Back in late September work had overtaken me. So much so that I was barely keeping track of what was going on with the Padres. But I did notice that during the last series with the Giants, Jesus Guzman homered.
Apparently I have an unhealthy fixation with Jesus Guzman. First thought: Jeez, Guzman homered again? Second: Man, Guzman has OWNED the Giants this year!
The first statement is obviously true – he had, indeed, homered again. What about the second?
Jesus Guzman hit .226/.297/.378 in 2013, with 9 HR. Three of those HR came against the Giants; interestingly, all at AT&T Park. The three:
- 6/18/13 – Eighth inning, one on, off Jeremy Affeldt. This one became mildly famous for Guzman’s reaction, and the Giants reaction to his reaction.
- 6/19/13 – Seventh inning, off Madison Bumgarner. The Giants made good on their pique about the day before’s events, throwing at Guzman in the second inning. Jesus had the last laugh, homering in the seventh to give San Diego a brief lead.
- 9/28/13 – Fourth inning, one on, off Yusmeiro Petit. This blast gave the Padres a lead they would not relinquish.
So he must have ROBUST numbers either against the Giants, or at AT&T, right? Not exactly.
- On the season he hit .204/.271/.389 against San Francisco. Very close to his season slash line.
- At AT&T he hit .235/.297/.529. Still not great. Almost exactly his season slash line, except for all the HR.
Guzman’s a lousy glove anywhere but first base (where the Padres are chock-a-block) and maybe RF (where he played all of 22 innings). On the Padres don’t lack for right now is outfielders. Guzman’s on the short list of expendable guys.
So, alright – you’re YAWN-ing. Tell me something I don’t know, you say. Keep reading.
Here’s something interesting: Guzman was a pretty good hitter in High Leverage situations. All data per Baseball Reference. Average Leverage (aLI) is defined as 1.0 for a particular game situation. Low leverage is game situations with aLI of <0.7, medium leverage is game situations 0.7<x<1.5, and high leverage is anything over 1.5. Those definitions are applied to relievers as they enter the game, so it makes sense that the leverage rating can be applied to the hitter they face as well.
Guzman had 128 low leverage PA in 2013. He hit .210/.266/.370. Yep – that sucks. In 111 medium leverage PAs, he hit .216/.279/.304. Not much better. Those high leveage situations? Seventy-ning PAs, in which he hit .269/.372/.507. His OPS split in these situations, relative to the rest of the NL (sOPS+), was 146. That’s pretty good.
Really small sample size? Something that he only did in 2013? Yes; and no. His career slash line in high leverage situations is .293/.367/.527, for an sOPS+ of 139. It is true he’s done that in only 212 PAs over a 4-year career. This leads into the whole ‘is clutch hitting an actual, measurable skill’ argument which I will not start here. The numbers do seem to reflect that Jesus Guzman takes good at-bats in situations where he can do the most damage.
If he could hit at that rate all the time he would not be the bench player he is today.
The Padres, as mentioned before, have four true outfielders under contract for 2014 – Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin, Will Venable, and Chris Denorfia. #WhyNotKotsay has retired. Should the Padres keep Guzman for 2014? This could be an argument for. You can probably construct a better argument against. I’ll call this my “not surprised when he returns for 2014” post.
I’ve been posting sporadically about the Padres since 2009, and have continued the sporadic here. Posts usually occur on Tuesdays and occasionally at other times. I have a Twitter account and even use it periodically. Sorry no additional references to Roald Dahl’s book.
This post was edited at 1115 on 16 October. I suck at proofreading.