Examining Andres Torres

Marred by injuries, Giants position players have been rather unproductive in 2011: through 110 games, they’ve combined for 11.3 fWAR, which ranks second-worst in the National League. Despite missing 41 games due to a fractured hamate bone, Pablo Sandoval has had a resurgent season, and currently boasts a team-leading 3.4 fWAR. Notables like Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez, however, have incurred season-ending injuries, taking a considerable hit on the team’s production. Amid all of this, the Giants’ second-most productive player (by Wins Above Replacement) has been Andres Torres, who’s managed to put up decent numbers since missing 26 games at the beginning of the season.

Torres entered the 2009 season with basically no major-league track record and went on a tear in 170 PAs, slugging over .500 and posting a .343 OBP; he then followed that up with excellent numbers in 2010, his first full major-league season — at age 32 no less, hitting .268/.343/.479 in 570 PAs while playing elite center-field defense. Over 2009-10, Torres had amassed 8.8 wins above replacement in total over 740 PAs.

Torres’ 2011 season, of course, hasn’t been without disappointment. He’s had some extended struggles — notably a .176/.282/.282 slump in 42 games (165 PAs) from May 17 to July 4, that saw his overall OPS drop from .968 to .664; his wRC+ of 93 this season — 7% below average — is a major dropoff from the mark of 124 that he posted last season, and his power has sharply decreased (as his ISO is at .126 this season, down nearly 100 points from 2010). Nevertheless, he’s been valuable.

It’s no secret, of course, that he provides considerable value on the basepaths. An efficient way to measure that is EqBRR (or equivalent baserunning runs):

Measures the number of runs contributed by a player’s advancement on the bases, above what would be expected based on the number and quality of the baserunning opportunities with which the player is presented, park-adjusted and based on a multi-year run expectancy table. EqBRR is calculated as the sum of various baserunning components: Equivalent Ground Advancement Runs (EqGAR), Equivalent Stolen Base Runs (EqSBR), Equivalent Air Advancement Runs (EqAAR), Equivalent Hit Advancement Runs (EqHAR) and Equivalent Other Advancement Runs (EqOAR).

By EqBRR, he’s been worth +5.6 runs on the basepaths, good for 7th-best in the majors, and assuming a ten-runs-per-win conversion, worth nearly half a win.

He’s also accumulated some decent value with the glove — through 583 innings, Ultimate Zone Rating has him at +5.9, while Total Zone has him at +2 and Defensive Runs Saved has him at +4.

It’s easy to look at Torres’ .233 batting average and be disappointed with his production, but all in all, boosted by an above-average walk rate, elite baserunning, and solid defense at a premium position, he’s produced at an above-average rate, posting 1.7 fWAR/1.0 rWAR/1.1 WARP through 297 PAs.

Note: stats are through 8/2/11, as Fangraphs/BB-Ref/Baseball Prospectus don’t update until the next day.

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3 thoughts on “Examining Andres Torres

  1. This is by no means “new” knowledge but Torres’ struggles stem from his battle with ADD. That is also the prime reason why he didn’t break the majors till his 30s. The highs and lows you highlighted maybe the story of his career all due to his condition. Regardless, he is fun to watch and I’d say stick with him till he can’t run anymore.

  2. Pingback: Giants News and Notes: Jonathan Sanchez could make his start on Sunday ยป Giants Nirvana | SF Giants Blog

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