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Soriano/Wilkerson Update

Over the offseason, I don't think I saw more than one article in regards to the Washington/Texas trade that included Alfonso Soriano and Brad Wilkerson that felt the Nats got the better end of the deal. I myself bashed Jim Bowden into next week, on and offline. So which one of the two players is performing better through May 21?

There are a few ways to figure this out, but I prefer to use positional Net Runs Above Average for this task. Incase you don't feel like clicking on the above link that explains the system, pNRAA is a positionally adjusted look at above average offensive and defensive run value. The two main components are Equivalent Average on the offensive side of the ball, and then Zone Rating for the defensive side of things. I'm always up for suggestions on how to improve the system, but this is the current incarnation.

Here are Soriano and Wilkerson's pNRAA so far:

Wilkerson/Soriano pNRAA thru 5-21
Brad Wilkerson 112 .263 41 0.56 -6.99 -1.35 .270 -4.94 -1.35 -11.92 -3.26
Alfonso Soriano 132 .297 44 8.98 -0.16 6.73 .270 30.45 8.93 22.77 6.68

Currently, Soriano is outperforming Wilkerson by a large margin, as seen in the pNRAA figures. In fact, Soriano is currently fielding a great deal better than Wilkerson, and his EqA is over 30 points higher. The defensive sample size is really too small to draw any definite conclusions from, but for right now, it appears that Soriano has the upper hand.

Breaking the players down offensively, we see that Wilkerson has a better OBP at .347, but a lower slugging percentage than Soriano. Here are the current lines for the two players:

Soriano: .285/.337/.564
Wilkerson: .268/.347/.463

Soriano has the edge in batting average, which helps bring him much closer to Wilkerson's OBP, and he has a much higher slugging percentage, with a lead of .101 points. Wilkerson's SecA is currently .180, while Soriano's is at a more impressive .362.

Defensively, Soriano is ahead of Wilkerson substantially in both Zone Rating and Rate (98 to 92). To show you how much small sample sizes in fielding can jump around, when I looked at the figures yesterday, Soriano was at a Rate of 100, while Wilkerson was at 88. At this stage, it seems as if a bad game or two can put a damper on the figures, and screw with the pNRAA results. The Fielding Bible had Wilkerson as a poor defensive centerfielder in 2005, although you would think he would improve somewhat in the transition to a corner spot. I haven't had a chance to actually watch Soriano in the outfield as of yet, so I can't give any clues as to how his range and arm appear to be. Any insight there would be much appreciated.

One other thing to remember is that we only have roughly 40 games of batting data to work with as well, so this is by no means a conclusive piece. I'm simply updating on the current status of the trade, which the Nats appear to be winning at the moment. Although to be fair, Soriano is a free agent after this season, and Wilkerson is still under contract in Washington, and will be much less expensive. I will check in on this and other offseason deals on occasion during the season to see if there are any shifts in value, and to assess the trades in retrospect versus what we and others may have said about them. In conclusion for this first piece, let's take a look at some numbers that reminds us that Wilkerson's numbers are affected by an early slump, while Soriano's are boosted by a huge April:

  • Soriano
  • APR: .308/.363/.558
  • MAY: .253/.300/.573
  • Wilkerson
  • APR: .225/.289/.382
  • MAY: .333/.429/.583
Soriano's April is a little better than I expect from him, and the same can be said of Wilkerson's May. There is much too noise in the statistics this early due to small sample size to draw any conclusions, as previously stated. One thing I am curious to know though; if Soriano hits roughly .253/.300/.573 on the season, do you call that a success offensively? Vote in the poll or comment. I'd also like to say make sure you read David Gassko's first BtB post; he's one of my favorites, and I'm glad to have him on board here.


If Soriano hits roughly .253/.300/.573 for the season, is he an offensive threat?

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