Chase Headley: What can we really expect?
Greetings friends. I’ve been a little slow on the postings, but the holidays and my wedding (Jan. 5 here in San Diego) have kept me plenty busy.
But anyway, I’m going to take a much-needed break to discuss Chase Headley, who might have asked Santa for a bigger glove this Christmas.
Looking over the Bill James Handbook for 2008 — an early present for myself — and there’s some lofty projections for Headley, who in case you’ve been under a rock, will try to make the 25-man roster as an outfielder even though he’s considered one of the top third base prospects in the Minor Leagues.
Remember, the James’ projections are just that: projections and Headley’s line shows him with 467 at-bats, with given the scenario he’s faced with, appears to be pretty generous.
Anyway, James has Headley hitting .310 with 18 home runs, 81 RBI and a .409 OBP. You don’t think the Padres would be thrilled with that at all do you?
Can it happen? Will it happen? Yes and maybe is my best guess now.
I think that Headley is a good enough athlete to make the transition to the outfield, though he’ll certainly be a work-in-progress for a while. Left field plays pretty fair at PETCO Park, unlike right field where there are many more nooks and crannies, ones that Brian Giles seems to handle well.
I like Headley’s bat and his approach, though I only saw him in limited action in his two stints with the Padres last season. I think his bat will play well at the Major League level, though he just won’t be handed a spot in the lineup.
My best guess is Headley works into a platoon situation in left field with Scott Hairston with more at-bats coming on the days when Hairston fills in for Jim Edmonds in center field.
The Padres love this kid and turned down plenty of offers this winter to hang onto to him. We’ll see if that was a smart move. My guess is that it was.
My projection?: Part of me thinks Jeff DaVanon and Callix Crabbe handle the fourth outfield spot while Headley gets some seasoning at Triple-A Portland to at least begin the year. But what fun is that anyway? I’ll say that Headley makes the Opening Day roster and hits .289-7-39 in 305 at-bats.
On the Ipod: Hysteria, Def Leppard. Still looking for a way to get more Def Leppard in the wedding. Might have to bribe the DJ as my wife-to-be isn’t as down with Def Lep as I am. Quick note: I once saw Def Lep open for Billy Squier. I’m guessing that didn’t happen too often.
Programming note: Wedding and honeymoon, will return around Jan. 15. Just in time to pack for Spring Training. Wow.