1.22.2013

Alberto Callaspo Deserves Your Love

Last week it was reported that the Angels were close to signing Alberto Callaspo to a 2-year deal worth $8.975 million. The narrative around the deal has largely focused less on Callaspo and more on third base prospect Kaleb Cowart. As the story goes, most seem to see Callaspo as a stop-gap until Cowart is ready to take over at third full time.

That's a lot of expectations for a 20-year old minor leaguer who hasn't played a game above single-A so far. And yet, almost everyone seems to be focused on Cowart while expressing mild to enthusiastic displeasure with the pending Callaspo deal. At least, that's the case if we are to believe the following tweets.








While this is just a small pool of tweets that I pulled together on the fly, it seems that Angels fans are not too happy with Alberto Callaspo as a member of the Los Angeles Angels. Which is too bad because Alberto Callaspo is actually a lot better than these tweets would suggest.

As I wrote back in October for a 2012 "look back" piece, Callaspo continued to offer quietly solid consistency last year:

"[Callaspo] ]struck-out less than any other player on the Angels this season while walking more than anyone not named Mike Trout. He also posted a 3.2 WAR (according the Baseball-Reference), good for fifth on the squad. In addition, Callaspo continued to be difficult to strikeout while making excellent contact. In fact, he topped all third basemen in the league with a contact rate over 90% on all pitches swung at while only striking out 59 times (both stats good for 10th overall amongst all hitters)."

Now here's a list of some players who Alberto Callaspo had a better 2012 WAR than according to Fangraphs:

Shin-Soo Choo
Curtis Granderson
Justin Upton
Alex Rodriguez
Paul Konerko
Freddie Freeman
Rickie Weeks
Nelson Cruz

It gets better! Here is a list of players with a worse combined WAR over the last two years than Alberto Callaspo:

Derek Jeter
Hanley Ramirez
Ichiro Suzuki
Dan Uggla
Andre Ethier
Edwin Encarnacion
Rickie Weeks
Coco Crisp
Billy Butler
Nelson Cruz

Some other things about Alberto Callaspo? Only nine active players have a lower strikeout rate than Alberto Callaspo over the past two years. According to Fangraphs fielding metric, Callaspo comes in as the third best fielding third baseman in the entire league for the last two years.

If this hasn't brought you around to love Alberto Callaspo just a little bit more, then maybe this will: he's cheap. If the rumors of a pending Callaspo deal are true, he will be making just under $4.5 million a year for the Angels until he becomes a free agent in 2015. According to this Fangraphs article from 2009, the going market rate for a win is $4.5 million in 2008. We can assume that has gone up in the past four years. Considering Callaspo has put up a 6.4 WAR (according to Fangraphs) over the past two years, then Callaspo probably should stop being called a mediocre stop-gap right about… now.

Instead, I would like to start a movement declaring Callaspo as the type of affordable, consistent everyday player that is perfect for filling out a roster around high-priced megastars. If Callaspo continues to play at the consistency he has over the majority of his career, then Angels fans should be happy with Jerry Dipoto's choice for your 2013 third baseman and for good reason.

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