Readers of Michael Lewis's controversial book, Moneyball, are already familiar with what happened next. Billy Beane, seeking a cheap, productive hitter to help fill the void left by Jason Giambi, called up Hatteberg and offered him a job...to play first base. He went on to play 4 reasonably productive years with the Athletics, ending last year. Then, in one of Krivsky's first moves as a general manager, Hatteberg signed with the Reds. Initially thought of as a backup, the Bronson Arroyo trade sent Adam Dunn back to the outfield and installed Hatteberg in something of a platoon role with Rich Aurilia at first.
Historical Stats (for explanations of the statistics I use on this page, please see my Baseball Statistics Quicksheet):
Last year, he regressed substantially. A 0.334 OBP coupled with a 0.343 SLG makes for very little production, which is a good part of the reason he received 114 fewer plate appearances last year. If he can return to his '04 numbers, he can still be a valuable cog in our lineup. If '05 is a true indication that his skills have faded, he may better serve the Reds as a reserve. The substantial increase in his k/bb ratio last year makes me worry that the latter may be the case.
Home/Away splits refer to his performance at Oakland's Network Associates Coliseum, which over 5 years has an overall park factor of 99, indicating that it's very much a neutral ballpark. Why he performed better away from home is therefore a mystery to me--maybe it has to do with the pressure of playing for Billy Beane?
|Pos.||Year||Level||DI's||Dewan+- (plays/yr)||Dial ZR (runs/yr)||Gassko (runs/yr)||D*G (runs/yr)||Pinto (runs/27ot)||Davenport (runs/yr)||Bunt (+/-score)|
Nevertheless, Narron repeatedly complemented Hatteberg's defense this spring, citing a major advantage of the Arroyo trade was having Hatteberg at 1B over Dunn due to the defensive skills Hatteberg brings to the table. What gives? One of the major limitations of the above fielding statistics is that they say nothing about the first baseman's primary job--receiving throws from infielders. These stats just investigate player performance on balls batted toward his position. Therefore, these stats should not be viewed as a composite view of Hatteberg's defense at first base, nor for any first baseman. John Dewan's company is apparently also recording information about special plays, like digging throws out of the dirt. I'm hopeful that future releases from his company will contain these sorts of stats so we can begin to better evaluate first basemen.
Baseball Cube, The
Baseball Prospectus '06 Annual
Baseball Think Factory
Hardball Times '06 Annual