It’s time for Seth Smith to take his place at the table at the expense of Brad Hawpe. Opponents of Seth have argued that his bat should gather dust on the bench only to be swiffered off for late game heroics. While Smith is lights out as a pinch hitter, he actually performs better earlier in the game posting a .350 Average with a 1.014 OPS in innings 4-6.
Seth burst onto the scene in 2007 during the Rockies run for Awesomeness with a .625 Avg and 1.500 OPS. He then continued his Awesomeness in the playoffs with a .500 Avg and 1.167 OPS. You’ll notice I’m only using two offensive stats for comparison; batting average and on base plus slugging percentage because they cover the basic offensive skills of hitting, reaching base and power.
When comparing their career numbers Smith posts a slightly higher Avg .292 to Hawpe’s .286, however Brad’s OPS of .877 is a tic above Seth’s .872. In looking at their career performances in the second half of the season Seth’s performance improves to .305/.886 while Hawpe’s falls to .269/.833. Brad Hawpe continues to waste AB’s against LHP like he stole them from his Grandmother’s purse, posting .244/.752 against Smith’s .256/.870 and don’t tell me Hawpe has improved because he’s hitting .252 this year, meanwhile Seth is popp’n a .357 (magnum). Hawpe might even be a better late innings PH because his numbers (.297/.878) are higher than Smith’s (.286/.907) in innings 7-9.
So now that I’ve shown why Smith is a better hitter than Hawpe, let’s get to the easy part; defense. It can be argued that defense is more important than hitting and anyone that saw Ian Stewart steal 2 runs from the Nationals while K’ing four times would be swayed. To show how bad of a defender Brad is let's compare him to Barry Bonds. In Bonds final season he was limping from a steroids swollen knee and posted a -15 UZR/150. It was Bonds worst UZR/150 in his final four seasons. Amazingly it was a better defensive year than our Hawpe's -20 this year! On the flip side, Seth Smith is the second best outfielder on the Rockies with a UZR/150 of +19. Which means he saves 19 runs for the Rockies in a season.
HOLD ON A MINUTE!! BRAD HAWPE HAS A GREAT ARM says the man in the backrow. Heck yeah he throws out runners, 3 of them this season the same as Seth Smith. In 137 plays, Hawpe only has 3 outfield assists; meanwhile Smith has 3 in only 66 plays. Starting Smith would allow CarGo to slide into right field, and Carlos has a great arm throwing out 4 runs in 66 plays this season. So have I convinced you? Should the starting outfield be Smith, Dex, CarGo? Let me know.