All Things Baseball

Free Agent Profile: Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds

I had to start my Free Agency profiles somewhere, so I figured, why not start with one of the most controversial players in baseball right now? Here’s the first of my in-depth looks at this season’s free agents…

BARRY BONDS — Outfielder

We all know Barry Bonds and we all have some sort of position on his alleged steroid use and controversial pursuit of Hank Aaron’s HR record. Bonds is no longer the sweet-swinging, speedy star he was a decade or even 3-4 years ago and he’s certainly not in any shape to play a decent leftfield, let alone steal bases. That means an ideal role for Bonds would be as a Designated Hitter in the American League or as an outfielder in a ballpark with a tiny leftfield. But does his stat line warrant a position as a DH?

Here are Bonds’ statistics for 2006…

  • Batting Average: .270
  • On-Base Percentage: .454 (inflated because of intentional walks)
  • Slugging Percentage: .545
  • OPS: .999 (once again inflated due to “chicken” walks)
  • Doubles: 23
  • HR: 26
  • RBI: 77
  • Runs Scored: 74 — kind of low for 26HR
  • BB: 115
  • Strikeout: 51

Some of the deeper but more revealing statistics…

  • Bases Empty: .208/.354/.467 — dismal .208 batting average
  • Runners On: .355/.567/.652 — TERRIFIC line
  • RISP: .423/.662/.731 — AMAZING
  • RISP w/2outs: .343/.629/.629 — OBP inflated but still great
  • Runners on 3rd (0-1 out) — .556/.719/.889 — SPECTACULAR

Ok, so the majority of Bonds’ numbers are terrific, but they do come at a cost. Bonds’ range in the outfield is about two steps. He can’t dive, he can’t run, and he certainly isn’t robbing anyone of a homerun. Add a sub-par arm to the equation and it’s plainly visible why you might prefer to have the ATT Park Balldude (the 65+ year olds…) in leftfield to #25. Does Bonds produce more runs than he surrenders with his poor defense? Probably, but the balance-point isn’t great, in fact it’s likely below average.

Bonds‘ value is broader than just his on-field abilities

The thing about Bonds is that he’ll put back-sides in the seats no matter where he’s playing. The steroids controversy, the chase of Hammerin’ Hank’s record, and even his obnoxious and pompous attitude make Bonds a valuable player because of the many fans that will be drawn to the ballpark just to see him play.

Where will Barry end up?

All things considered, Bonds is most valuable as a designated hitter, and he has enough bat to make him a viable candidate for some teams. These include the Detroit Tigers, LA Angels of Anaheim, and possibly even the Oakland Athletics, though Billy Beane will certainly be hesitant about bringing Bonds across the Bay. The Giants however, appear to have a special affection for their leftfielder and even though they’re allowing Bonds to taste the free agent waters, GM Brian Sabean is more than likely considering bringing Barry back to San Francisco, if only to keep ATT Park full at every home game.

MY PREDICTION: Barry will be playing with the Giants in 2007

I think he’ll hit about .275 with 20-25HR and 75-80RBI with 80-85 runs scored.

Tomorrow’s profile: Nomar Garciaparra


Trivia Time!

Today’s question is…

Barry Bonds hit his 73rd HR of 2001 off which pitcher?

Hint: the Giants were playing the Dodgers in that game, which was the season finale.


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