Keppi vs. The Dirty Sanchez


Whereas Brian Sabean was content to let the Giants backup catchers log innings when Buster Posey’s leg bent in half (thus giving 213 at bats to Eli Whiteside and his robust .193 average), he wasn’t afraid to pull the trigger when second baseman Freddy Sanchez went to the DL two weeks later.  On July 19th he acquired Jeff Keppinger, the 6 foot tall second baseman from the Astros.

Keppinger filled in solidly for the G-men, playing solid defense at second and batting second in the order.  But now that Sanchez is saying he will be healthy and ready to play come spring training, the Giants have two everyday second basemen on their roster, and the sooner Sabean can decide who will get the job, the sooner he can start shopping the other for the outfielders and shortstops the Giants desperately need.

The two players bring a comparable game.  Both get on base roughly 1/3 of the time for their careers, both play solid defense at second base, both have been successful batting second, neither one is a steal threat, and neither hits for much power.  While Sanchez has been an emotional leader, a World Series hero, and a batting champion, he’s also been hurt more than half the time he’s worn a Giants uniform.

When 100%, Sanchez will give better at bats than Keppinger.  There’s no doubt I would rather have him at the plate when the game is on the line (especially if Brooks Conrad is playing 2nd Base).  However, Sanchez is also coming off major shoulder surgery at an age (34) when players often never fully recover from such surgery.  There is no guarantee Sanchez will still be a .300 hitter, much less a .250 hitter, and no reason to believe he will stay healthy (he hasn’t played 120+ games since 2008).  When healthy, Sanchez is only marginally better than Keppinger.  Going into 2012 Keppinger is 31, healthy, and ready to prove himself in a contract year.  That’s why Kepi is my Opening Day 2nd Baseman (not just because he shares a name with a local punk musician).

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Comments

  1. Keppinger played “solid defense”? He may not have made many errors but he moved like he was running in mud. Sanchez provides a much better glove up the middle than Keppinger does, and provides a better bat. Freddy Sanchez should be the Giants’ starting 2nd baseman, without a doubt. Keppinger is a quality replacement, but not a starter on a Major League team that expects to win a World Series title.

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