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Thursday Morning Rockpile: Willy T is a plus with the D

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Rockies WARP1 leaders :

  1. Aaron Cook 3.9
  2. Matt Holliday 2.4
  3. Todd Helton 2.3
  4. Clint Barmes 2.2
  5. Taylor Buchholz 2.1
  6. Brian Fuentes 2.0
  7. Ryan Spilborghs 1.7
  8. Chris Iannetta 1.4
  9. Willy Taveras 1.4
  10. Garrett Atkins 1.3
  11. Jeff Francis 1.2
  12. Matt Herges 1.0
  13. Ryan Speier .8
  14. Kip Wells .8
  15. Jason Grilli .6

Baseball Prospectus uses a widely scorned method for determining defensive value for this, and a widely scorned level of replacement players, but this gives a decent overall picture of the overall individual contributions to the team from various players, you can compare it to Win Shares, which tries to do a similar thing. Taveras probably isn't really ahead of Atkins thanks to his defensive and baserunning merits, but it's a lot closer than Rockies fans probably realize.

Meanwhile, Brad Hawpe's absence from the list because of his terrible D in right, and because of the early absence of his bat is well deserved. MGL's UZR stat from Tangotiger's blog suggested that Hawpe would cost the Rockies 47 runs defensively over the course of 150 games at the rate he was going. Yikes. Anyway, the single worst WARP1 on the team sort of surprised me as well, but perhaps shouldn't have. Mark Redman's -0.5 edged out Jorge de la Rosa.

I guess the question then, is are we replacing the right outfielder with Spilly? Hawpe's certainly looked a lot more like his former self since returning, so I'll back the plan as it stands, but I still think that the first move that should have been made a long time ago was more simply to drop Taveras into the seventh or eighth lineup slot where his defense could still save us some runs, but his bat wouldn't cost us as many.