St. Louis and Seattle, especially, were treated to quite the show (Mets fans too, but not through home runs).

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January 8, 2010 12:11 pm

Baseball Therapy: Free-agency Personals

23

Russell A. Carleton

What if Aubrey Huff could just give you the short sales pitch about his best qualities?

33 y/o four-corner player with proven track record of power hitting seeks team in need of proven veteran left-handed hitter. I enjoy hitting ground balls and the occasional walk, whether by the beach or not. I used to be a swinger in my early days, but I've since changed my ways. Wanna have some fun this summer? Call my agent.

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August 18, 2009 5:59 pm

Transaction Action: Texas Two-Steps and Leaving in a Huff

9

Christina Kahrl

The Huff and Pudge trades have widely divergent yields for the four clubs involved.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Team Audit | DT Cards | PECOTA Cards | Depth Chart

Traded 4C-L Aubrey Huff to the Tigers for RHP Brett Jacobson. [8/17]
Optioned RHP Matt Albers to Norfolk (Triple-A); recalled RHP Kam Mickolio from Norfolk; purchased the contract of 1B-L Michael Aubrey from Norfolk. [8/18]

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November 21, 2008 12:48 pm

Player Profile: Aubrey Huff

8

Marc Normandin and Eric Seidman

The former Devil Ray slugger returned to relevance with a bounceback campaign that deserved a lot more attention.

Saying that Aubrey Huff's performance this season was surprising is a significant understatement; he outperformed all of his recent campaigns by a country mile, and wound up looking like the Huff who was once considered to be the greatest Devil Ray ever in their (short) history. Since he has performed at this level in the past, the question we will look at today is whether or not he will be able to replicate this production in the future.

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February 15, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: The Dawn of the Rays

0

Jim Baker

Tampa Bay's huge collection of impact talent, in both the minors and the majors, will soon lead to the razing of the club's individual VORP records at each position.

The Atlanta Braves in 1990the Kansas City A's in 1967the New York Mets in 1968these were all teams on the verge of breaking out. Was it known at the time? Were people cognizant that these teams were about to put aside their former losing ways and ascend to a new level? To some extent, yes, it was apparent that pieces were falling into place before the great leap forward came.

<> Can we now, on the brink of this new season, put the 2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays on that list? Was 2007 the last bit of calm before the Rays storm that is bound to come, or will it be 2008?

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July 13, 2006 12:00 am

Transaction Analysis: July 10-13

0

Christina Kahrl

Houston and Tampa Bay make a deal, Minnesota discards another winter mistake, and the Royals get a player back for a pre-deadline audition.

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In an article that appeared last week on ESPN.com, Peter Gammons provided a list of 20 players whom respondants to an informal straw poll described as candidates for a breakout season. The list, derived from a survey of major league executives, included a mix of pitchers and hitters, five-tool talents and makeup guys, united only in their ability to tease hibernating fantasy leaguers into dreams of greener days ahead. If one needs any reminder that lists like these are little more than a grownup's version of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, it's worth reviewing a similar list that Gammons produced last year.

In an article that appeared last week on ESPN.com, Peter Gammons provided a list of 20 players whom respondants to an informal straw poll described as candidates for a breakout season. The list, derived from a survey of major league executives, included a mix of pitchers and hitters, five-tool talents and makeup guys, united only in their ability to tease hibernating fantasy leaguers into dreams of greener days ahead.

If one needs any reminder that lists like these are little more than a grownup's version of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, it's worth reviewing a similar list that Gammons produced last year. That list includes roughly equal representation of the good (Alfonso Soriano and Derek Lowe), the bad (J.D. Drew), and the ugly (Juan Uribe), as well as four players whose performances were so impressive that they made repeat appearances on this year's list.

Now, none of this is meant to be a knock on Gammons, or the lists he has compiled. Everybody likes to talk about breakout candidates this time of year, ourselves included (Eddie Yarnall, anyone?). Having formerly moonlighted as a daily team correspondent for another baseball website, I can attest to the fact that virtually every player provides at least some excuse each winter for gushing commentary, delusions of grandeur, or other forms of irrational exuberance.

As it happens, however, we're unrolling a new forecasting system at BP this year--one that is also preoccupied with the question of breakout candidates. The PECOTA system--short for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm--seeks to identify potential breakouts by comparing a player against a database of his historical peers. In so doing, it comes up with an objective estimate of the probability that a player will display marked improvement in the upcoming season (defined as an increase of at least 20% in his Equivalent Runs per plate appearance, or a decrease of at least 20% in his PERA, relative to a weighted average of his previous three years of performance). We refer to this estimate as a player's Breakout score. Readers interested in a more extensive treatment of the PECOTA system will find it in this year's book, and in the PECOTA glossary provided here.

One brief caveat: the PECOTA system is new technology. That doesn't mean that we stole it from the Raelians, or that we haven’t tested it thoroughly. But sometimes PECOTA provides us with definitive and unexpected answers, and we need to work backwards to try and explain why they came about. That's a bastardization of the scientific method, and I'll ask that you'll excuse me as I run through the hitters on Gammons' list.

Rank on Gammons List, Player, PECOTA Breakout Score

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