Monday, February 4, 2008

Sexson: Who Will We See in '08?

posted by Dustin

"Well, at least things can't get worse." No phrase has more truth than that right there, especially when talking about Richie Sexson. His 2007 was just terrible; the worst season of his career. There are no analogies to use to emphasize just how bad he was, but you all should know that he was a Mendoza-line player in 2007.

His average was remarkably low: .205
His home runs were down: 21 (13 less than '06 and 18 less than '05)
His RBIs were down: 68 (44 less than '06 and 56 less than '05)
He was rarely on base: 29.5% of the time

Again, "Well, at least things can't get worse." - I'm starting to love that phrase the more I type. So, I'm asking myself, "What 2007 performance by a first baseman can we expect from Sexson in 2008?"

Lofty Expectations:
Carlos Peña (Tampa Bay Rays). In 2007, Carlos put up huge numbers. He hit 46 home runs and drove in 121 runs. His average, however, was out of Sexson's reach, at .282. Speaking of statistics that are out of Sexson's range, Pena drew 103 walks last year as opposed to Sexson's 51. He may have stuck out a little too much, 142 times, but his walks drawn are an impressive stat. I don't believe Sexson can hit that many home runs, hit for that high of average, and walk that much.

Not Probable, but Possible:
Lance Berkman (Houston Astros) went through a slow start in 2007, but bounced back and ended up with a very strong season line. His average is the only thing I believe Sexson cannot touch (.278), but other than that, his line is very realistic for Sexson. He hit 34 bombs and 102 RBIs. He struck out enough, 125 times, and walked quite a bit also, 94 times.

One Realistic Expectation:
Justin Morneau (Minnesota Twins) put up Sexson numbers in 2007. His average, .271, isn't much higher than Sexson's career average of .263. He hit 31 home runs and drove in 111. He was on base 34% of the time, which is Sexson's average over his career as well. Morneau kept his K's under 100 and his walks above 50, which is something I think Sexson won't do, but I guess anything is possible. Who knows? I think his is a more realistic comparison and expectation.

Most Realistic Expectation:
Paul Konerko (Chicago White Sox). Konerko, I believe, has the best 07 line that I believe Sexson will equal in 08. Konerko hit only .259, hit 31 home runs, and drove in only 90 runs. I don't believe that these numbers are too far out for Sexson. Konerko struck out 102 times and, while his walks are higher, they aren't too far out of reach for Sexson (78).

I see Sexson putting up Konerko like numbers. He hit around Sexson's average in home runs, and hit just under 100 guys home. I don't expect for Sexson to post a .275 average, 42+ home runs and drive in more than 120 runs. I think that would be expecting too much. I don't think that the Mariners are going to ask for that much either, especially after his terrible year last year.

I find myself thinking contradictory thoughts, however. I am scared that Sexson will put up huge numbers, since it is his contract year, and then he'll leave only to be successful somewhere else. If he puts up huge numbers, I could handle resigning him. Of course I will be thrilled if he puts up huge numbers though, because I believe that 2008 could/will be a playoff year for the Mariners and Sexson could be the one that propels them to the postseason or prevents them from making it.

My Projections:
Average: .258
Home Runs: 34
RBIs: 101
OBP: .387
Walks Drawn: 75
Ks: 142

Let's gets some feedback now, eh? You guys tell me which comparison will be most accurate, or tell me if you see another projection that is more accurate than mine. I only used 1st basemen. You guys can use anybody you want. Are my projections too lofty or are they just right?

I'm hoping that Sexson bounces back, and I'm sure you all are too.


Jon Shields said...

I think he'll have a pretty good year.

.263, 35+ HR, 110+ RBI, 35 2B, 70 BB -- those seem astronomical compared to last year, but this is more than doable for Richie.

I'm planning on posting about why I'll think he'll bounce back sometime during Spring Training.

Joe SOuthern cali said...

Im definitely hoping sexson bounces back with a big year he could have been the difference last year.
In 08 he'll hit
around .275 45+ Hr, 120 rbi, 35 2b, 80 BB,
(150 k's)- it's cool with me

from what i heard hes been working extra hard all off-season so why not

dick cheney said...

Sadly, Sexson just isn't very good. He has huge holes in his swing and is known as a guy who is only capable of hitting a mistake pitch. It's cute how optimistic you all are, but expect more of the same. His slugging percentage has gone down every year since he came to Seattle. While it's hard to be much worse than .399, I have confidence in Richie that if anyone can do it, he can.

Dustin Shires said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon Shields said...

you guys are both right. Sexson does have a giant swing, and he makes his living by smoking hanging curves and fastballs that aren't in off the plate.

All high strikeout power hitters have a massive hole in their swings. that's why they swing and miss. It's a rare power hitter that can consistently make good contact like an Albert Pujols who only strikes out 60 times or so.

What will determine Sexson's success is his leg health and how well he is able to turn on pitches. The better he can turn on them the less popups and deep flys he'll have and the more homers he'll hit.

Rob T. said...

This is sexson's contract year and you know he will try harder which he has already admitted that this is the hardest he's ever worked in the offseason. I agree with the Konerko comparison though.

Who We Are said...

Dave Kingman?

Jon Shields said...

what year?

Who We Are said...

Every year except '79.

dawgg said...

Who knows? I heard McLaren on KJR yesterday, and he was as upbeat as ever about Sexson.

30 and 100+ would be great, his batting average has always been low.

The point was made that except for last year, Sexson has always been a 30+ 100+ guy every year he was not injured, except for last year.

McLaren said Richie should be the comeback player of the year.

For all of our sakes, I hope so!

Dustin Shires said...

If he puts up his career averages per 162 games he'll run away with come back player of the year.