I have a hard time worrying about the Brendan Ryan news and, now that the children have been consoled, let me tell you why.
- Ryan’s value to the team was predicated on two things: his glove and his health. While we can mourn the wrist injury, the defense under Tyler Greene shouldn’t see a tremendous decline. While Total Zone (which can be found at minorleaguesplits.com) was never a fan of either in the minors, it was slightly more partial to Greene. From a scouting standpoint, both Greene and Ryan receive excellent reviews featuring well above average range, a strong arm and somewhat erratic play.
- Brendan Ryan was no great shakes in the minors offensively; he was actually quite terrible. He was not terrible in the majors last year and that’s about as much of an endorsement as you can make. Tyler Greene, however, has had several excellent seasons in the minors including his 2009 Memphis work where he posted a .291/.369/.482 line (which translates as a .252/.313/.398). His projections for 2010 will certainly be below that but the offensive ceiling for Greene is dramatically higher than that of Ryan. We may have more confidence in Ryan’s projected contribution but there’s still the chance that he declines significantly with the bat.
- If you let him, he will run. In Memphis last season, Tyler Greene stole 31 bases in 89 games. He was caught just 3 times. That’s a freaking crazy awesome rate. Using these values, gives us the idea that those steals were worth another 3-4 runs.
- Tyler Greene posted his best walk rate and strikeout rate last year. A 10% walk rate and a 25% strikeout rate still aren’t signs of tremendous plate discipline but he continues to make strides and, if those rates are sustainable, they’re rates that indicate he could survive in the majors.
It would certainly be my preference that Brendan Ryan is ready for the start of the season but there’s little reason for the team to panic and sign another player to fill in whatever time Ryan might be out. The Cardinals have an adequate internal candidate to bridge the gap and potentially build some additional value. Deep breaths, don’t panic.
None of this explains the total management ineptitude of the surgery’s timeframe. If your wrist wasn’t better after 3 months of rest (Oct, Nov, Dec), what would the additional month (Jan) tell you that you didn’t already know? Whether it was Ryan’s reluctance to come forward or more injury mismanagement by the team is hard to tell for certain. It seems that Ryan is mostly to blame from public comments but the unfortunate deja vu nature of this event has to leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.