As a part of IBI’s beginning of season festivities, we have preview capsules on all 54 players currently in major league camp with at least some chance of helping the big league team. The next batch of these running today are the non-roster invite hitters.
There is just not much more to it; spring training is here and real baseball is just around the corner. Enjoy!
Jason Giambi, DH
Even though each baseball player is a member of a team, the sport of baseball is largely an individual sport: one hitter goes up to the plate while his teammates watch. Because of this, team chemistry has less effect than a true team sport like basketball, limiting the effect the so-called “veteran presence” can have. But having team chemistry certainly does not hurt and this is where Jason Giambi excelled in 2013.
Giambi’s stats in 2013 are fairly unsightly (.183/.282/.371 line, -0.5 fWAR), but he stuck around all season despite them and not having any value on defense because of how he fit into the team’s chemistry. The flexibility of Ryan Raburn and Mike Aviles off of the bench also contributed, but without being good in the clubhouse (and coming through in the clutch, as we all remember), Giambi never would have made it through the entire 2013 season.
At 43 years old, Giambi is clearly watching his major league career wind down. The end could come at any time, especially if Giambi’s .202 BABIP was more the byproduct of no longer making consistent hard contact as opposed to a random blip. Giambi’s xBABIP — a measure of expected BABIP — was .257, higher than the actual results but still quite low. It would not be shocking to see a 42-year-old player just not be able to hit well anymore, so Giambi’s 2013 BABIP decline could easily be more than a blip. Read More…
From Indians Baseball Insider, March 2, 2014