Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Feb. 25 - Slow Start

Well, nothing doing from Mike's bat today. He was also swinging pretty early in counts.

On the defensive side, however, he was able to initiate a double play. This is a good time to point out one of Mike's likely advantages over Aaron Miles: he projects as a plus-defender at second base.

In 400+ defensive games at 2B, Miles is just a hair below average numerically, according to Fangraphs' UZR statistic. For argument's sake, we'll say that he's an average 2B defensively.

In 88 games at second for Mike (albeit a much smaller sample size), Fontenot has put up a nice 14.1 on the UZR. If we underrate Mike's defensive ability according to this metric and call him 10 runs above average (the units UZR measures), he'd be expected to improve the Cubs' record by one win on defense alone as compared to Miles' defensive ability.

On the other hand, if we suppose Miles' defense is declining and Fontenot's is improving (based on their respective ages), that number could easily move up to a two-win difference. Again, this is on defense alone; if Fontenot shows any more pop than Miles has (which is essentially inevitable), the difference is even larger.

Fonty's competition should get the start tomorrow. We'll see how that goes.

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