Question Time: Howzabout Dario Pizzano?

Question Time: Howzabout Dario Pizzano?

A: Seems like we've had this debate before ...

 

It's Question Time!

Moe "the dog" -- longtime denizen of Our Little Corner of the Internet -- wants us to devote a little more of our precious cyber-real-estate to Ivy Leaguer Dario Pizzano (26intheMix), and, of course, we said we would.

And, like it or not, the discussion will sound more than a little like the one we've been having about Justin Smoak.

Pizzano is an outfielder, it's true, but he's not about to sniff center field, and we think his career ladder fits along the lines of the guys we've been tossing around as comparables for Smoak.  In other words: high batting average and OBP, indicating strong Plate Skills, but with a question of how much actual offensive help they'll produce.  To-wit (in ascending order of MLB ISO):

Dave Magadan .288/.390/.377  -- minors ISO .080 | MLB ISO .089

Sean Casey .302/.367/.447 -- minors ISO .193 | MLB ISO .145

John Olerud .295/.398/.465 -- skipped minors | MLB ISO .170

Kevin Youkilis .282/.384/.481 -- minors ISO .142 | MLB ISO .199

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Two things to remember:

  1. League average ISO is about .150 (actually, usually a bit higher)
  2. "Somebody's gotta catch" (in other words, you gotta use four "glove guys" in your lineup every day)

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Meaning what?

Meaning every time you use a "bat" position on a guy with under-150 ISO, you probably need to "make it up" somewhere else.  Of course, that's not an Iron Law or anything ... it's just a way of looking at things.  Yes, you can make it up with OBP as well, but not entirely ... especially since you anticipate that your "glove" positions will be tilted toward OBP.

So, as we were saying in the Justin Smoak comments, if you're an everyday guy at a corner spot and you are not expected to produce more than 150 ISO, then it's not a good sign.

Casey, as you can see from his minor-league stats, was expected to produce ISO, and, in his prime, he did.  He just didn't do it often enough.  Smoak is the same way.  We'll see how it turns out.

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Moreover, as Youkilis demonstrates, and the lamented Mike Carp may yet demonstrate, sometimes the Plate Skills monster can develop into the ISO beast.

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So where does that leave Pizzano?

  1. We know he's limited to a "bat" position on the diamond (1 triple, 5 steals in 105 games ... indicates not much speed).  He's gonna be on a corner of some kind, and not 3b.
  2. We know he's 22 and still in Low-A.  Not insurmountable, but most who go on to MLB hitting success are much higher than that at 22.  Nick Franklin, for example, is 22 now.  I'm a believer in the notion that the development staff people do have some idea of where to place guys.
  3. We know his ISO so far in the minors is .151

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That does NOT mean leave him for dead.  He has a window of opportunity.  It just doesn't strike me as a particularly big one.