Carlos Quentin: Not Quite Top 20

Padres General Manager Josh Byrnes joined Darren Smith yesterday to give an injury update on Andrew Cashner. Byrnes didn’t go into much detail with Darren, but the team later released a statement saying that Cashner had irritation and soreness in his elbow. Fuck yeah no surgery! However, the Padres said there was no timetable for Cashner’s return, so there’s still a great deal of worry.

It was the second injury update, though, that I found more interesting. While answering the same fucking questions about Carlos Quentin, Byrnes went a little overboard with his praise for The Injured One.

“He’s too good of a hitter. I mean, I would view him as one of the top 20 or 30 hitters in all of baseball.”

As I was listened to this, I nodded my head in agreement, like when someone’s talking to you and you just want them to stop.

It made sense that Bynres thought Quentin was top 20 or 30 hitter. He’s obviously got the skill-set of one of the best hitter’s in baseball, and his bat-flip alone warrants a roster spot. So I decided to look up some numbers to confirm Byrnes’ belief.

– Only once in Quentin’s career has he been in the top 20 in offensive WAR (5.3 oWAR via Baseball Reference), which was in 2008 with the Chicago White Sox.

– Other than 2008, Quentin has never ranked in the top 30 of baseball in offensive WAR

– Quentin has ranked in the top 20 in baseball in OPS+ only once (2008).

– To Quentin’s credit, he’s posted excellent wRC+ whenever he’s played a significant part of the season (“significant” being relative here).

So, was Josh Byrnes wrong in saying Quentin is a top 20 hitter in baseball? We know about Quentin’s awesome power. His at-bats are a joy to watch, as he’s able to foul off tough pitches in order to find his pitch. And the bat-flip, MY GOD THAT FUCKING BAT-FLIP. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter how great a hitter you are if you’re never on the field.

It feels like he’s still living off his MVP-caliber 2008 season. That’s the player some think Quentin still is, or at least the player he’s still capable of being. That player’s gone, and though he may still excite people with the occasional bomb, what’s left of him is a sad reminder of the type of player Byrnes believes in.


I contribute when I contribute. Find me on twitter at @haha1721. That’s a terrible “outro”. I’ll try to work on it.

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  • Sac Bunt Chris

    Pretty sure oWAR includes a positional adjustment, and it makes sense that he isn’t ranked high in counting stats due to his injury history. There isn’t much context to Byrnes’ quote provided, but I would assume he meant it with a “when on the field” type hedge and not from a value perspective. I don’t think Quentin is on the team for his defense.

    Quentin landed at 16th in the league in wRC+ in 2012 and 21st in 2013. I’m not a fan of OPS+, especially for Padres players since they don’t have control over the fact that they play in the most pitching friendly park in baseball.

  • VM David

    The sad thing is that his legs are the only thing keeping him from being that guy still, because he can still mash. You know, when he’s able to play.

  • Lonnie Brownell

    Hard to compare counting stats (e.g., WAR) when the guy isn’t playing anywhere near a full season.

    Looking at Fangraphs’s 2014 leaders, and changing the minimum PA to zero, Carlos is in the top 20 for wRC+, wOBA. and OPS, and no. 21 in OBP.

    But, then again, in that list Donn Roach is top 10 (or just out of it) in all those categories.

    Quentin has 15 PAs so far. If you cut the minimum 10, Donn disappears and Carlos moves into the top 10 on all the above.

    Looking at 2012 and 2013, he was in the top 30 (minimum 300 PAs–he had 320 in 2013, 340 in 2014) in wRC+, OPS and wOBA.

    So, not a totally crazy statement to make. Hard to assess perfectly with his smaller sample size.

  • Drew,d

    He ranks 33rd, so not too far off. As maddeningly frustrating as his injuries are, he was worth about 4 fWAR between 2012 and 2013, so he may still provide equal value with the Padres.

    • Drew

      I tailed off at the end there, but meant to say he should be able to return equal value to the Padres assuming a $5 million/WAR evaluation.