Thursday, July 10, 2008

Klesko: Padres' best first baseman this decade?

As much as Adrian Gonzalez deserves to be making his first All-Star appearance for the Padres next week at Yankee Stadium, there was another Padre first baseman doing quite well at the break this decade.

Back in 2001, All-Star Ryan Klesko was having an even better year than Gonzalez is in 2008 nearing the mid-summer classic.

Here are Klesko’s 2001 stats at the All-Star break vs. Gonzalez’ going into the final weekend before the All-Star game:

Doubles: Klesko 22, Gonzalez 15
Home runs: Klesko 17, Gonzalez 22
RBI: Klesko 75, Gonzalez 70
Average: Klesko .297, Gonzalez .279
On-base percentage: Klesko .406, Gonzalez .348
Slugging percentage: Klesko .556, Gonzalez .510

While Klesko had a better first half seven years ago than Gonzalez is now, there are also mitigating factors.

Klesko played on a halfway decent team in 2001 that finished 79-83. Gonzalez is currently on a pathetic team at 36-56.

The sad thing is that as the Padres get worse and worse in 2008, more and more teams will continue to pitch around Gonzalez.


sam said...

You gotta give it to Adrian. He's much better on defense and just as good on offense with a decent team.

kareem said...

I like the blog coparing Klesko with Gonzalez. The big picture of the analysis is the better team that Klesko had around him. I don't remember who hit behind Klesko then but I know the odds are it was someone better than who hitting behind Adrian; no doubt.

renee said...

Could be the guy who is 2nd on the all-time Padres HR list. He's also the guy who was the longest tenured of the Padres over the past 20 years, not named Tony Gwynn or Trevor Hoffman (his 7 seasons on the Padres is now matched by Jake Peavy).

Yes, its Phil Nevin. In 2001, Nevin hit .306/.388/.588 (.976 OPS), 126 RBI, 41 HR. The lefty-righty combo of Klesko and Nevin were among the top run producing combinations in baseball. Klesko batted 3rd, Nevin 4th. Both were All Stars that season. Nevin was 21st in NL MVP voting.

The Padres finished 4th in the division that season with a 79-83 record. They scored 789 runs, and allowed 812. As a comparison, so far in 95 games this season, we have scored 350 and allowed 441. That translates to 597 runs scored and 752 runs allowed projected this season. So, this 2008 team could conceivably score ~200 runs less than that 2001 team. Pretty sad huh.