Wednesday, March 02, 2005

D-Back 2005 Preview: Chad Tracy 

At first is left-handed Chad Tracy
Born 1980 in N-C
But we hope that cliches
From his playing days
Won’t be what he learns from our Gracie

Chad Tracy takes over first base from Shea Hillenbrand and (tantalizingly briefly) Richie Sexson, with little of Hillenbrand's lack of patience, but not much of Sexson's power, either. His defense at third was none-too-stellar, but first base is easier to play, of course, and there could be worse teachers at the first base position than Mark Grace. BP 2005 expects Tracy's 2005 line (OPS .750) to be virtually identical to his 2004 line (OPS .750, with different components). ZIPS, on the other hand, has him pegged at .810.

My generally optimistic nature leads me to believe that he'll exceed his 2004 line, if only because he didn't show any of that fade new players often show as they make their second or third trip through the league. Here's his OPS by month:
Mar/Apr: 1.035 (only 33 TPA)
May: .701
June: .694
July: .764
August: .742
Sept/Oct: .753

Tracy seemed to adjust well in 2004, which indicates to me he'll improve in 2005. His ability to adjust means I hope he'll be given the chance to hit against lefties on a regular basis, rather than automatically defaulting to the switch-hitting Tony Clark (who did no better against lefties than Tracy did last year).

Tracy's problem, of course, is that a .750 OPS is a little on the low side for a first baseman whose defensive prowess is as yet undetermined. With three sluggers with injuries in their recent past plus Conor Jackson knocking on the door, Tracy could find himself as the odd man out at first.

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