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Berroa versus Blanco

If anyone needed any further proof that Buddy Bell should lose his job as babysitter for the Royals, this quote should serve you well (hat tip, Royals Review):

"[Berroa] is still going to be a heck of a player," Bell said. "Blanco has got a long way to go even before he considers himself in Angel Berroa's category."

If you just inserted the word "unproductive" in front of "player", that whole statement would make a great deal more sense. Andres Blanco should be thrilled that Buddy Bell doesn't find him to be anything like Angel Berroa, but sadly, Bell didn't mean it in a positive manner. Otherwise, I agree; it's pretty difficult to suck that bad.

Blanco hasn't exactly torn apart the league in his time there, posting two straight EqAs under .200 and a career line of .257/.291/.313 in parts of three seasons. Bluntly, Blanco's been pretty awful himself, but he's also 22 years old and seems to be able to hold his own defensively at short or second. Sadly, sample size caveats make his defensive numbers useless to me at this stage, so only time will tell how well he can perform with the leather.

My main issue with said statement isn't even really with the uncalled for diss of Blanco by one of the great thinkers of this or any other time. It's the fact that Buddy Bell felt the need to endorse Angel Berroa's performance, and that he feels like he'll turn into "a heck of a player". Bell must really be a fan of alternate dimension theories, because I think that's about the only place Berroa has a shot at being productive.

Berroa has been all forms of terrible the past three seasons, enough that I want to come up with my own theory for replacement level and rename it the Berroa Line. Problem is, it's too far below replacement. Take a look at his last three seasons by positionally-adjusted Net Runs Above Average:

Angel Berroa pNRAA 2004-2006
Player OUT EQA Games ZRate pEQRAA pEqA pNRAA pNRAA/GP
2004 393 .233 134 -22.96 -5.70 .243 -29.35 -26.22
2005 461 .235 159 -3.72 -14.72 .256 -17.61 -18.67
2006 339 .195 117 -11.82 -26.65 .254 -45.99 -35.87

In Berroa's best season of the past three years, he was worth about -19 runs above average cumulatively. This year his pNRAA is the worst of any regular player I've seen in the time I've calculated these figures at -45.99. I don't know the exact translation from pNRAA to wins, but when you cost your team -36 runs above average in 117 games, my guess is many more wins are lost than are necessary. His current Wins Above Replacement Score (courtesy of Baseball Prospectus) is -1.2, so you know he's performing well below replacement level as well.

Those numbers don't usually accumulate to those levels, since players that unproductive don't get to play everyday. Want some context? Neifi Perez was worth 4.2 WARP last year; notice the lack of a negative sign. Cristian Guzman was only rated a -0.8 in 2005, and he was ridiculed (or Jim Bowden was anyways) for his poor performance throughout the season. Berroa has been worse, yet Bell seems to think he'll be worth the effort with time. With the Royals turning their franchise around under Dayton Moore, I'd be amazed if someone who thinks like Bell is kept on for much longer.