Thursday, February 03, 2005

Draft 04: Tools of Ignorance [Pt. 2]

The draft analysis continues:

4. Aaron Hathaway


Drafted in the 4th round out of the University of Washigton, Aaron Hathaway was regarded as one of the best defensive catchers in college baseball. Named the Cyclones starting catcher shortly after signing, the 6-0, 190-pound backstop lived up to his reputation during his short stint in Brooklyn. Exhibiting his strong and accurate arm, the former Huskie earned praises from everyone and was named the best defensive player drafted by the Mets this year according to Baseball America:
Aaron Hathaway is athletic for his position and has the arm to shut down the running game. He led the short-season New York-Penn League by throwing out 39 percent of basestealers.
Of course, this wasn't a surprise. After all, Hathaway had displayed his 1.9 second release time while at Washignton where he picked off seven runners and threw out 21-of-60 would-be basestealers on the season. Projected to be solid defensively, Hathaway's status as a prospect will depend on his ability to swing the bat. Understandably awful during his first exposure to wooden bats, the Mets will hope Hathaway refinds the stroke that made him an offensive star with the Huskies:

2002
303/382/417
0.79 IsoD 114 IsoP

2003
350/410/502
0.60 IsoD 152 IsoP

2004
317/363/518
0.46 IsoD 201 IsoP

As most of you know, batting average [AVG] comes from dividing hits by at-bats and it was created to measure the effectiveness of a hitter. Obviously, that was a long time ago, and since then, baseball has turned to On-base Percentage [OBP] and Slugging Percentage [SLG] to get a better read of a player's offensive contribution. The problem with that is, of course, that AVG still is a big part of both statistics. To account for it, someone somewhere created IsoD [OBP minus AVG] and IsoP [SLG minus AVG] . They essentially show how much of a player's total bases come from walks and extra bases respectively. Anyway, now that I've confused you enough, what does this have to do with Hathaway? If you look closely at his stats, you can see that while his lines weren't bad, they were greatly enhanced by his high batting averages. I may not much about college statistics, but one thing is for sure, its a lot harder to hit for a high average when using wooden bats than it is when using aluminum bats. We'll see how Hathaway responds to wooden bats and tougher competition next year, but chances are, his bat won't be more than average as a major leaguer. As a catcher, this of course isn't terrible news, but it nonetheless takes away from his value as a potential starter.

Over the years, the Mets have received fantastic offensive production from the catcher position. In a shift of organizational philosophy, the Mets traded away the offensive catcher and drafted the defensive wizard in Hathaway. We'll see how this works out, but I for one, don't think its a sound strategy. I'll talk more about whats left of the Mets' depth at catcher, and the other draft picks next time.

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