Mets Cut Brad Emaus and Promote Justin Turner

An article by posted on April 19, 2011

UPDATE: Sandy Alderson must have been tuned into MMO today… The Mets responded to my post this morning and designated Brad Emaus for assignment. Justin Turner has been called up to replace him.

Remember what I said, don’t shed any tears for him..

Original Post 11:30 AM

A recent article by Eric Seidman of FanGraphs had me wondering why there was such a large effort by the advanced metrics community to see Brad Emaus win the second base job in spring training. There has been much said about the enormous potential Brad Emaus has, simply because he tends to walk as much as he strikes out. His one and only season in AAA last year has left too many drooling – even though the stats were skewed by a ballpark that makes CBP look gargantuan in size.

Let me include an excerpt from the FanGraph piece:

Brad Emaus was supposed to be the man at second base for the New York Mets this year. At least that’s what any reasonable person could have anticipated after a Spring Training in which the team cut ties with Luis Castillo, sent Justin Turner to the minor leagues, and slapped the utility tag on Daniel Murphy. Emaus profiled well, as Joe Pawlikowski noted, comparing nicely to fellow former Rule 5 pick Dan Uggla. For every reason imaginable, it was easy to see why Emaus was the popular in-house candidate: a 25-year-old, cost-controlled player with potential seemed exactly what the Mets needed to get back on track.

But Emaus was removed as the everyday starter after only six games. And he’s started half of the last eight. It’s pretty easy to see why — he’s posted an anemic 162/.262/.162 in 42 PA — but is it the right decision, based on such a limited number of plate appearances?

Dan Uggla?

That’s a heck of a comarison to make based on one season full of bloated stats… It’s quite a stretch, but anyway let me move on.

Why does Brad Emaus have anymore potential then let’s say – Daniel Murphy?

They are a year apart, but for some reason Murphy gets no love from many of the Emaus supporters. Why?

The theme of the FanGraphs article is that the author believes that the Mets are giving up too early on Brad Emaus based on too small a sample size. And while that may or may not be true, isn’t what manager Terry Collins sees with his own eyes more important than what the numbers say? Does a manger with over 20 years of experience in evaluating players really need 200 or 300 at-bats to determine how good or bad a player really is?

I could see if the case was being made that Emaus is the better second baseman because he’s stronger defensively than Murphy. But in many of these articles supporting Emaus, his defense is never even mentioned. It’s almost as if defense has nothing to do with it. There is absolutely no mention of defense in this article, only an urgency to stick with Brad Emaus because the author believes that the best is yet to come.

I decided to look at both Emaus and Murphy a little closer. I promise to be as objective as I can. Please note, that I too will ignore defense even though from what I’ve seen thus far, there is very little separation between the two defensively - a fact even Terry Collins alluded to.

To begin, lets first look at a comparison of their minor league career numbers.

Because the differences in at-bats were so stark, I opted to use the common statistical percentages to better evaluate the two, and I also threw in walks and strikeouts as a point of reference since it it seems to be one of the things that makes Emaus so beloved in the saber community.

As you can plainly see, Daniel Murphy holds his own against Emaus and their strikeout and walk rates are not that dissimilar.

But there’s one thing here that really makes Emaus’ overall numbers look better than they appear, and that was his one season playing in the rarefied air of Las Vegas in 2010 where he posted MVP type numbers.

While examining the two players, I discovered that they both played in the Eastern League while in Double-A. A perfect way to measure them on a level playing field I thought. Let’s look, shall we…

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Murphy absolutely demolishes Emaus across the board, and even all the extra walks that Emaus compiled couldn’t help him overtake Murphy in on-base percentage. Amazingly, Murphy has nearly 150 points more in OPS.

Another way of looking at that remarkable 2010 season Brad Emaus had, was by using a tool developed by a big numbers cruncher. It is called a Major League Equivalency Calculator. I inputted the numbers that Emaus posted in Las Vegas of the PCL. I then changed the output to reflect Citi Field in the National League East. Here are those results:

Wow… That’s quite a drop-off in production and a clear sign of just how skewed his 2010 season was.

Now I’m not trying to build a case for Murphy, even though the statistics do bear out that he has just as much if not more upside than Brad Emaus.

Plus… unlike Emaus, Murphy can play a variety of positions. But then there is the fact of actual major league production.

It’s unfair to compare them at a major league level thus far, but ignore what Emaus has or hasn’t done and consider that Murphy has had the equivalent of a little more than one solid rookie season worth of at-bats. Why should that be overlooked?

In the end, the most productive player should get the most playing time. I will leave that decision to what Terry Collins determines is the best course of action.

Now, I am a big believer in defense at second base… Especially with the rag-tag rotation we’ve assembled that needs all the help it can get. So maybe the best second baseman is niether of these two and probably toiling away in the minors somewhere.

That said, I will leave you all to draw your own conclusions on Brad Emaus. But from what I’ve discovered he is hardly worth the fuss.

If Emaus does end up back in Toronto, the team that originally gave up on him and knew him best, I wouldn’t shed any tears if I were you.

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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